Career Services and Internships / Students

Internships and Field Explorations Information

An internship: Don’t leave school without one!

By participating in an internship, you can sharpen your skills, begin a network of employers contacts, assess your strengths, and test classroom theories in real work settings.

There will never be a better time in your life to explore the varied challenges and opportunities available.
Whether you know what you want to do for your internship or not, this information will help you be successful in identifying a direction for your search, identifying a process for your search and following through with the required paperwork to earn academic credit.

Eligibility

Internship Eligibility Requirements:

  • Students who are juniors and seniors (56 or more credit hours) and have a 2.0 cumulative GPA and a 2.0 major GPA, at least 12 credits completed in their majors and have been enrolled at SMUMN for at least one year are eligible to participate in an internship experience through the academic department in which their major is offered.
  • One to 17 credits can be earned in an internship, with a maximum of 17 credits for any combination of internship and field exploration experiences. The number of internship credits for which a student has registered is based on a number of factors including departmental curriculum requirements, duration of the internship and the intern’s time commitment, a student’s concurrent course load, the number of elective credits desired, and the credits previously earned through experiential education.
  • All internships must be pre-approved by the major department and the Director of Internships.
    The distribution between graded and ungraded internship credits will be as follows unless specific departmental guidelines have been established: three credits graded; remaining credits will be Pass/No Credit. The academic department determines the number of internship credits applicable to the fulfillment of an academic major

After you have fulfilled the initial requirements:

  • Make an appointment with the Director of Internships to pick up required paperwork and discuss possible internship sites and credit.
  • Make contacts with possible internship sites. This may include interviews or phone calls to sites.

After you have identified an internship site:

  • Seek site approval from your appointed faculty supervisor by completing the Learning Contract and Plan.
  • Submit the Internship Registration Form to the Internship Office.

After the internship starts:

  • Submit reflection papers, time cards, meet with your site supervisor regularly, maintain communication with your faculty supervisor on a regular basis (by phone or in person), make sure your site supervisor completes a midterm and a final evaluation at the appropriate times.
  • Fulfill any additional requirements established by you and your faculty supervisor.
Policy
INTERNSHIP
Course 496/497
FIELD EXPLORATION
Course 298
1. An Internship is a planned work experience for academic credit supervised by a qualified professional in a real work atmosphere. An internship provides eligible students an opportunity to participate in experiences that enhance academic, professional, and personal development. This experience integrates a student’s academic and career interests with “hands-on” work experience. An internship must be directly related to a student’s major and can be either part-time or full-time and paid or unpaid. 1. Field Exploration is a planned work experience for academic credit that provides students with the opportunity to explore a field and/or major and gain basic knowledge. This experience involves mainly “observation” and limited “hands-on” experience. Field exploration is generally part-time and is unpaid.
2. Students must have completed a minimum of 56 or more semester credit hours (at least junior status) before participating in an internship. 2. Students must have completed a minimum of 30 or more semester credit hours (at least sophomore status) before participating in field exploration.
3. Students must have a 2.0 cumulative GPA and a 2.0 major GPA. 3. Students must have a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
4. One to 17 credits can be earned for an internship experience. The formula to be used in determining the credits for an Internship is 45 “contact hours” = one credit hour. 4. One to three credits can be earned with a maximum of 17 for any combination of internship and field exploration. The formula to be used in determining the credits for field exploration is 45 “contact hours” = one credit hour.
5. Up to three credits can be graded for any combination of internship and field exploration experience. The remaining credits will be graded on a P/NC basis. 5. Up to three credits can be graded for any combination of internship and field exploration experience. The remaining credits will be graded on a P/NC basis.
6. Students must have at least 12 credits completed in their major prior to participating in an internship. 6. No prerequisite of major credits is required to participate in field exploration.
7. Students must be enrolled at Saint Mary’s at least one year prior to participating in an internship. 7. Students must be enrolled at Saint Mary’s at least one semester prior to participating in field exploration.
The following statements apply to both Internships and Field Exploration:
8. No retroactive credits are allowed. Internship and field exploration credits MUST be registered for during the semester or semesters in which the experience takes place.
9. Each academic department MUST establish its own internship and field exploration policy, which is shaped within the general guidelines established by the university. The department will review its policy periodically and make adjustments as necessary. As a minimum, this policy will include the following:

  1. Whether internship and field exploration experiences are allowed, not allowed, encouraged, or required for its majors;
  2. How many credits may be assigned to an internship and/or field exploration and how many credits will be allowed for a grade. Note: This must remain within the parameters of the university internship and field exploration policy.
  3. Any departmental curriculum requirements that must be completed before students can engage in an internship or field exploration.
  4. Any departmental evaluation procedures in addition to the basic requirements set by the university through the Internship Office.
  5. How the department handles student approval to participate and site approval (faculty monitoring of interns, ex. by designating a member of the department as the departmental supervisor of interns).
10. The department chair and/or faculty supervisor will approve or disapprove a student’s site based on the following factors:

  1. articulation between the student’s academic program or career goals and the site
  2. degree and quality of on-site supervision
  3. a conference with the student
  4. advice from departmental faculty
11. The Internship and Field Exploration Program is structured according to a “shared model” format which includes the following: centralized coordination of policies and application procedures through the Internship Office, together with departmental control over the approval of sites, evaluation of student achievement, and awarding of credit.
12. Students may not be placed in internship or field exploration experiences where members of the immediate family either partially or wholly own the business.
13. If a student is terminated from his/her internship or field exploration experience, the faculty supervisor and department chair will determine if any credit will be awarded after a discussion with the student and site supervisor.
14. Students may not request to register an internship after the midpoint of the semester or summer.
15. Students not meeting the above eligibility requirements can appeal by writing to the Director of Internships. This will be forwarded to the student’s faculty supervisor and the Dean of Student Success. The student will be notified in writing when a decision is made.
16. Exceptions to any university internship or field exploration policy may be made for legitimate reasons upon the recommendation of the department chair and or faculty supervisor and the approval of the Dean of Student Success.
Finding an Internship

What is an internship?

  • An internship is an on-site work experience that is directly related to either your major or your career interest.
  • It can be paid or non-paid, full-time or part-time, and may be eligible for academic credit.

Why do you need an internship?
An internship gives you the opportunity to:

  • Gain valuable work experience before you graduate
  • Develop new skills and refine others
  • Apply knowledge from coursework to on-the-job situations
  • Reality-test tentative career choices
  • Meet and work with professionals, establish contacts for letters of reference and networking
  • Experience new work environments
  • Earn money for tuition and expenses (depending on site)

Comments from past interns

  • “I feel very thankful that I had the opportunity to complete this internship. I could not ask for a better way to combine my English minor with my Public Relations major. I consider my summer internship to have been an extraordinary experience; I have learned things here that I never would be able to in the classroom.”
  • “Now I have a clear understanding of what courses I need to take to help me in my prospective job. It also enabled me to decided where my interests lie.”
  • “This internship has tremendously affected my experience and way of thinking in such a positive light. The position has helped me improve my interpersonal skills, but also prepared me for my future job and strengthened my interest in attending graduate school.”

Five Important Aspects of Your Internship Search
1. Determine your goals
Ask yourself:

  • Why do you want an internship?
  • What do you hope to learn?
  • In what field(s) are you trying to gain experience?

2. Personal “check-in”
Once you figure out your broader goals for the internship, ask yourself the following questions to further focus your search:

  • What type of experience do I want?
  • What type of work setting?
  • What type of daily duties?
  • What locations do I prefer?
  • What is my timetable?

3. Research employers and career fields

  • Talk to people in your field of interest. Talk to your professors, advisors, peers, etc., participate in the e-mentoring program.
  • Study the current trends in the field. Read the business section of the newspaper, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, etc., visit Career Services in Griffin 70 for related material.
  • Review the types of available internships and entry-level jobs. These are available in the Internship Office. Also, check out the handouts titled “What can I do with a major in…” for ideas.

4. Tools of the Trade

  • Create a great resume and cover letter. If you need additional help, stop by Career Services.
  • Polish your interviewing skills.
  • Maintain a record of organizations you applied to and when you applied to them so you can follow up with the employers.

5. Timing

  • Start early. Some summer internship programs have deadlines as early as November or December.
  • Avoid procrastination
  • Do tasks in small increments
  • Employers offer internships year round, but it is generally best to begin your internship search the semester prior to your desired placement.

Starting Your Internship Search
Check out our internship listings, events, and programs:

  • Career Link: Access jobs and internships marketed to SMU students.
  • Searching the Internet: The internet is a great resource for researching specific companies and organizations. For students who are seeking internships and who wish to see what opportunities can be found on the internet, use a search engine by typing in the word internships along with qualifiers like career field or geographic location. For example: professional sports marketing internships or graphic design internships Boston.
  • Internship Directories: National and local internship directories are available in the office.
  • Career & Internship Fairs: These events provide a great opportunity to network with employers and internship sites. Most of the fairs are located in Winona, the Twin Cities, and Chicago.

Other Internship Search Resources:

  • Consult faculty members in your area of interest and talk to friends, family members and acquaintances about your leads. Ask for advice, information, and names of organizations and people to contact.
  • Use SMUMN Alumni within your field or geographic interest. For more information about this service, call extension 6695.
  • Use other resources such as the Yellow Pages (www.yellowpages.com), Chamber of Commerce Directories, other college and university websites and newspapers.
  • Think creatively. What are some organizations in which you could build the skills you are interested in developing? For example, if you are interested in helping people, organizations that might offer internships are youth centers, local hospitals, treatment centers, social services agencies, local churches, etc. If you are interested in museum work, how about the local historical society or a restoration project?

Making the Contact
Once you have a few places you are interested in interning, the next step is contacting those places to learn about availability and opportunity. The initial contact you make with potential sites is important since it’s the first impression of yourself that you are giving to a company or organization. There are several ways to do this.

Telephone Calls
Before you make the call, be sure that you can pronounce the contact person’s name with ease. Sometimes it’s impossible to know if you are pronouncing a name correctly but do your best with the information you have. If you aren’t able to find the name of the contact person, ask for the person who coordinates the internships for the organization or company.

Be sure you have your resume in front of you when placing the call. This is important for several reasons. First, your site contact may ask you questions about your experience, glancing at your resume will help you recall some of the classes you’ve taken or work you’ve done. Also, a potential site may want you to send a copy of your resume to them quickly and they’ll be impressed if you have one prepared and ready to send out at a moment’s notice.

You want your call to sound professional, so find a quiet time and area to make the call, preferably when roommates are not around and without the distraction of the TV and radio. Remember to project enthusiasm on the phone to ensure that the site contact person can detect your interest. Posture helps. If you sit or stand up straight, you’ll sound more professional than if you’re lounging or laying down.

It is helpful to practice what you are going to say before contacting your potential internship sites. Read the example below for an idea of what to say. Think about what you are going to say before you get on the phone.

When making the call, identify yourself and explain why you are calling.
“Hi. My name is _________. I attend Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Can you tell me who I should talk to about doing an internship at _____________(company name)?”

“Hello, my name is ____________, from Saint Mary’s University and I’m inquiring about an internship with _____________(company name). May I speak with _____________(contact name)?”

Have a notepad ready. Ask for the spelling of the person’s name. Once the contact person is on the phone, repeat your introduction and clarify your interest.

“Hello, ___________(contact name) my name is _______________ and I’m a junior media communications major at Saint Mary’s University. I’m inquiring about an internship in the communications department. Are you still looking for interns this semester/summer?”

If you have not reached the appropriate person to speak to he/she will most likely forward you to the correct individual. Make sure you ask this person if he/she would like you to submit a resume or would like you to come in for an interview. Sometime during the conversation, you should mention whether you would like to do the internship for credit or not for credit. This may be important information for some companies. Also, be prepared to talk about the time frame in which you would like to do your internship (i.e., fall, spring, summer semester), if you want to do a full-time or part-time internship, how many hours you will be able to work each week, and other specific information they may need to know before they can determine if you are a potential candidate for an internship position.

Letters of Inquiry
Another way to make contact with a site is by sending a letter of inquiry. The letter should introduce yourself, state where you are a student, what you are studying, and the type of internship you are seeking. The letter should be addressed to the person at the site who can respond to your inquiry. Be sure the name is spelled correctly and the proper title is used. Ask someone to proofread it. If you include your resume with this letter, refer to it in the body of the letter.

Finally, state in the last paragraph that you will call the person in a few days to discuss the internship. Be sure to call the person two or three days after he/she has received your letter. If you wait too long, the person may have trouble recalling your letter. Also, it will appear that you are not interested enough to follow-up promptly and are therefore not a good risk for the site to accept you for an internship position.
700 Terrace Heights
Winona MN 55987
March 10, 2010
Name of Contact
Job Title
Name of Employer
Address
City, State, Zip

Dear Mr./Ms. Contact Person,
I am a sophomore at Saint Mary’s University studying Finance. I am interested in acquiring an internship with an investment firm to learn more about portfolio management and investment strategies. My coursework so far has included Introduction to Finance, Accounting, International Marketing and Investment Strategies.
The internship I seek is for three credits and is to last eight weeks beginning anytime after final exams end on May 10. I will appreciate the chance to speak with you and to give you more details about the internship program at Saint Mary’s University.

A copy of my resume is enclosed. I will contact you in a few days to discuss internship opportunities with [Name of Employer]. If you prefer to contact me, I can be reached at [Telephone Number] or [Email Address].
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Stephen Student
Enclosure

Email
You may also choose to email the site your letter of inquiry and resume. Be aware that unexpected and uninvited email can sometimes be flagged as spam, some busy people delete these messages without opening them. For this reason, always follow up with a phone call.

Unscheduled Visits
Dropping in is another way to make contact. You will be able to see the site and learn the name of, or possibly meet the person responsible for internship students. Also, you can pick up any application materials the sponsor may require.
If the contact person would like more information about the internship program at Saint Mary’s University, let us know. We can send them information or call them if they have specific questions.

Good luck with your search!

Contacting Potential Sites

By now, you may have located some internship sites that you are interested in pursuing. If not, stop by the Internship Office or check with your faculty advisor for assistance in finding resources that will help you locate potential sites. The initial contact you make with potential sites is important since it’s the first impression of yourself that you are giving to a company or organization. Below are some tips that may make that process a little easier.

1. Contact potential sites early

Once you have chosen potential sites, decide which ones best fit the experience you are hoping to gain. We suggest that you call one or two sites at a time, research them and set up interviews instead of contacting several at once. You want the site to feel that they are one of your primary selections. This means that you should start your search early (if possible) in case something doesn’t work out with one of your initial sites.

2. Before making the phone call

A. Know the contact person’s name. Before you make the call, be sure that you can pronounce the contact person’s name with ease. Sometimes it’s impossible to know if you are pronouncing a name correctly but do your best with the information you have. If you aren’t able to find the name of the contact person, ask for the person who coordinates the internships for the organization or company.

B. Have your resume ready to go. Be sure you have your resume in front of you when you are placing the call. This is important for several reasons. First, your site contact may ask you about your experience. In case you’re nervous when you make the call you may not be able to recall some of the classes you’ve taken or previous work you’ve done. Also, a potential site may want you to send a copy of your resume to them quickly and they’ll be impressed if you have one prepared and ready to send out at a moment’s notice. (If you need assistance with your resume, whether you are writing one for the first time or updating your current copy, call or stop by Career Services. We have examples and can edit your resume or offer suggestions).

C. Use professional demeanor, enthusiasm and quiet surroundings. You want your call to sound professional, so find a quiet time and area to make the call, preferably when roommates are not around and without the distraction of the TV and radio. Remember to project enthusiasm on the phone to ensure that the site contact person can detect your interest. Posture helps. If you sit or stand up straight, you’ll sound more professional than if you’re lounging or laying down.

D. Practice. It is helpful to practice what you are going to say before contacting your potential internship sites. Read the example below for an idea of what to say. Think about what you are going to say before you get on the phone.

3. Making the call

When making the call, identify yourself and ask the receptionist for the internship contact person, by name if possible.

Example: Hello, my name is Sara Smith, from Saint Mary’s University and I’m inquiring about an internship with (company/agency name). May I speak with Paul Jones, please?

Once the contact person is on the phone, repeat your introduction and clarify your interest. One way to say this would be:
Example: Hello, Mr. Jones, my name is Sarah Smith and I’m a junior media communications major at Saint Mary’s University. I’m inquiring about an internship in the communications department. Are you still looking for interns this semester/summer?

If Mr. Jones is not the appropriate person to speak with, he will most likely forward you to the correct individual. Make sure you ask this individual if he/she would like you to submit a resume or would like you to come in for an interview. Somewhere during the conversation, you should mention whether you would like to do the internship for credit or not for credit. This may be important information for some companies. Also, be prepared to talk about the time frame in which you would like to do your internship (i.e. spring semester, summer), if you want to do a full-time or part-time internship, how many hours you will be able to work each week, and other specific information they may need to know before they can determine if you are a potential candidate for an internship position.

If the contact person would like more information about the internship program at Saint Mary’s University, let us know. We can send out information to them or call them if they have specific questions.

Good luck with your search!

Questions

Why take part in an internship?
Internships can help you create a stronger resume, gain valuable interviewing experience, obtain practical job experience in a professional environment, generate self-confidence and personal knowledge, help define career choices, develop skills and earn credit toward graduation.

Who is qualified to apply?
Juniors and seniors who meet a minimum GPA requirement (2.0 cumulative) and have the recommendations of three faculty members are eligible. An internship should be approved the semester before it is taken, and when possible, the learning agreement should be completed prior to the registration of an internship. The learning agreement evolves from guidelines established by the faculty supervisor and the on-site supervisor, as well as from your personal and career objectives.

When can I intern?
Students can intern during an academic term or during the summer. Some students opt for an internship placement which begins in summer and continues through the fall semester, while others begin an internship in the spring semester and continue to intern through the summer.

Do I get academic credit?
Yes, credit hours will depend on the number of hours you will work. The formula for calculating credit is: 45 contact hours = one credit hour. Students may earn between one and 15 credits. Credits can only be taken in the major department and should be related to your major or career goals.

Do I get paid?
Some internships are paid, but many are not, depending upon the availability of funds at the sponsoring organization. Many organizations, particularly nonprofit organizations, simply do not have the funding to pay interns. Other organizations view internships as the opportunity for them to gain valuable services as a trade-off for providing interns with training.

Is financial assistance available?
If you are eligible for financial aid, you can use it to help finance the internship. Extra costs related to an internship can be reviewed for additional financial aid. All interns receiving financial aid should contact the Financial Aid office prior to an internship. You might be able to defray the costs of an internship by locating an internship near your home so you will not have to pay for room and board. Another option is to arrange a part-time internship that will allow you time for a paying job. You may wish to consider an internship during the regular academic year while taking classes.

How does the grading system work?
Faculty supervisors are responsible for evaluating your learning. Your grade is based on various elements, including: monthly logs, on-site supervisor’s midterm and final evaluations, and your faculty supervisor’s evaluation. The department awarding credit for the internship may have additional requirements such as an “integration paper” relating your experience to classroom theory, supplemental readings or an oral presentation.

Need help finding an appropriate internship?
Career Services & Internships can assist you in identifying your interests and appropriate career areas. An interest test, personality profiles, opportunities, employer requirements and resume assistance are available to all prospective interns. Stop by and explore the directories and listings in our office. Also, check out the job and internship listings on the internet.

Paperwork

Before the Internship students need to submit the following:

  1. Intent to Intern –to be signed by student
  2. Off Campus Study Agreement –to be signed by student
  3. Off Campus Study Registration Form –to be signed by faculty supervisor & student
  4. Learning Contract –to be signed by faculty supervisor, site supervisor & student
    1. Learning Contract: Site supervisor signature
      • Send link to site supervisor
    2. Learning Contract: Faculty supervisor signature
      • Send link to faculty supervisor
  5. A typed Learning Plan is also required – see the guidelines (to be approved by faculty supervisor & site supervisor)
  6. Meet with the Director of Career Services and Internships to obtain approval (mhagarty@smumn.edu)
  7. Pre-Internship Student Self Assessment Form

OR

If paper copy of the forms are preferred:

During the Internship students need to submit the following:

  1. Timecard
  2. Reflection Paper Guidelines

After the Internship:

  1. Post-Internship Student Self-Assessment Form

All forms above need to be submitted or the paperwork needs to be returned to the Career Services & Internships Office before the internship starts.

Drop off at Student Success Center, 70 Griffin Hall
Fax to: (507) 457-6660
Email to: mhagarty@smumn.edu
Mail to: Saint Mary’s University
700 Terrace Heights #6
Winona, MN 55987

Partners

The Washington Center Internship Program combines real-world work experience with academic learning in a unique environment that fosters success and achievement. For one semester, students can work and earn college credits in their chosen academic field in the heart of the nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C. Internships can be arranged in government agencies or in private non-profit organizations and are available for all majors.

HECUA (the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) is a unique educational collaboration that engages students in exceptional learning opportunities. Students can choose a program that includes an internship in the U.S. or abroad for a semester, a month, or a summer. The focus of each program is social change in urban settings.

Office Location/Hours

70 Griffin Hall
Monday — Friday: 8 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.

Mailing Address

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Career Services and Internships Office
700 Terrace Heights #6
Winona, MN 55987-1399