Connected Learning through staff internships Reply

Kait Quinn – 1851 Staff

When a student first visits Lasell College and hears “every student is required to do an internship to graduate,” there is not much excitement. The idea of doing a part-time job for free, in return for college credit is not everyone’s dream.

But when the same student hears Lasell College was ranked in U.S. News’ “10 Colleges With the Highest Rate of Student Internships,” in 2013, the desire to complete an internship seems to outweigh the dreadfulness.

Sarah Burrows, Director of Internship Programs and Assistant Professor of Communication said, “I was thrilled that the college got this recognition. There are many people on this campus who work very hard on this initiative … The other advantage Lasell gives students is the internship field work class itself; the space for reflection, processing the internship experience with peers and making the connections with previous academics is very important.”

This summer, I completed an internship at AARP. I was a digital communications intern in the downtown Boston office. I worked for a small sti- pend a day and 4-credits, alongside an online summer course, taught by Burrows. It was definitely a life-defining moment for me.

Did I think I would come out of the internship knowing so much more about myself, my dreams and my work ethic? Not quite. I was concerned about taking the T into the city and navigating around. I was worried that I would not be able to do the work asked of me and disappointing my supervisor. None of these happened.

I thoroughly enjoyed commuting into work and learning about the struggles of a broken down T, quick meeting changes, and getting off at a different stop, power-walking on a steamy July day, and spilling coffee on a nice shirt. I learned how to use iMovie, act professionally in a staff meeting, and fill in when other interns needed you. I learned how to connect professionally with a boss and have a gossip session at the end. I learned that I loved digital communications and everything that came with it. I realized that I love to work.

Burrows added, “[what students find most exciting is] Engaging with the professional world on all levels. Applying the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom, contributing to an organizational mission, being appreciated as a colleague, and building one’s sense of self and one’s purpose. Not to mention getting professionally dressed up, and oftentimes traveling off campus, as a flash forward to the next step in their lives.”

Burrows feels students are eager to learn about internships and start the field work. “Students are very excited about internships when they come to Lasell. I had one student last summer already e-mailing me about an internship before he even got to Lasell,” said Burrows.

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