University of Vermont

Internships

*This information is about optional, career-related internships that students may choose to pursue. For information about required, clinical/practicum internships for your degree, certification, or licensure (e.g. teaching, counseling, or social work), please visit your department's website.

What is the difference between research and an internship?

Link to the Office of Undergraduate Research
Both Research and internships are

Supervised experiences that allow you to gain knowledge, skills, and abilities in a particular field. Both research and internships should offer the opportunity for reflection and evaluation of the information learned. Research and internships will allow you to build your resume, explore your interests, and build connections that may be important for your future career. They can also help you develop "soft" skills, like critical thinking and problem solving, flexibility of mind, as well as allowing you to gain "hard" skills, such as grant writing, using databases, manuscript creation, using GIS, or printmaking.

Internships:

An internship is experiential learning that combines classroom learning with work in a professional setting.

  • Are career-related work experience
  • Can be in nearly any field
  • Apply classroom theory to real world applications
  • Allow you to learn career related skills
  • Can be a chance to “try out” at a company or organization, which may decide to hire you after graduation

Research:

The Council on Undergraduate Research defines research as, "An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline (www.cur.org)" 

  • Allows a student to be involved in the planning, conducting, and (ideally) reporting of a research project that leads to the creation of original knowledge in the discipline
  • Can happen in any academic field
  • Can be good training for graduate or medical school, getting your first job or the one after that
  • May allow you to publish a paper, have your own art show, or write a thesis
  • Can let you strengthen connections with faculty mentor (which may also lead to a letter of recommendation)

Definition of an internship and qualities of a strong internship

An internship is experiential learning that combines classroom learning with work in a professional setting. Internships can be paid, unpaid, for credit or not-for-credit, and can take place in Burlington, out-of-state, or in other countries. Internships can take many forms, but these are qualities of a strong internship:

  • Integrates classroom learning
  • Skills and knowledge learned are transferable
  • Has a defined beginning and end
  • Clear job description
  • Clear goals about what you should learn
  • Supervision by a resident expert
  • Routine feedback from an experienced supervisor
  • Resources, equipment, and facilities that support your work
  • At least six weeks in length

Reasons for doing an internship

An internship offers a great opportunity to learn by doing. Internships allow someone to:

  • Gain professional experience
  • Learn about an industry
  • Narrow down career interests
  • Develop new skills
  • Earn credit, get paid, or both
  • Establish career networks and mentors
  • Build confidence
  • Make an impact on the real world
  • Learn about your own strengths, skills, and values

How to find an internship: Step by Step

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  1. Create and polish your resume and cover letter
    See our resume and cover letter resources and examples, or go to the weekly resume workshop in the Career + Experience Hub (runs during the academic year on Mondays at 4:15pm)
  2. Stop by drop in hours to get feedback on your application materials.
  3. Make a list of your preferences in company/organization, type of work, location, and any other important factors.
  4. Reach out to alumni, professors, friends, family, and other contacts if you want to find unlisted opportunities or “create your own internship”
  5. Begin your search using websites and resources listed below. Make a list of target organizations/companies and internships that appeal to you. Use the "My Internship Search" table below to keep track of deadlines, contact, required documents, and other items to remember.
  6. Send out applications. This is a like applying to college again: some internships are more competitive and are more of "reach" opportunities, whereas others are less competitive and "safe" bets. Most students apply to at least 5-6 different internships, and sometimes many more.
  7. Follow up about your applications after 2 weeks. Continue to reach out to your contacts. Many internships are found through networking.

Company

Position

Requirements

Due

Applied

Name, date & method of follow up

Outcome

Keurig Green Mountain Coffee

Sustainability Intern

Resume & Cover letter

8/15/14

7/10/14

Emailed Nancy Baldwin, 7/20

Offered internship on 7/31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use a table like this to keep track of pertinent application information

Search Engines & Resources

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General and Local Internships
  • Catamount Job Link (CJL)
    UVM’s internal job and internship database. Can search for jobs and internships, upload your resume and cover letter for feedback, apply for positions, and see information about on-campus recruitment, info sessions, and other events. Can also search the employer directory for networking leads and information.
  • Indeed.com & SimplyHired.com
    Two similar job search meta-engines that aggregate opportunities from many other websites. They are two of the most visited job sites in the US. Can use a “wildcard search” (e.g. “counsel*” will give results for “counsel”, “counseling”, “counselor”, etc.). You can sign up for email alerts, which will send you daily updates about new positions that match your criteria.
Non Profit/Government & Policy
  • Idealist.org
    Large non-profit search engine run by Action Without Borders.
  • United Way of Chittenden County
    The most comprehensive volunteer database in Chittenden County. Great for mining contact information and non-profit internship ideas.
  • Government Internships
    The “student” section provides info on several government internships
  • USAJobs.gov
     Job and internship database for government positions
  • The White House Internship
    Competitive program designed to mentor and cultivate young leaders, provide a hands-on experience, and strengthen the understanding of the Executive Office.
Environmental
Science Health & Technology
International
  • Transitions Abroad
  • Cultural Vistas (AIPT-CDS) International
  • Idealist
  • International Internship Guide
  • International Volunteer Guide
Diversity
Networking Resources*
  • *Note: You need a LinkedIn account to use LinkedIn resources. To get started, come to our weekly LinkedIn Workshop (Thursdays at 4:15 in the Hub during the academic year)
  • LinkedIn Groups: UVM Alumni Association (11,000+ members), University of Vermont Career Connection (6000+ members)
  • LinkedIn’s “Find Alumni” Tool (under “Connections” menu). Can look at charts to see which locations, industries, and companies are the most popular with UVM alumni (and then contact them for more information).
  • Career Center page on Networking www.uvm.edu/career/?Page=networking.html 
    Details strategies and includes sample LinkedIn and email samples, as well as networking questions.

Receiving academic credit for an internship

An internship is a great way to gain professional experience, learn about a particular industry, make contacts, and test out the career field. An internship makes sense for these reasons, whether or not you are planning to earn credit.

In order to receive credit, you must enroll in a course connected with your internship. There are several course options, but all courses require that internship credit is agreed upon and enrolled in prior to the internship. That is, no credit can be awarded retroactively for work already completed. One has to be enrolled in a course connected with the internship and paying the associated tuition for the credits earned. The course will also require academic work to be done in conjunction with your internship, such as reflections, readings, essays, and/or other assignments.

It is crucial to consult with your academic advisor about internship credit to understand how credit would fit in with your graduation plan. The number of credits earned depends on how much academic work you complete and how much time you spend working at your internship (1 academic credit typically requires 45 hours spent at your internship). Please note that credit earned is most often elective credit, and does not typically count toward major requirements.

Note that getting paid and receiving credit have no bearing on one another. Some students earn both credit and payment, some students earn neither, and some students receive only credit or payment.
These are the venues to receive credit:

  • Service Learning Internship Class (EDSS 239)
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    For internships in the non-profit or government sectors. The Service Learning Internship course links community service with readings and reflections on service and social justice, connecting these with issues that have been raised in the workplace. It is offered each semester and students can earn between 1-12 credits, depending upon the number of hours worked, and readings and essays completed. You must have an internship set up before enrolling in this class, and enrollment in the course is by permission of instructor. To learn more about this option, visit the Service Learning webpage.

  • Field Experience/Practicum (CDAE 196)
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    This is a general internship class taught by Charles Ferreira. You must have an internship set up before enrolling in this class, and enrollment in the course is by permission of instructor. You may earn 1 - 15 credits, depending on hours spent at your internship site, and the professor’s subjective evaluation of the inherent rigor and responsibility associated with the proposed internship. If you are interested in this class, you can visit the website for more information.

  • Credit within your academic major*
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*This list was updated in September 2014. Please send corrections/updates to amanda.chase@uvm.edu
It may also be worth checking to see if your department offers credit or programs for undergraduate research
  • Management and the Environment
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Laboratory Science
  • Medical Radiation Sciences
  • Microbiology
    • Special topics (MMG 195/196)
  • Molecular Genetics
    • Special topics (MMG 195/196)
  • Music
    • Music Technology Internship (MU 291)
  • Natural Resources (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Nutrition and Food Sciences
    • NFS 195/196/295/296/274
  • Parks, Recreation and Tourism (B.S., minor)
  • Political Science
    • Political Science Internship (POLS 191/192)
  • Production Operation Management
  • Psychological Science
  • Public Communication
    • Field Experience/Practicum (CDAE 196)
  • Religion (B.A., minor)
  • Russian
  • Sexuality and Gender Identity Studies
    • Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Internship (GSWS 191/192)
  • Sociology
    • Applied Sociology (SOC 286)
  • Soil Science
    • Plant & Social Science Internship (PSS 158)
  • Speech
  • Statistics
  • Sustainable Landscape Horticulture
    • Plant & Soil Science Internship (PSS 158)
  • Theatre
  • Vermont Studies
  • Wildlife and Fisheries Biology
  • Zoology
    • Internship in Biology (BIOL 193/194)


    Not-for-Credit Options

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    Some students may wish to do internships, not for credit, but simply to gain career-related experience. These internships may offer college learning level projects and a chance to test the waters of a career and develop professional skills. As with credit-bearing internships, they may be paid or volunteer and can be completed locally, nationally or internationally.


    Internship pitfalls and areas for concern

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    There are a tremendous number of internships available, and while some of them are fantastic learning opportunities, others may not be. You should be aware of warning signs, or “red flags” as you are considering an internship. These signs indicate a poor-quality experience:

    • Repetitive, menial tasks that don’t relate to your career interests and goals. You may occasionally make coffee or make copies (everyone does some mundane work from time to time), but this should not make up the bulk of your internship work.
    • Commission-based work (that is, being paid based on sales). You may have a job that offers a salary based on commission, but this payment structure is not well-suited for an internship. You should have the support and space to learn, and not be solely focused on making sales to earn your salary.
    • Paying for an internship. You should never have to pay an application fee or pay to have an internship experience. The one exception is if you are engaging in an international internship experience, where you may have to pay for your travel or housing.
    • Some “virtual” internships. Online internships are becoming more common, but can be of variable quality. Do your due diligence about these opportunities: they should offer adequate resources, supervision, and have an established mode of communication (e.g. Skype meetings on a weekly basis)

    If you have a question about an internship posting, or find yourself in an internship of poor quality, please come to drop ins or make an appointment to speak to a career counselor for support and to discuss your options.


    Covering the Financial Costs of Your Internship

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    We recognize that students typically have financial demands of tuition, housing, travel, and other personal expenses, and that unpaid/under-paid internships (while offering great experience) can also create a financial burden.
    If your employer does not offer to pay you minimum wage, you might ask about other forms of compensation. Some internships offer stipends, which is a fixed amount of money delivered in a lump sum, used to cover expenses (e.g. a $1000 stipend for the semester). Other allotments may include housing, food, or vouchers for gym memberships, bus passes, etc.
    It can’t hurt to ask!
    You should be aware of laws regarding unpaid internships so that you can advocate for yourself. The Federal Government has laws about when a for-profit company (unpaid internships with nonprofits are considered volunteer positions) can have an unpaid intern (more information below).
    Additionally, there are several funding sources that provide scholarship money for students who need financial assistance in order to accept an unpaid internship. These monetary awards are competitive, and have varying application requirements.

    • Anna Whitcomb Internship Scholarship
      5 scholarships of up to $2375 per student to cover travel and living expenses. Preference is given for internships at mission-driven organizations. Must be planning to continue studies for the semester following your summer internship. Deadline is March 17th.
    • Honors College Career Development Award
      Two scholarships of up to $3500 per student to cover travel and living expenses, Must be a student in the Honors College. Deadline is March 17th.
    • Kate Svitek Memorial Award
      Provides financial support to approximately 25 Rubenstein School students pursuing summer, fall, or spring environmental internships. Must be a Rubenstein student, completed sophomore year, and be willing to earn credit for the internship experience.
    • Public Impact Award
      Awards of up to $2000 for students engaged in a research/creative internship (or internship with significant research/creative component) in the non-profit sector, with a non-governmental or governmental agency. Deadline is May 12th.
    • Samuel Fishman Memorial Fund
      Scholarship of up to $1000 available to students in the Service-Learning Internship Class (EDSS 239)


    Laws about Unpaid Internships

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    You should be aware of laws regarding unpaid internships so that you can advocate for yourself. The Federal Government has laws about when a company can have an unpaid intern. An unpaid intern:
    • Has to receive an educational experience
    • Should be the main beneficiary of the experience
      (NOT the employer)
    • Cannot displace a regular employee
    • Has agreed with the employer that this is an unpaid experience and that the intern isn’t necessarily entitled to a job at the end
    As a student, you don’t have to do anything to satisfy these requirements. However, it’s good to know about them so that you aren’t taken advantage of.
    Note that getting paid and receiving credit have no bearing on one another. Some students receive both credit and payment, some students receive neither, and some students receive only credit or payment.


    Healthy and safe internship environments: What to do if you experience harassment in an internship

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    The UVM Career Center strives to create an excellent internship experience for all participating students. 
    A successful internship requires, in large part, a positive working and learning environment.  Accordingly, UVM will not tolerate discrimination or harassment from employers providing internship opportunities.  If any student believes that s/he has been harassed or discriminated against in an internship, they are strongly encouraged to report their concerns immediately to UVM's Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity as well as to Pamela K. Gardner, Director of the Career Center. It is critical that students let us know when there is a problem so that we can continue to support students having a successful experience.
    If, in the determination of the University, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an employer or individual has discriminated against a UVM student, that employer or individual may be barred from further participation in UVM–supported internship programs.


    Places where UVM students have interned

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    Here are a few examples:
    • American Red Cross
    • Cumbancha Records
    • Brigham and Women's Hospital
    • Chittenden County Public Defenders
    • ECHO Leahy Center Lake Champlain
    • Fletcher Allen Health Care
    • Flynn Center for Performing Arts
    • IBM
    • Keurig Green Mountain
    • King Street Youth Center
    • Logic Supply
    • Microstrain
    • MTV
    • NBC news
    • National Science Foundation
    • National Geographic
    • Office on Senator Patrick Leahy
    • Simon and Schuster
    • UBS
    • Vermont Public Radio
    • Vermont Refugee Resettlement

    Last modified October 28 2014 12:01 PM