Preparing for an Intern:
Preparation is essential to a successful internship. Thinking about what you want and what you may have to offer are both important steps. Here are some other things to consider:
A well-defined project:
What can be done during the course of a 15 week semester? Students will work a minimum of 120 hours – which is 8-10 hours per week. This can be done all at once (one 8-hour day) or split between multiple days. Some students may want to work up to 240 hours over 15 weeks.
Some project examples from 2018:
- Scanning and organizing a large collection of town photos and then bringing the photos to elderly people in the community for identification.
- Creation of a newsletter (printed, at least 16 pages, bi-annual).
- Rehousing of a collection.
- Digitizing genealogical manuscripts or other ephemera.
- PastPerfect (or other catalogue) data input of a defined collection.
- Creation of an exhibit focusing on a specific element of historical life (ie. Music in 1925).
- Cataloguing and shelving a book collection.
- Creation of a tour through the museum including highlights of artifacts of note and then recording it for future tour guides.
- Creation and development of a social media presence, email newsletter and updated website.
Consider Department of Labor standards:
The U.S. Department of Labor has outlined six key criteria for determining trainee status:
- Interns cannot displace regular employees
- Interns are not guaranteed a job at the end of the internship (though you may decide to hire them at the conclusion of the experience)
- Interns are not entitled to wages during the internship (although they are allowed to earn wages)
- Interns must receive training from your organization, even if it somewhat impedes the work
- Interns must get hands-on experience with equipment and processes used in your industry
- Interns’ training must primarily benefit them, not the organization.
For additional information regarding these standards, see the U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet #71
Creation of work plan:
At the beginning of the internship period, or even during the interview process if appropriate, students and their mentors should create a work plan that outlines the intended goals and outlines of the internship.
Consider the following questions:
- What is the project to be completed?
- What are the action steps toward completion?
- What does the student want to learn?
- How can that be incorporated into their work at the society?
- What skills (technical or transferable) will the student gain through this internship?
- What is the student’s work schedule?
- Professional expectations?
The student may be required to submit this document to their professor, so make sure they have a copy!
Do you have questions?
Reach out to Internship Coordinator Sophia Trigg at Sophia.Trigg@uvm.edu or 802-656-1212. She works 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.