When the COVID-19 pandemic changed the entire landscape of the corporate world, including how and where Americans work, the Internship & Career Center had to pivot plans for the upcoming academic year. And that’s exactly what it did.
Businesses across the country had shut their doors and were now fully remote, making it near impossible to host an intern. While certainly a curveball, Provost Beth Schwartz, Ph.D., deans of the academic schools, and the Internship & Career Center found a viable solution that would allow the College to uphold its premier experiential learning model that permeates its four-year curricula.
Dale McLennan, Dean of the Internship & Career Center, says, “I started by approaching a number of departments that seemed like they might be able to provide a great learning experience for students. Thankfully, there were a number of departments that were excited to create opportunities that would give our students the type of experience that we expect from our internship sites.”
One thing that was essential was distinguishing the interns’ work from that done by student workers, and to make sure the critical learning component was part of the experience. To help facilitate this and provide additional support, each student's intern seminar professor regularly conducted site visits and check-ins with supervisors to gauge progress and goals—the same protocol in place for all off-campus internships. Since the Fall 2020 semester, a total of 36 students have done an on-campus internship in 18 departments—a new realm of experiential learning for the College.
Diane M. Halle Library Director Brian Courtemanche is hosting the Library’s first-ever intern, Ben Jackmin ’21, who is working in the Archives this semester. On his experience as an internship supervisor, Courtemanche shares, “As a history major, Ben is getting direct field experience as he organizes and preserves the institutional memory of the College in the Archives.” Courtemanche says that he provides Jackmin with the opportunity to try things on his own and gives him the latitude to be creative in how he wants to tackle his work. He also gives Jackmin exposure to other areas in the Library, such as the circulation desk, to offer a well-rounded work experience.
Campus Police Lieutenant Barron Leeds is currently overseeing the Public Safety & Police Department’s first intern as well, criminal justice major and security studies minor Jimmy Cohun ’22, and he takes his role as internship supervisor seriously. “I’m constantly asking if what we are doing for him is meaningful. Does it provide useful knowledge in his major? Does it forward the mission of learning?” Leeds says that he makes it a point to avoid busy work and challenges himself to create projects that will expand Cohun’s knowledge base of the field.
It’s clear that Courtemanche and Leeds share the same mindset when it comes to the outcome of the internship: making sure that it’s productive, meaningful, and educational. And while their students’ learning experience has been the top priority, both agree that it’s been a rewarding experience for them personally.
“Our departments on campus can offer robust learning opportunities for students and having on-campus interns can be a great supervisory experience for staff members.”—Dale McLennan, Dean of the Internship & Career Center
After seeing the success and value of these mutually-beneficial on-campus internships for both interns and supervisors, it’s a safe bet that they will be offered for semesters to come, and Courtemanche and Leeds look forward to it. “Our departments on campus can offer robust learning opportunities for students and having on-campus interns can be a great supervisory experience for staff members,” says McLennan. The Internship & Career Center plans to evolve the internship offerings on campus to make sure that they are rewarding for everyone involved.
We spoke with both Jackmin and Cohun about their on-campus internship experience and here’s what they had to say.
How would you describe your internship?
Cohun: “I would describe this internship at the Public Safety & Police Department as a little bit of everything. I have done an array of things from parking and traffic, to emergency response, to dispatching. Every day I come into the office there is always something new, whether it is a call or a new project I am working on.”
Jackmin: “I’m an intern working in the archives at the Diane M. Halle Library. My responsibilities consist of processing material to be archived, handling any information requests, and I also handle Circulation Desk duties on certain days.”
What are you most proud of during your internship?
Cohun: “I am most proud of the work I did with the Emergency Response Plan. It was one of the longer projects that I worked on and I’m proud of the amount of time and effort I put into it. I am also proud of the relationships I have made with many of the campus officers and I now know that they are great resources to go to with any questions I have.”
Jackmin: “I am most proud of the connections I have made with the other employees. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to a professional environment.”
Did this internship meet your expectations?
Cohun: “Yes, it did meet my expectations because my goal was to understand how policing on a college campus is different from a municipal department. I got to learn more about the administrative side of a police department and see the day-to-day work of the entire department.”
Jackmin: “The learning experience has been great. I didn’t really know what to expect from an on-campus internship, but I think what surprised me the most was again how willing everyone is to ensure that I have had a great experience working at the Halle Library.”
“I’m constantly asking if what we are doing for him is meaningful. Does it provide useful knowledge in his major? Does it forward the mission of learning?”—Campus Police Lieutenant Barron Leeds
To learn more about Endicott’s internship & co-op program, visit endicott.edu.