2:30-5:00 p.m., April 19, 2005
Mary Gates Commons
The Biology department at UW has nearly 1000 majors with very diverse interests ranging from conservation to molecular biology. Although approximately 50% of biology majors complete an independent research project during their time at UW, there is a great need to provide a wider range of research opportunities, both to meet the diversity of student interest and to expose our students to real world work experiences. Our goal is to better engage students in the learning process by providing them with concrete examples of how classroom theory can be applied in the work environment.
To this end, we are developing a coordinated internship program that will provide an opportunity for biology majors to obtain real work experience at off-campus organizations including government agencies, private businesses and nonprofit organizations. To provide a framework for this process, we plan to establish two new courses. The first is designed to prepare students for an internship by teaching them skills in self-presentation and resume writing. Students will also be introduced to various internship opportunities during this course. The second class will provide a mechanism for students to receive academic credit for an internship and will also monitor and evaluate the students internship experience.
We will discuss our proposed outline for these courses and potential methods for assessing the effectiveness of the internship program in achieving the following goals: 1) to help students evaluate the appropriateness of their career choice, 2) to demonstrate practical application of classroom theory and 3) to motivate students to complete a degree in biology. We are particularly interested in determining whether implementation of this program enhances recruitment and/or retention of underrepresented minorities in the biological sciences.
As this program is in its infancy, we welcome input from other educators on successful mechanisms for both achieving and assessing these outcomes.