Become an Internship Provider

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Our students are available for fall, spring, and summer semester internships! Students must commit to a minimum of 40 hours a week for a total of 14 weeks. Student interns are prepared to enter a variety of competitive fields and professions.

We view an internship as a professional activity, under the general supervision of an experienced professional or specialist.

Student internships could be a vital and energetic part of your workforce. Your participation in internships can help shape the careers of tomorrow's professionals and provides your employees with mentorship opportunities!

FAQs

Our students usually do not participate in internships until their junior or senior year. By then, they will have a strong background in basic biology, chemistry, math and statistics as well as more specialized courses in animal (and occasionally plant) biology. They will be able to bring the latest concepts and knowledge to the job. Their breadth of knowledge will make them an asset in such areas as preparing diets, providing enrichment, observing and participating in medical procedures, working in the education department, helping with the marketing staff and answering patrons’ questions. 

By this point in their academic careers, many students will also have had work experience in a variety of venues. From this, they will bring reliability and experience with on-the-job communication. You should expect interns to complete their tasks in a professional and timely manner and demonstrate initiative and responsibility. The same evaluation process used for regular employees may be used for student interns. 

For a student, the prospect of applying what was learned in academic courses to practical hands-on situations is exciting. You will find that these students bring a lot of enthusiasm and energy to their work. 

In the long term, by providing this internship experience to a student, you will be helping to develop a future professional for your field. Whether rotating through different areas of the facility or working more in-depth in one area, the intern nonetheless will experience how many different groups cooperate to achieve the goals of a large institution. This knowledge of what a career in this field is really like will enable the student to be a more productive and informed employee. The contacts a student intern develops within the profession will be valuable both to your institution and the student later in their career.

We will work with the host facility to secure a working agreement between that facility and our internship program. Each party must understand the other’s goals and missions.The number of internships is agreed upon mutually by the host institution and the department. Both parties agree upon a specific job description. Welfare and professional experience of the student is a primary consideration.

Student placement with a particular facility takes into account the following:

  •   Academic level and related experience
  •   Type of host institution
  •   Work experiences offered by the host
  •   Number of internships available
  •   The host’s geographic location
  •   The cost to student for locating in the area
  •   Availability of facility’s staff for mentoring, supervision and/or on-site training
  •   Facility staff member willing to serve as an on-site supervisor

Our goal is to train students to be valuable contributors to their profession, whether it will be performing scientific research, curating, public relations, sales or directing an institution (such as a zoo or aquarium). Most college students have little practical experience in assessing day-to-day jobs that make a facility operate smoothly. Like the general public, they see only the end-product. As a result, they may have little appreciation or understanding of the complexity of the components that make the final presentation possible.

An internship has many aspects, and each of these can provide benefits to the student, and in the long-term, to the profession. The benefits include:

  • Experience blending the student’s academic background with the daily work needed for the host facility to achieve its goals
  • Fundamental understanding of the professions available at your facility
  • Development of interpersonal and communication skills
  • An understanding of how subunits within a facility interconnect to achieve common goals

The actual day-to-day experience in their chosen field of interest will help students to set realistic career goals. They will be better informed when they enter the workforce, which will help them adjust to their new career much faster. 

The host institution should:

  1. Be willing to accommodate the intern in an area of specialty coinciding with the intern’s experience, academic background, and interests. Note: We realize that because of legal constraints, dangerous situations, the possibility of contamination, or highly technical procedures, not all student requests for a particular activity can be granted. 
  2. Insure participation of the intern alongside the staff in day-to-day assignments and in a range of operation and management activities and responsibilities
  3. Develop an agreement (with the MSU Internship Program Director and the student) on expected outputs and timelines
  4. Place the student intern under the supervision of a staff member(s) willing to act as a mentor (This allows great flexibility for supervision, as any staff employee can act as a mentor if the internship objectives are met)
  5. Be willing to provide constructive criticism, correct the intern’s work, and liaise with the MSU Internship Program Director about the intern’s performance
  6. Be willing to complete an evaluation of the intern’s work evolution and suggest a grade

We emphasize the importance of establishing good work habits. Tasks should be completed in a professional and timely manner. An intern is expected to comply with the instructions of the facility’s staff and demonstrate a true eagerness to learn from experience and host institution staff. All facility rules must be observed by interns while working on-site. Interns must arrive on time on days they are scheduled to work or use the proper institution procedures in an absence is necessary.

The host institution mentor(s) have the primary responsibility for evaluating an intern. The same criteria used for evaluation of employees may be used for student interns. The evaluation should be impartial. We also provide the host institution with an evaluation sheet. In addition, the intern is expected to keep a daily log of work-related experiences (supplemented with literature and photographs) which is submitted to the Department of Integrative Biology for evaluation. Other materials (such as a final project in collaboration with the facility or a reflective critique) will also be required. The host’s evaluation and these materials are reviewed before a final grade is determined.

Some are, but most internships are volunteer positions. During the development of a professional career, not all experiences can have a price placed on them.

The purpose of an internship is student education. It is not the purpose or the intent of the internship to interfere with the normal work responsibilities of the facility staff and management. It is in no way meant to be construed on the part of the University or the host facility that this is a method for securing a job on behalf of the student. We realize that because of legal constraints, potentially dangerous situations, the possibility of contamination, or highly technical procedures, not all student requests for a particular activity can be granted.

Institutions are not in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act by participating in a service learning or academic internship, as long as these criteria are met in the sponsor-intern relationship:

  1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the employer's facilities, is similar to that which would be given at a vocational school.
  2. The training is for the benefit of the trainees [students].
  3. The trainees [students] do not displace regular employees, but work under close supervision.
  4. The employer [host] that provides the training derives no immediate advantages from the activities of the trainees [students] and, on occasions, his/her operation may be impeded.
  5. The trainees [students] are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
  6. The employer [host] and the trainee [student] is not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

Forms

Step 1: Set up an arrangement between a facility and MSU Integrative Biology:

Agreement between Integrative Biology Department and Internship Provider (pdf) describes:

  • The expectations MSU Integrative Biology has of the facility offering an internship placement that a student could take for credit
  • What that facility offering an internship placement can expect from the MSU Integrative Biology Department

Step 2: Complete the internship application form before the student starts:

IBIO 496 Application Form (pdf), must be filled out before the experience begins, which:

  • Specifies the student and semester (dates)
  • Identifies on-site & MSU supervisors, work to be completed, dates, rationale, preparation, evaluation methods, etc.
  • Must be completed and signed by the student and both supervisors (MSU & on-site) before internship starts.

Step 3: Complete the evaluation form at end of experience:

IBIO 496 (intern) Evaluation Form (pdf) must be completed by on-site supervisor at the end of the internship.

For More Information Please Contact:

Dr. Richard Snider Photo

Dr. Richard Snider
Program Coordinator
Department of Integrative Biology
 03 Natural Science Building
 (517) 355-8473
 snider@msu.edu