Taking the Internship Certificate Program on the Road to Boston

Mar 25 2010

Adrienne Mc Nally, Professor Michael Gregorek and I went to Boston during Spring Break to present at the national Cooperative Education and Internship Association conference.  I had the pleasure of first presenting with Michael on the successes we have had in collaborating on our two programs--the School of Management's Professional Enrichment Program and the Career Services Internship Certificate Program.

In true Michael style he was the star of the show.  40 audience participants laughed in between nodding their heads in disbelief of his successful outreach to students and professionals alike.  They were captivated by not only Michael's energetic delivery, (at one point he was on both knees with his arms raised to the sky to illustrate a point), but by his creativity and his level of commitment to his students.  The objective of the presentation was to speak of the necessity of working in collaboration with other departments, other schools, various student groups, and outside organizations in order to make true learning happen.

We mingled that evening with key players in the field.  One of the key players is Richard Bottner, the founder and president of InternBridge, Inc., a research company that advocates for student intern learning.  What is most interesting about Richard is that he started this company as a junior in college in what he terms as an "independent study gone terribly wrong".  He started the company after a negative intern experience, and he wanted to learn if other students had similar experiences.  Five years later he is a keynote speaker at the national conference as a leader in the research field on intern experiences.  He is also a strong advocate for paid internships and is working on getting legal clarity to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which will likely result in interns being paid for the work they do.  Talk about following your passion with a purpose!

The next afternoon as Adrienne and I sat down to practice the presentation we would make the next day a gentleman came over to our table to say hello.  I said hello and introduced him to Adrienne.  When he walked away, I asked if Adrienne knew who he was.  She said no.  I said, "That's Mike True."  Adrienne's response was "Not true."  Michael True has been in the business for years and runs an internship Listserv for industry professionals to share information.  We read messages and see his name everyday, but Adrienne had never had the chance to see him in person until now.  So you know we cornered him later at the conference to catch a picture.  He felt like a rock star.

We also hobnobbed with Dr.Phil Gardner at the conference .  He's a leading internship expert and researcher of recruiting and hiring trends.  And what a small world it is:  we found out that Rich Bottner is being mentored by Phil Gardner, which is such a great opportunity for Rich's professional development, and for the field in general.  

Adrienne and I were honored by being scheduled to present during the very last session of the conference (the last slot that almost everyone skips to go sightseeing), but we were surprised to have a robust audience.  Our focus was to share what we learned after piloting the Internship Certificate Program in the summer of 2009.  We talked about NYIT, Career Services and why we created the ICP.  We discussed how we run it, and what we learned so far.  People were genuinely interested in the topic, because as it turns out, many career services offices across the United States are exploring zero credit internship options for their students.  The ultimate goal for us in this industry is to provide students multiple practical learning experiences in their chosen fields without having to go poor in the process.  People asked us to share the entire program, so they could replicate it on their own campuses.  As rewarding as it is to run the program, it is also beneficial to the field at large to share our challenges and successes.

I am dictating this blog to Michael as we drive back to the campus now, excited to implement some new ideas and follow up on the great contacts we made there.  If you are interested in getting a copy of either presentation, just ask.




Author: amy_bravo