Why Complete an Internship?

Internships serve two primary purposes:

  1. On the job experience is the best way to be ready for the work world after graduation. In many cases, students’ internships serve as a gateway to further employment in either the organization for which they interned or a related organization makes a job offer.
  2. Internships are also an important educational experience. The classroom is a beneficial place for learning new theories and practices, and developing theoretical and practical fluency in a relatively “safe” environment, one that is focused on helping students learn. But there’s only so much one can do in the classroom to experience how disciplinary knowledge — the theories and practices of rhetoric and professional writing — can be integrated into the workplace. Internships put you in a position that isn’t as safe as the classroom nor as risky as a job. When you’re in an internship, your primary goal is still to learn (which is not the case once you’re in a job), so the internship gives you the opportunity to learn within a workplace context.

For these reasons, we have made internships an important part of the Professional Writing and Rhetoric program. We encourage students to pursue two internship experiences, one early in the program and one at the end so they can reap the benefits described above.

Internship Sites

PWR students have interned in a wide variety of organizational settings across the country and abroad. Example organizations where PWR students have interned include:

  • Computer and High-Tech Firms
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Advertising Agencies
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Publishing Companies
  • Insurance Companies
  • Law Firms
  • TV Stations
  • Political Offices

We encourage students to use internships as a way to experience and explore their individual interests. Both summer and semester internships are available.

Internship Assignments for Academic Credit

Since a writing internship in Professional Writing & Rhetoric is intended to help you apply and extend your PWR disciplinary knowledge within a workplace context, your internship must include on the job writing and editing experiences. If you discover, after a week or two at your internship site, that your internship has fewer writing and editing opportunities than you anticipated, you should initiate conversations with your internship supervisor and faculty sponsor about identifying additional opportunities to practice your PWR disciplinary knowledge.

To facilitate ongoing reflection about how PWR theories and practices, as well as PWR coursework, apply to internship experiences, all PWR interns are expected to complete:

  • Work logs of daily activities (Due Weekly)
  • Weekly reflections about the application of PWR theory and practices to internship tasks (Due Weekly)
  • Relevant readings selected in consultation with the Faculty Sponsor
  • At least one CUPID Blog Post about the internship experience (Due: By End of Internship)
  • An end-of-internship e-portfolio with sample pieces and reflective contextual narratives (Due: One Week After Internship Ends)

More about your Internship Portfolio

In a ePortfolio, you should collect and organize samples of the writing and editing you completed during your internship. A contextual narrative should accompany each writing/editing sample; this significant reflective element provides the “story” of each portfolio entry. Your contextual narrative should describe the rhetorical situation in which the document was created (e.g., where, by whom, for whom, when, why) and the rhetorical choices you made while composing and revising the document. You might talk about the process behind the document, including how you elicited and used feedback from others at your internship site, as well as any challenges you had to work through. Finally, you should reflect on what PWR skills or strategies the document showcases.

Your Faculty Sponsor will help you decide how many samples (and corresponding contextual narratives) your portfolio should include based on your individual internship and the number of internship credit hours in which you are enrolled. Keep in mind that you can opt to include these items in the PWR Portfolio that you are required to submit as a senior, so taking time to draft and revise strong contextual narratives now could save you time later.

Apply for an Internship

Once you identify a potential internship site (by working with a PWR faculty member, the Student Professional Development Center, or a contact in your growing professional network), ask a PWR faculty member to work with you as a faculty sponsor. Then follow the College of Arts and Sciences guidelines for registering for an internship.

Remember that PWR students must complete two hours of internship credit as part of the degree program. One hour of internship credit requires 40 hours at your internship site.