School of Communications rolls out new internship debriefing experience for students

Students in the School of Communications have been required to complete internships for credit for the last several years. The professional experiences they gain help them become more capable and confident in their classes and more marketable in their future job searches.

In order to earn their credit hours, students must complete a case study about their internship location, interview a supervisor, keep a detailed portfolio of their work and maintain a journal about their experiences. When they returned to campus, they would also debrief with Nagatha Tonkins, the internship director in the School of Communications.

This year, though, the debriefing component for the 235 summer interns underwent a change. Students presented their internship experiences in classrooms throughout McEwen all day Monday to faculty and staff. Tonkins said the new set up allows the students to engage in meaningful dialogues with each other and with the faculty. (See a complete list of the summer internship locations. Also see a list of Elon in Los Angeles and Elon in New York City internships.)

“This is an exciting way for students to showcase their work and to discuss their learning experiences at their internship sites,” Tonkins said. “We hope these formative internship experiences, blended with meaningful discussion with our faculty and staff will create a bridge to the classroom beyond what our current syllabus for the internship course does.”

Junior journalism major Jack Dodson, who interned at the Southern Pines (N.C.) Pilot, said he thinks the new debriefing process are helpful because it forces students to think critically about their internships.

“It’s useful because it gives you the opportunity to really reflect on what you did in your internship,” Dodson said. “You have to present it to professors and people you work with and tell them how it helped you.”

Tonkins said the debriefs will also help students and faculty identify what courses have best helped them and what kinds of lessons could be incorporated into future classes to prepare students for internships.

“This could be invaluable information for course and curriculum development,” she said. “Often, we find it is in the shared stories that these summer professional experiences become alive, so to speak, and create meaningful moments for the academic year.”