Expectations of Student Interns
- Develop learning goals with supervisor and plan for assessing progress.
- Develop a set schedule (8-10 hours per week), be punctual, and apprise supervisor of any changes in schedule with advance notice
- Arrive prepared for internship tasks, having completed any preparatory reading in advance
- Demonstrate professional appearance and conduct
- Seek clarification of the exact nature of responsibilities you will be assuming as an intern
- Communicate with site supervisor about departmental deadlines
- Solicit feedback about strengths and areas for growth
- Communicate with faculty supervisor about progress and experiences in internship
Expectations of Sponsoring Agencies
- Provide a direct supervisor (with a bachelor’s degree or higher) who is able to dedicate time to supervise one or more interns. Preferably, this person will hold a degree in one of the many fields of human services. In addition, this person should be an agency employee as opposed to a volunteer.
- Provide interns the opportunity to deliver direct services, under supervision, to individuals, families, or groups who are being served by the agency.
- Provide interns the opportunity to analyze the needs of clients, develop goals, and design and implement a plan of action.
Expectations of Site Supervisors
- Orient the intern to the agency/firm/school, including any training normally given to new employees at the professional level.
- Provide opportunities for the fulfillment of the Intern’s goals
- When necessary, work in cooperation with the Intern and the Program Coordinator to revise Intern goals.
- Provide individual guidance and supervise the Intern’s work during the field placement.
- Facilitate, whenever feasible, the Intern’s participation in staff/employee activities of a professional nature.
- Confer with the Internship Program Coordinator on any problems or ways in which the Internship Program Coordinator may assist with the achievement of the Intern’s goals.
- Complete a written evaluation of the Intern at the end of the term.
- Meet with the intern to discuss weekly assignments, with the understanding that it is the intern’s responsibility to initiate these meetings.
Appropriate Activities for Interns
While undergraduate students typically cannot provide direct mental health counseling, they can help with tasks such as:
- Designing, coordinating, and promoting mental health workshops
- Assisting children and other populations with improving their social skills
- Providing support to persons with chronic mental illness
- Helping individuals with developmental disabilities to engage in recreational activities and social interaction
- Helping with clinically-relevant data entry and analysis
- Attending select staff meetings and training seminars
- Reading agency mission statements, policies, and procedures
- Shadowing site supervisor and/or other agency staff member to develop understanding of variety of work undertaken at an agency
- Co-facilitating curriculum-based groups
- Case management activities, such as linking clients to community resources, facilitating warm referrals, helping clients apply for benefits, or communicating with collateral service providers
- Meeting with clients or families, typically with an agency staff member present or nearby
- Community education efforts, such as tabling at community events or school-based awareness raising programing
- Learning documentation requirements, such as agency-specific assessments or progress notes.
Inappropriate Activities for Interns
- Clerical activities as the primary function of their internship.
- Childcare as the primary function of their internship.
- Providing services to clients with no supervisor available.
- Academic research.
- Activities that conflict with required seminar/course attendance. Students cannot miss seminars due to internship responsibilities.
Benefits of having an intern
- Interns bring new ideas and perspectives
- Support students and the community
- Access a pool of potentially employable individuals
- Make a difference through mentoring eager students
- Contribute to the nurturing of competent future practitioners in the field