Internships: Good for students—and alumni
By Laurie Lemmen, Internship Program Coordinator

From popular culture—TV shows, movies, advertisements, comic strips—to academic culture, the profile of internships has grown immensely over the past decade.

At Calvin, internship participation is higher than ever. Faculty support the idea of learning through experience, and students strive to gain valuable work experience before graduation to confirm their career direction and bolster their résumé.

Thanks to the John and Judy Spoelhof Family Institute, Calvin has employed internship program staff for the past eight years, allowing the college to serve students and employers effectively. With employers’ increasing demand that students have relevant experience before entering the work force, continuing to build the internship program is vital to students’ ability to compete for opportunities upon graduation.

Internship Numbers at Calvin
2003–2004
335
2004–2005
416
2005–2006
519
2006–2007
585

Contact the
Career Development Office.

An internship is a meaningful work experience related to a student’s field of study that is supervised by someone who is an expert in the field. Internships can be for-credit or non-credit, paid or unpaid (guess which is more popular!), part-time or full-time. Interns add value to employers by providing fresh energy, new ideas and advanced technological skills. They free up other staff members for more complex work and complete projects that have been shelved for lack of time. Internships also serve as a recruitment tool. Who wouldn’t like to interview prospective employees for three months, watching how they work, rather than 30 minutes of Q&A in a conference room?

Students appreciate internships with high-level work, where they can own and complete a responsible project. Anyone familiar with the Seinfeld episode where Kramer has an intern? That is definitely not the model Calvin is after. While copying and making coffee are part of every job, we ask employers to keep menial work to a minimum.

Many Calvin alumni have offered internships to Calvin students. Remembering the value of what they learned at Calvin, they’ve returned to their alma mater to recruit candidates.

Could your company or organization benefit from an intern? If so, develop a brief description of the position and post it at Calvin by e-mailing it to intern@calvin.edu. Of course, students won’t snatch up all positions that are posted—they choose based on the relevance of the experience to their interest, geographic location, pay rate and other factors—but we’ll do our best to facilitate a match.

Students from all majors gain experience through Calvin’s partnerships with a variety of companies and organizations. We hope you’ll join in providing real-world learning experiences for students!