Buckle Internships for CSIT students

Internships are an important part of a student’s college experience and often provide a foot in the door for professional employment. CSIT students are able to choose from local internships to internships across the nation.

Finding and Applying for an Internship
An internship is employment related to the student’s major. The company provides a supervisor/mentor who guides the student. While the student is required to have knowledge that they will use on the job, the student is expected to be learning on the job – not doing routine work that they already know. In our field, it seems that each day presents a new learning experience, so this is an exciting way to gain real-world experience.

The primary responsibility for finding an internship belongs to the student. To begin, the student should start by thinking about the type of experience and career he/she is interested in pursuing. Students should contact CSIT faculty for possible internships, and may also want to visit the CSIT student job website. Often times, CSIT students gain internships by attending the UNK Career Fairs and the related IT Breakfast, held each October and February. Students should have a cover letter, an updated resume, a copy of your transcript, and names/addresses of three people who are willing to recommend you for professional employment.

Writing a cover letter and developing a resume is often a tricky process, but fortunately, the Career Services Center, located in MSAB #140, can help. Students should seek their expertise, especially for the first draft. Students may also find pertinent information on writing these documents on the Career Services website. CSIT faculty also are willing to review students’ cover letters and resumes. Transcripts may be obtained from the Registrar.

We view internships as win-win-win. Students gain experience, companies get a young employee will valuable knowledge, and we (the university and the CSIT program) gain from the relationship and from the experiences that the intern shares with his/her fellow students and with faculty members.

UNK CSIT student and Phynd intern

Internship Eligibility and Academic Credit
To apply for credit, the student requests permission from Dr. Harms to complete an internship. The student provides the information on where they will be employed, who their supervisor is, and what their basic duties will be. If approved, the student can sign up for the internship class – CSIT 492 Practicum in CSIT. The student can apply for up to 6 hours credit — such as full-time employment for the summer (400 hours worked). Students can earn 3 credits hours for working 200 hours. (This would be like working 20 hours per week for 10 weeks.)

(There are also a set of courses the student must complete before they are allowed to complete an internship.)

Internships provide an immersive experience for students in a field setting within a CS/IT-related department of a business. Intern responsibilities will depend on the individual internship, but could include responsibilities such as technical installations, network support, help desk, software development, and software or hardware maintenance. Students will be exposed to a variety of IT best practices, departmental procedures, and environment cultures. They will also receive hands-on experience, such as experience with network and point of sale (POS) equipment and contribute to one or more project.

A sample internship syllabus is attached here. This sample shows learning objectives for the internship, instructional methods, assignments, and assessment.

For internship course credit, the student is required to keep a daily journal and write a 5-8 page summary of the experience. Once the internship is complete, the student submits these documents to his/her supervisor. The student’s supervisor reviews these documents and sends them and his/her evaluation to Dr. Harms (usually via email).

The journal should indicate the interns day-to-day experiences and highlight those events that made the internship noteworthy. Recording notes on a daily basis and then summarizing experiences into a five to ten page journal (or blog posting) is the recommended approach.

The paper should summarize the experience. The paper should assess the degree of personal growth as a result of the internship and should include how the internship affected the intern’s personal views and career goals.

Grading is done on the basis of Credit (C) – No Credit (NC). A Credit grading is the result of a satisfactory supervisor’s review, satisfactory completion of an internship journal, and satisfactory completion of the summary paper. A grade of “C” or better is necessary to receive credit for the course. A grade of “C-” or lower will result in no credit. The internship coordinator (Dr. Harms) assigns the due date for the journal, the paper, and the supervisor’s evaluation (typically towards the end of the semester). Failure to complete the professional and academic requirements on time will result in an assignment of no credit.

Professional Responsibilities
An internship is an important first professional experience. Consequently, students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, both in seeking an internship and during the course of the internship service. In accepting an internship, the student is agreeing to assist the employer to the best of his or her ability. The student’s conduct should reflect favorably upon the employing company, upon the University of Nebraska at Kearney and upon the student personally. If relationship difficulties arise during the course of the internship, the student should contact Dr Harms for help in resolving the problem.

The interns appearance and demeanor reflect upon the employing company, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and the student. The key is for students to dress and behave professionally for his/her job responsibilities. If the student is in doubt regarding appropriate attire or behavior, it is best to discuss these issues with the mentor/supervisor prior to beginning your internship.

Work Schedules & Responsibilities
The intern should establish a clear understanding with the employing company about actual working hours, starting and ending dates, and holiday periods. This is especially important if the intern will be absent from work for University breaks or other reasons. The intern should clearly understand his/her assigned responsibilities and the delineated limits. This information should be in writing—at least one copy for the employing company and one for the intern.

The intern may be exposed to sensitive and confidential material. The utmost discretion is required when discussing information regarding the activities of the employing company. The intern may be held legally liable for violations of company confidentiality.