Internships are designed to provide students with practical experience in work settings where their knowledge of psychology is applied. Interns serve in community agencies, schools, hospitals, clinics, businesses and other similar organizations. Interns meet regularly throughout the semester with the faculty member directing the program in order to share their experiences. A description of current placement sites is available from the Internship Director, Dr. Jan Lynch.
Guidelines for Psychology Internships
Students may take two Internships (PSYC 316 and 317); one counts as an elective in the Major, and one counts as a General Elective. All Internships are taken on a Pass-Fail basis. Students may participate in an Internship as Juniors or Seniors. Students may not receive remuneration for work done as a Psychology Intern.
Student Qualifications: A student may apply for permission to enroll in internship courses if he or she meets the following qualifications:1. Minimum Requirements
- Psychology major or Human Development Concentration must be declared
- Junior or senior standing (rising Juniors may apply)
- 2.00 GPA overall
- 2.50 GPA in psychology
2. Course Record
Completion of or current enrollment in courses that are relevant to the proposed internship.
3. Demonstrated Personal Maturity, Reliability, and Integrity
The student's records will be checked by the Internship Director for violations of academic integrity and the student conduct code. Faculty who are acquainted with the student will provide oral recommendations in a department meeting in which the student's application is reviewed.
Procedure for Enrolling in the Internship Courses
1. In order to enroll in internship the student must:
- complete the Application for Internship which is presented to the psychology faculty.
- obtain approval from the psychology faculty.
- be accepted at an internship placement site.
2. The following process of applying for an internship should be initiated by the student at least one month before pre-registration/registration to insure that the process can be completed on time and that the placement site is available.
- If the student meets the minimum requirements for internship, then he or she should discuss possible placements with the Internship Director.
- The student will complete an application form, which is then submitted by the Internship Director to the psychology faculty.
- After approval by the psychology faculty, the student may contact one or more internship placement sites and initiate the process of obtaining acceptance at the site.
- Enrollment in internship is done through the Department Chair. The Internship Director will submit the student's approved application, a description of the arranged internship, and the internship supervisor's name to the Department Chair no later than the end of the Add period for each term. If the student needs the internship in order to be a full-time student and is receiving financial aid, enrollment must be completed before the beginning of the term.
Requirements of the Internship
1. The intern is expected to spend a minimum of 100 hours working at the placement site. The hours must be spread over at least 10 weeks. 2. The intern is also expected to attend an Integrating Seminar led by the Internship Director. The seminar will meet for at least 10 hours during the semester. Interns will discuss their experiences and will learn about professional ethics and conduct. 3. The intern will complete written assignments made by the Internship Director (e.g., a journal recording activities of the placement site). 4. The site supervisor will submit an evaluation of the intern's work. Forms will be provided by the Internship Director.
Evaluation of the Internship
The Internship Director will assign a grade of "Pass" or "Fail" for internship. The grade will be based on an evaluation of the student's work at the placement site as reflected in the supervisor's evaluation, the intern's written work, and the intern's participation in the Integrating Seminar. Criteria for Internship Placement Sites 1. Internships sponsored through the psychology department may be completed at several locations in the Roanoke Valley. These settings must meet the criteria listed below:
- The primary activities for the intern in the setting involve applied psychology. This typically includes application of research methods, measurement skills, counseling skills, or clinical methods.
- The setting affords the student opportunity to use knowledge learned in psychology courses in the internship activities.
- The setting is similar to those in which students might reasonably expect to find employment after attaining either the B.A. with a major in psychology or the M.A. in psychology.
- The setting provides a minimum of 100 hours of on-site work which can be spread out over 10 weeks.
- At least one site supervisor is available to provide a written evaluation of the intern's work.
Students may propose new internship settings to the psychology faculty. A member of the faculty will then investigate and determine whether the proposed setting meets the above criteria. In cases in which a proposed internship setting does not clearly meet criteria a, b, and/or c, the faculty will refer to the descriptions of the Divisions within the American Psychological Association in judging the appropriateness of the proposed site.
Placement Sites for recent Psychology Interns include the following:
- Conflict Resolution Center
- Bethany Hall
- Roanoke City Social Services
- Mill Mountain Zoo
- Salem Montessori School
- Children's Trust
- Robertson Marketing
- Easter Seals
- Advance Auto
- Blue Ridge Autism Center
- Hopetree Family Services
- Gus Mitchell School
- Total Life Counseling
- Turning Points Battered Women's Shelter
- Roanoke College Development Office
- Roanoke College Student Services
- Roanoke College Community Programs and Special Events
- Planned Parenthood
- West End Center for Youth
- Western Virginia Regional Jail
- Roanoke United Methodist Home
- Snyder Nursing Home
- Brandon Oaks Retirement Community
- Adult Day Care, VA Medical Center
- Richfield Retirement
- Minnick Education Center
- Speech and Language Pathology, Lewis Gale Hospital
- East Mental Health
- Professional Therapies of Roanoke
- Roanoke City Social Services
Comments from recent interns include the following:
- "It was such a learning experience, not only through observation but also real hands-on. It was very useful in helping me learn about real applications of psychology."
- "The internship gave me a wealth of examples of careers in psychology. It reinforced my desire to work with children in a helping profession."
- "I think everyone should do an internship. The 'real world' is a lot different than college. Why not have a head start?'
- "This internship was probably the best thing I did at college. It was certainly the most fun and rewarding. I would recommend an internship for anyone who really wants to know more about what they think they want to do. It could make a big difference in your future."
- "It was a great opportunity to try out a possible career before you are actually in the real world. My internship helped me reevaluate my career choice and I realized that another career path would be more rewarding. I'm glad I had a chance to discover this while I was still in college."
Value of Internships
Internships are recommended for students who plan to seek employment with their Bachelor of Arts degree. According to the recent article, "How Do I Maximize My Chances of Getting a Good Job with an Undergraduate Psychology Degree?" (Morgan & Korschgen, 1998, Eye on Psi Chi, 3(1), pp 27-28):
"Internships enable you to gain relevant work experience before you graduate, they provide you with employers who are often willing to give you strong recommendations, and they enable you to think through your career options and learn about the atmosphere of a work environment. ... Overall, they enhance your marketability. We know of many employers who will not even consider a recent graduate for employment unless she or he has had an internship while they were an undergraduate"
Internships are also recommended for students who plan to pursue a Master's degree in counseling psychology, social work, industrial-organizational psychology, human resource management, or any area of human development. Your application to graduate school will be enhanced if you can demonstrate that you have knowledge of and commitment to the field you plan to enter.