April 24, 2008
Now that I've finished my first year, it's time to find an internship for the summer. In general, many SI students spend the summer working at an internship because it is the best way to get six Practical Engagement Experience (PEP) credits all at once (a minimum of six is required for graduation). Some students get their PEP credits through coursework or smaller internships during the school year. I have decided to do the latter.
You see, there are two classes through which internships can be magically turned into PEP credit (See http://www.si.umich.edu/outreach/pep.htm for details). Long story short, one can be completed in Fall for a summer internship, while the other must be completed in Spring/Summer, complete with Spring/Summer tuition. However, the Fall class is only available for full-time internships.
I have about 101 projects I would like to accomplish this summer, very few-if any-are mentored. Therefore, I have decided to get all of my PEP credit from coursework and pursue an internship without academic credit. This gives me the whole summer to find something, part-time or full-time for four months or two, whatever works.
Right now I'm waiting on a dream gig over at the Ypsilanti District Library. Though a number of local public libraries are hiring interns this summer (and I have applied, believe you me), when a professor told me she could set me up to talk with the Community Liaison in Ypsilanti I jumped at the chance.
It was a great talk, and I really encourage anyone to do the same. If you hear of someone with a job you want, see if you can meet with them. It was a great chance to hear what the job entails and what features make for a good candidate. Also, in talking with her I was able to hear about internship opportunities, meet a number of people in the library and get my name and face in there so that when I turned in my materials the next day they already knew who I was. Also, I was able to talk with them about my interest in a split-time internship between two departments of interest, and meet both department heads. This is what they're talking about when they press the importance of networking.
I'll keep you posted on how this pans out. How exciting! With a part-time internship I will still have time to work on my individual projects (at my own pace) while also getting mentored experience for next year!
April 18, 2008
One down, One to Go!
What a busy semester! I've been so negligent of blogging duties!
I have been fortunate. Finals week was very brief for me. Most of my classes were over by the last day of class. I had only one final during finals week (this morning). I think part of the reason for this is that there aren't a lot of actual exams in SI classes (at least not in non-technical areas). For me, a lot of classes end in papers and project presentations. I think it's a nice structure because finals time means bringing everything you've been working on to a close and shining it up all pretty to present to your peers. I'm all about it.
On Tuesday we presented our finished product for SI 623: Outcomes-based Evaluation. This is a qualitative research class with group projects that evaluate new or existing programs for various community organizations, including (but not limited to) local libraries. Groups are allowed to seek out their own project if they wish, and so my group set up an evaluation with a local youth center. The result was an extraordinary experience both for us and for our client. They were wonderful people to work with (I am considering some volunteer work with them this summer) and our evaluation came at just the right time for them. Our contact from the Center came to our presentation on Tuesday and enthusiastically told the class how useful our work had been and the changes it had already enacted in their organization.
It was an incredibly valuable experience, and worth sharing because it represents one of my favorite features of SI projects, which is the possibility of working with real clients who can really benefit from our assistance (it's the non-profit lover in me). Not only did our group learn about the realities of running an outcomes-based evaluation, but in doing so it was also able to benefit a local organization that could not otherwise afford such assistance. Yay us.