Photo by Nina Bayatti/The Gazelle
One of The Gazelle’s opinion pieces from last week gave an example
of a beneficial and diversified experience with an NYUAD on-campus internship.
The important issue that should be addressed here is if it is always the case that on-campus interns play the role of the mini-professionals, or if they can end up acting as personal assistants to the on-campus offices’ employees, mainly performing technical administrative tasks as opposed to gaining a learning experience.
According to Hazel Raja, Director of the Career Development Center, on-campus internships aim to give first-year students, including students without previous work backgrounds, the chance to experience a professional setting and learn the basics of work ethics and responsibility in a student-friendly environment. There are internships offered in almost every campus office, from Global Education and the Career Development Center to IT Services and the Athletic Department.
Prior to the posting of internship positions on CareerNet, on-campus employers are carefully advised by the Career Development Center about the primary goals of on-campus internships. Raja outlined the main requirements that employers must meet to offer an internship opportunity.
“The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom,” Raja said.
I think that the important part of a successful on-campus internship structure is to maintain a healthy proportion between the ratio of student interns and the employers in each office. In this case, the interns will have more responsibility and feel more encouraged to be part of the office, gaining a sense that their work contributes to the department’s overall goals. When the amount of interns equals or exceeds the number of employees, the interns often do repetitive work that does not significantly develop their intellectual capacity, such as printing, scanning, copying, organizing paper, proofreading the same documents several times, cleaning the storage and more.
Although one might argue that administrative tasks are a component of all the jobs, there is a significant financial factor involved that should discourage on-campus employers from limiting students to only technical routines. As oppose to the majority of the American universities where the on-campus internships are often paid or students can get academic credit, in NYUAD this is not the case. The on-campus and off-campus internships are unpaid and there is no option of receiving academic credit. This is why it is especially important to provide students with important duties and responsibilities and let them conduct specific projects under the attentive guidance of a supervisor. This focused learning and self-growth approach will motivate students and train them for future off-campus opportunities, following the vision that CDC established when creating on-campus internship opportunities for students.
Daria Karaulova is news editor. Email her at email@example.com.