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. The Internship Director for Psychology is Dr. Mary Camac, firstname.lastname@example.org, office 517 Life Science, office phone 540 375 2474.
Guidelines for Psychology Internships
Students may take up to two Internships for credit (PSYC 316 and 317); one counts as an elective in the Major, and one counts as a General Elective toward graduation. All Internships are taken on a Pass-Fail basis. Students may receive payment from the internship site for work done as a Psychology Intern, but that is not guaranteed. (see Internships Guidelines for a print copy of these requirements)
Student Qualifications: A student may apply for permission to enroll in internship courses if he or she meets the following qualifications:
- 2.00 GPA overall and in psychology
- Demonstrated personal maturity, reliability, and integrity
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 student has primary responsibility for contacting the internship site once the application is approved.
- The last page lists some sites we have used before. Career Planning also has potential sites. See their website: https://www.roanoke.edu/inside/a-z_index/career_services/students/internships
3. 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. Enrollment in a back-up course is strongly recommended!
4. Summer internships are possible, though we strongly encourage doing them during the semester for better contact among the site, student and internship director.
Requirements of the Internship
1. The intern is expected to spend a minimum of 120 hours working at the placement site. The hours should be spread over at least 10 weeks.
2. A contract listing learning goals and expected duties must be developed and signed by all parties within the first week of the internship.
3. The intern is also expected to attend meetings with the Internship Director if the internship is done during the regular semester. Most meetings will be group meetings where interns will discuss their experiences.
4. The intern will complete written assignments made by the Internship Director. These include a journal kept during the internship and a reflection paper submitted at the end of the internship.
5. The site supervisor will submit an evaluation of the intern's work. Forms will be provided by the Internship Director. The intern will also submit an evaluation of the site and superviser.
6. Students are required to present a poster at the Showcase of Service-Learning and Internship Experiences. You should be able to answer these questions:
- Can you describe in one sentence what you did?
- What specific skills/knowledge have you gained through your coursework which helped prepare you for this experience?
- What specific skills/knowledge have you gained through this experience which helped you (or will help you) with your coursework?
- Did this experience help you with your career planning? If so, in what way?
- Imagine that you're applying for a job. What specific skills/knowledge did you gain through this experience that you could talk about during a job interview?
Requirements for the Internship Site
Internships sponsored through the psychology department 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 120 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 internship director.
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.