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Internships and Opportunities

Internships WMNST 495 or LA 495 

Internships enrich a student’s academic experience by offering the opportunity to apply the academic content of the major in a practical context. The internship is one option for the “experiential learning” component of the Women’s Studies major. You can take up to six credit-hours of internship (see below for requirements associated with 3 and 6 hours).

For summer internships: Please note that a summer internship, whether paid or unpaid, will require registering for a summer course, and that tuition be paid for those credits (for per-credit costs, see summer tuition.) Penn State does not permit registering in the fall for internship work completed during the summer.

Internships Information and Application Packet

How to find an internship: your first stops.  Finding an internship takes some searching and persistence.  Word-of-mouth and asking friends are tried and true methods.  But Penn State has more efficient and comprehensive assistance for you. Check out:

  • The University’s Student Affairs Division job and internship search site, or Career Resource Center;
  • The College of the Liberal Arts’ Career Enrichment Network (CEN), which also has a database of opportunities, and also advisors to assist Liberal Arts majors;
  • Nittany Lion Careers, which is Penn State’s single-system recruiting platform for all students, alumni and employers.

 

See some specific suggestions related to WGSS interests for a (noncomprehensive) spreadsheet of advocacy, nonprofit and governmental organizations that have a long history of offering both semester and summer internships.  Also included are several websites offering student summer housing.

GPA. To be eligible for internship credit, Penn State Women’s Studies must hold a GPA of 3.0 or better at the time of application. 

Departmental Approval and Registration.  Registration for WMNST 495 is not possible over LionPath, as it requires departmental approval through the director of Undergraduate Programs.  See process instructions below.

Summer Internships. An internship can be held during the academic year or during the summer.  Please note that a summer internship, whether paid or unpaid, will require registering for a summer course, and that tuition be paid for those credits (for per-credit costs, see summer tuition.)  Penn State does not permit registering in the fall for internship work completed during the summer.

 

*LA495 vs. WMNST495In order to receive credit in Women’s Studies, you need to find an internship that relates in some way to your feminist curriculum.  And most majors do.  If you land an internship that does not seem directly related, you can work with a faculty director and/or with the director of the department’s undergraduate programs to work out learning objectives and written work that would allow that internship to qualify. Otherwise, you can register for LA495, the course name for internships that are not related to your major—but that you want to do anyway!

                     

Number of Credits. Students can earn a maximum of 6 credits per internship, according to the following scale:

Fall/Spring Semesters

Credits

 Minimum work hours per week*

 

3

7

 

6

14

Summer Semester :

Credits

Minimum work hours per week*

(6-week session)

3

14

 

6

28


Written Component. Internship papers or journals are assigned by a faculty internship director (see below) must be well-reasoned and go beyond mere descriptions or chronologies of internship activities. The written component of the internship must include critical analyses of specific learning objectives related to the work assignment, as well as an overall assessment of the internship experience. (N.B. If the faculty internship director assigns a non-traditional written component, such as a journal, specific parameters and requirements must be detailed on the “Objectives” section of the form).                 

The length of the internship paper and the number of learning objectives will vary from internship to internship, but the following is a general guideline:

Credits

Number of objectives

Minimum paper length

3

2

             2500 words

6

3

             5000 words

Word counts do not include title page, works cited section or any reference appendices. Written work is due on the final day of regular term classes, or during exam period, as per student-faculty agreement.  in the approval form. for the term in which the student is completing the internship. Submission extensions are the student’s responsibility in accordance with University policies on deferred grades.


Approval and registration process. Formal approval is required prior to registering for WMNST 495 and LA 495. Students should contact the Undergraduate Director, Dr. Wagner-Lawlor  jaw55@psu.edu, in order to discuss internship responsibilities and requirements. and to be registered for internship credits. The application form requires information from yourself, from your field supervisor, and from a faculty internship director.

Faculty internship director. In addition to your field supervisor, you will have a Penn State faculty internship director. This director should be a faculty member (including teaching faculty) in WGSS; faculty affiliates are also permissible. This faculty member is the one who assigns you written work and any accompanying reading, and who will assign you a final grade at the end. If you cannot locate a faculty internship director, then the department’s Undergraduate Director can perform that role.

  • Attach an unofficial transcript to this paperwork so your eligibility for an internship can be verified.
  • Once you have signatures from your field supervisor and faculty director, sign the documents yourself and then deliver a hard or electronic copy to the Undergraduate Director, who will submit the application. Once the UG Director submits the forms, you should see your registration within 48 hours.

Internships Information and Application Packet


Independent Study WMNST 496

Students pursue formal independent studies for a variety of reasons. In many cases, students wish to take advantage of faculty knowledge or expertise in a particular area for which there are no regularly-scheduled courses. In other cases, students are interested in exploring an issue in depth and from a feminist standpoint as a potential career, or graduate school, path and/or in the absence of Women’s Studies faculty and course-work in that field here at Penn State. Many students also earn independent study credit for their work on an honor’s thesis with a faculty member. Independent study, in other words, is an opportunity to explore topics not covered by standard course offerings, or to pursue topics covered in standard courses in much greater depth or from a more specific angle.

Independent Study Packet and Application

Independent study should not be used as a substitute for regularly offered courses--in part because working independently can be much more demanding than ordinary coursework. Students should not undertake independent studies assuming they will automatically receive a “good” or even a passing grade; evaluations will be based on performance, and evaluative standards will be rigorous. In order for an independent study to be approved, the student’s workload must be commensurate with that of other Women’s Studies 400-level courses. Thus, students should anticipate that an independent study will be at least as demanding as a regular 400-level course and be prepared to devote the necessary time and energy to the project.

Students interested in pursuing independent studies should do some preliminary thinking on a specific topic, issue, or question to be examined. Next, they should discuss their ideas with faculty possessing knowledge and expertise in that area, in order to refine the research focus. If a professor agrees to supervise an independent study project, then s/he and the student will negotiate a specific plan of readings, papers, meetings for discussions, and/or other coursework, as well as a standard for evaluating the student’s work. However, an independent study is expected to yield substantive research, which the Women’s Studies Department strongly encourages the professor and student to submit for publication and/or conference presentation if possible.

Formal approval is required prior to registering for WMNST 496. NB: professors are not required to take on independent study projects; most are willing to supervise independent studies, but many have their own guidelines (e.g., the student must have already taken a class with that professor). Students should meet with the Undergraduate Director in order to get assistance identifying an appropriate faculty mentor, to discuss independent study responsibilities and requirements, and to be registered for independent study credits. The online application must be submitted prior to registration for independent study credits.

University guidelines dictate that for each credit of WMNST 496 a student must work 3 hours per week; thus, in order to earn 3 credits of WMNST 496 a student is expected to work 9 hours per week for each of the 15 weeks of a fall/spring semester, or 18 hours per week during a 6-week summer session. Students must register for credits the same semester in which coursework is completed. (For instance, students can-not complete the research for an independent study in the summer and earn the credits in the fall or spring). Students can only count 6 credits of any one independent learning experience towards Women’s Studies degree requirements, even as elective credits.

All independent study coursework is due on the final day of regular classes for the term in which the student is completing the project. No late work will be accepted without prior permission. If an extension is needed it is the student’s responsibility to apply for a deferred grade in accordance with University Policies.

 


Approval and registration process. Formal approval is required prior to registering for WMNST 496.

NB: professors are not required to take on independent study projects; most are willing to supervise independent studies, but many have their own guidelines (e.g., the student must have already taken a class with that professor). Students should meet with the Undergraduate Director in order to get assistance identifying an appropriate faculty mentor, to discuss independent study responsibilities and requirements, and to be registered for independent study credits. The online application must be submitted prior to registration for independent study credits.

Independent Study Packet and Application


Research Assistant WMNST 494

Research Assistantships provide students with the opportunity to earn credit and gain research

experience by assisting with faculty research projects. Many Women’s Studies faculty are engaged in ongoing research. For information on our faculty’s areas of specialization, please consult our departmental directory.

Undergraduate research assistants earn credits by helping a faculty member with various tasks related to their research. In addition, research assistants may be expected to complete assignments and write a paper at the conclusion of their assistantship.

Research Assistant Packet and Application

Students should not undertake a research assistantship assuming they will automatically receive a “good” or even a passing grade; evaluations will be based on performance, and our faculty take their research very seriously, so evaluative standards will be rigorous. RAs are participating in a learning experience; occasional clerical work (such as retrieving materials from the library) may be necessary but should not comprise the RA’s primary duties. Faculty research assistantship directors are expected to serve as mentors to their RAs, to explain the broader functions and implications of their research, and to provide opportunities for presentation of the student’s research as appropriate. In order for a research assistantship to be approved, the student’s workload must be commensurate with that of other 400-level Women’s Studies courses. Thus, students should anticipate that a research assistantship will be at least as demanding as a regular 400-level course and be prepared to devote the necessary time and energy to the project.


Research assistants are selected entirely at the discretion of faculty. If a professor agrees to take on a research assistant, then s/he and the student will negotiate a specific work plan, as well as a standard for evaluating the student’s work. Formal approval is required prior to registering for WMNST 494. Students should meet with the Undergraduate Director in order to discuss research assistantship responsibilities and requirements and to be registered for WMNST 494 credits. The online application must be submitted prior to registration for a research assistantship.

Research Assistant Packet and Application


Teaching Assistantship WMNST 496

Qualified undergraduates, who have previously completed the course and earned a grade of B or higher, may apply to serve as Teaching Assistants, working under the supervision of a faculty mentor to assist with an undergraduate Women’s Studies course. While a teaching assistantship can be a very valuable experience for any student, it is particularly recommended for those who plan to pursue teaching professionally, or those who foresee assuming teaching duties as graduate students. TAs are chosen entirely at the discretion of the faculty mentor, but students should meet with the Undergraduate Director in order to discuss responsibilities and requirements and to be registered for WMNST 496 credits.

Teaching Assistant Packet and Application

Students should not undertake a teaching assistantship assuming they will automatically receive a “good” or even a passing grade; evaluations will be based on performance, and evaluative standards will be rigorous. TAs are participating in a learning experience; occasional clerical work (such as collating or entering grades into the gradebook) may be necessary but should not comprise the TA’s primary duties. Faculty mentors are expected to discuss feminist pedagogy, reading selections, class dynamics, and other relevant issues with their TA. In order for a teaching assistantship to be approved, the student’s workload must be commensurate with that of other 400-level Women’s Studies courses. Thus, students should anticipate that a teaching assistantship will be at least as demanding as a regular 400-level course and be prepared to devote the necessary time and energy to the course.

It is the responsibility of the faculty mentor to outline specific duties, expectations, and evaluative measures before the start of the semester. Undergraduate TAs in WGSS are not permitted to grade other students’ work. TAs are also expected to refer any conflicts or difficult situations involving other students to the faculty mentor immediately. In addition to providing feedback, faculty mentors are expected to meet with TAs at least weekly. TA responsibilities can include assisting with any of the following:

  • Facilitating group discussions and leading in-class activities
  • Managing class resources such as slides, films, transparencies, etc.
  • Developing questions for discussion, quizzes, and exams
  • Identifying extracurricular events and activities related to the course
  • Maintaining the course website and managing communications to students
  • Preparing research bibliographies and suggested project lists
  • Maintaining a weekly journal of insights, questions, and class observations

University guidelines dictate that for each credit of WMNST 496 a student must work 3 hours per week; thus, in or-der to earn 3 credits of WMNST 496 a student is expected to work a minimum of 9 hours per week for each of the 15 weeks of a fall/spring semester, or 18 hours per week during a 6-week summer session. (Time spent attending class, reading, or performing other duties directly related to assisting with the course count toward this total. Both TA and faculty mentor should anticipate possible peaks and valleys in scheduling based on the course syllabus and discuss potential time conflicts, and possible adjustments to workload and duties, at the beginning of the semester.) Students must register for credits the same semester in which they serve as a TA. (For instance, students cannot complete the teaching assistantship in the summer and earn the credits in the fall or spring). Undergraduate TAs are not paid for their services but earn 3 credits of WMNST 496, which may be applied toward the requirements for the WGSS major or minor. The 3-credit TA experience may be used to fulfill the upper level social sciences requirement in either the minor or the major and may also be used to fulfill the related experience requirement in the major. Students can count only 6 credits of any one independent learning experience towards WGSS degree requirements, even as elective credits. All coursework assigned by the faculty mentor is due by the final day of regular classes for the term in which the student is completing the assistantship. No late work will be accepted without prior permission. The online application must be submitted prior to registration for a teaching assistantship.

Teaching Assistant Packet and Application