The Evolution of the Internship is a fascinating article that traces the roots of interns back to the 11th Century Guild System, when apprentices learned a trade by working with experienced workers. In 1906, the first academic internship was offered but it took nearly a hundred years to become a common, if not mandatory, requirement for college students. In 1980, only 3% of college students completed an internship before graduation – by 1999 that number was up to over 80%. Today’s internships continue to evolve to include paid positions and virtual and remote opportunities. What hasn’t changed is the irreplaceable value of experience in action. Students are completely immersed in the “real-world” and are thus able to make better choices about their long-term goals and eventual success in the workplace.
In addition to program specific internships, SPS is an active participant in Boise State’s Work U program. Work U provides three upper division credits toward your degree, while you gain hands-on experience working 10 hours a week and meeting for 75 minutes per week with a Career Advisor. Work U vets and posts all opportunities to ensure you are not a glorified coffee runner but are actually working on meaningful projects that will equip you for the future.
Criminal Justice has a robust internship program that includes placement with entities spanning a variety of legal and social institutions – attorneys, legal services, private investigations, federal internships and a number of police departments. Students have worked at the Boise Police Department, Caldwell Police Department, Nampa Police Department, and Idaho State Police. The experience these students gained includes crime prevention, detective work, records divisions, and patrol functions.
Students have also been involved with the Ada County Juvenile Court Services and the Idaho Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Department. These two entities introduce the students to the role of corrections and the many aspects it involves. Activities like client intake, client meetings, field work check-ins, family and services coordination, working with schools, and understanding the interconnection of these services.
Any time people interact, there is potential for differences to arise. In many cases, this can be positive, bringing diverse issues to the table. This is why Conflict Management students are often used as conference breakout or meeting facilitators. These experiences have included the 2019 Rotary Peace Institute and the Idaho Department of Education’s Transition Institute.
Boise State is also in the process of creating a Conflict Management Student Resource within residence life. This program will provide mediation, facilitated conversations and conflict coaching to students, Residential Advisors and Residential Directors. Conflict Management students will work under the supervision of trained mediators to provide these services.
Student internships have varied from Ada County Procurement to the U.S. Senate, from the Department of Homeland Security to the National Security Agency’s headquarters in Maryland. Students have worked up policy briefs interning for Governors Little and Otter, researched legislation for Idaho State Legislators, advocated for tenants at the Intermountain Fair Housing Council and participated in a number of political campaigns, both Democrat and Republican. The School of Public Service works with the Idaho Legislature to provide a variety of internships during the legislative session, again, both for Democrats and Republicans.