Benefits of Internships

Direct and Indirect Learning

  • Research experience provides hands-on-learning of STEM-focused skills.
  • Research exposure provides direct experience with state-of-the-art STEM questions.
  • A research experience can sharpen the focus of students who are already interested in a STEM career.
  • Early research experience can be an entry point for future undergraduate research opportunities.
  • Good mentoring teaches life skills like critical thinking, responsibility, time management, and assertiveness.
  • A good research mentor provides valuable coaching, support and feedback in developing future science scholars.

The Student Perspective

Impact of a WISP Internship (2014)

  • 83% of the interns indicated that the internship research experience met or exceeded their expectations
  • 83% felt that a major in science, math or engineering was likely
  • 94% will seek out another research experience
  • 74% plan to keep in touch with their sponsor or assistant sponsor
  • 88% would recommend a WISP internship to an incoming first-year woman

I strongly believe that if it were not for that internship, I would never have had the incentive to continue to study science.

Most Challenging Aspects of a WISP Internship

  • Managing the time commitment
  • Uncertainty about meeting the expectations of mentors
  • Being humble and asking for help when needed

The most frustrating aspect was time management, trying to balance working on the internship with schoolwork... But it was definitely worth it!

Feeling like I wasn't doing anything at all important for the department: I couldn't give back nearly what they were giving me.

Most Rewarding Aspects of a WISP Internship

  • Getting to know faculty
  • Gaining hands-on research experience
  • Exploring possible career paths
  • Investigating an unfamiliar field in the sciences

Becoming familiar with techniques that were completely new to me. It gave me confidence in my own skills

Working closely with someone who instructed but didn't criticize. This also helped me realize that real lab research doesn't resemble the graded and methodical work in a class lab

The Faculty Mentor Perspective

Faculty Perspective on WISP Internships (2014)

  • 88% said the quality of their intern's work in the lab met or exceeded expectations
  • 96% said the quality of their intern's work on her science poster met or exceeded expectations
  • 87% rated their overall experience as a WISP sponsor as positive or very positive
  • 91% asked their interns to continue working after the WISP internship concluded

Most Positive Aspects of Being a WISP Internship Mentor

  • Increased understanding of first- and/or second-year students
  • Improved teaching skills
  • Enhanced mentoring skills
  • Provided a fresh perspective on research