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UM Internship Experience Program teaches students how to work remotely

The University of Mississippi Internship Experience Program is offering an eight-week course for the fall semester.

The course is for students of any major who are wanting to learn skills that employers are looking for after graduation.

“The UM Internship Experience is a cohort program that supports University of Mississippi students wanting to intern in Atlanta, New York, and Washington, D.C.,” said Dr. Kristina Phillips, the associate director of college programs. “In response to COVID-19, we’re considering permanently expanding the program to include remote internships. The benefits of UM students participating in the Internship Experience program include personalized internship search support, access to scholarships towards internship expenses, pre-arranged housing in Atlanta, New York, and Washington, D.C., and networking opportunities with Ole Miss alumni in these cities.”

The program is open to juniors and seniors of all majors. The course is EDHE 320: Internship Exploration and it is a one hour course that will be offered online in the second fall term from Oct. 12 to Nov. 24. 

“Students who may benefit the most are those who may not have established personal networks in these major metropolitan cities and those who want professionals help with the internship search,” Phillips said. “We are really intentional in easing the transition from being an Ole Miss student to being a first-time professional in a major city, and we do a lot of the leg-work on handling the logistics of internships to help students focus on being a good intern. We do the same for remote internships, where we teach students professional skills for the virtual workplace.”

Students that are enrolled in the course will learn how to work remotely from home, yet in a team. They will also learn how to manage their professional time and how to stay on task in a virtual world.

“Remote internships have been an available option for college students for many years,” Phillips said. “However, we’ve seen more remote opportunities become available during the COVID-19 pandemic. The uncertainty of safely hosting interns in-person led many employers to shift their traditional internship programs to a virtual format.”

Doing a remote internship can be just as valuable to students as an in-person internship would. The Internship Experience program helps to confirm that virtual and in-person internships are legitimate and that they provide substantive learning opportunities for students.

“Students participating in remote internships still have to demonstrate good professional skills, such as reporting to work on time, having good time management skills, utilizing technology for effective communication, and working with diverse colleagues,” Phillips said. 

Students who participated in remote internships reported that they still had valuable, hand-on learning opportunities where they helped their companies solve real problems, even while the worked online. 

“Some students transition easily to remote work while others might be more successful in an in-person experience,” Phillips said. “Seasoned career professionals and new professionals alike are having to learn what works best for their work-style preferences and learning to adapt to the ‘new normal’ of remote work. They both have their own unique set of challenges and opportunities.”