What is the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Graduate School Internship?
The objective of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Graduate School Internship is to connect undergraduates with faculty and veteran graduate students in their field of study to explore those unique aspects of graduate study that make it distinct from the undergraduate experience (e.g., conducting research, writing for scholarly audiences, participating in seminars, serving as teaching and research assistants, publishing articles in professional journals, becoming members of scholarly organizations and learned societies, preparing for an academic or professional career, etc.). In most cases the intern will work primarily with the graduate mentor and secondarily with a faculty supervisor.
Internship projects, assignments and tasks are determined through negotiation between students and faculty supervisors and/or graduate student mentors; internship contracts ensure that there is both structure to and accountability for the experience.
For more information on how to become a mentor visit: http://moody.utexas.edu/ie/mentors
For more information on how to become an intern visit: http://moody.utexas.edu/ie/interns
Mentoring & The Internship
During my time at UT, I mentored two outstanding undergraduate History students interested in pursuing graduate studies after the completion of their BA degrees. These students demonstrated extraordinary promise and passion for their studies. As a mentor, I was responsible for designing a semester-long program (which looked a lot like an independent study course) that introduced students to graduate studies and graduate student life. Being a mentor is an extremely rewarding experience and also allows graduate students to gain much needed teaching experience.
In designing the Internship program, I paid particular attention to the individual interests of the students, their weaknesses, and their strong points in order to maximize the benefit of the program. I also made sure to consistently ask for student feedback, ensuring the program was collaborative. The amount of work and the types of assignments required are completely up to the mentor. Since history is a discipline that values reading and writing, I knew these would be necessary parts of the assignments and activities. Each week we explored a different topic of graduate studies and graduate student life through an assignment and a planned activity. For instance, early in the program, I asked my student to read Randolph Starn’s article “The Early Modern Muddle,” and had them write a short definition of what “early modern” meant. That week when we met, we discussed the article, her definition, and the ways in which history is much more malleable at the graduate level than at the undergraduate level. Since this was an article I read both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student, I knew it would be accessible yet challenging enough to give my student an understanding of what graduate reading can be like. Additionally, it addressed one of the biggest differences between history at an undergraduate and a graduate level- history can be more subjective than it appears. Other activities included attending a graduate seminar, attending a graduate student conference, meeting with a graduate student reading group, and conducting primary source exercises at the Harry Ransom Center.
For the undergraduate student, the benefits were multifold. Students create a one-on-one relationship with a graduate student that is often hard to find at UT; students gain a better understanding of what graduate school is really like and if this is the life for them; students refine skills necessary to their particular fields; and finally, students receive excellent advice from their mentors about how to best succeed in their field. For me as the mentor, it was an equally as enriching experience. Through working with these two students, I had practice designing a course, dealing with unforeseen challenges with that course design, and teaching a student in a variety of ways. Additionally, it gave me a better sense of exactly what graduate students should be doing and what our purpose is to the overall university community and academia. Most importantly, it has been an incredible experience to watch these students become inspired, find their passions, and successfully work towards their goals.
One of my students, Victoria, recently wrote about her experience in the IE Pre-Grad Internship: http://www.ut-ie.com/t-z/victoria_schwartz.html
The syllabi and a few exercises I developed for the IE Pre-Graduate Internship can be found on my Resources page.