Interning for course credit

    Along with testing their academic interests on-campus, students can test their career interests off-campus with the help of the Academic Internship Program.

    Since 1976, AIP has provided UCSD students with the opportunity to acquire valuable work experience in a field related to their academic and career interests. What makes AIP different from other internship programs is that it allows students to work while contributing to their academic progress.

    “”AIP provides students the opportunity to get credit for doing an academic internship. This has the obvious benefit of helping students earn units toward graduation while getting ‘real world’ experience,”” said Academic Internship Counselor Tricia Taylor. “”Also, many students are not aware that to do internships in some organizations or industries such as radio, television and brokerage firms, they are required to receive college credit.””

    Upon hearing the word internship, many would associate it with busy work that is not challenging.

    “”I think a lot of internships are just companies trying to get credit for helping young people get experience, but instead of real experience, they make you do office work like faxing and stapling,”” said Revelle College freshman Stephanie Tsukamoto.

    However, to list an internship, a company must make sure that the responsibilities of the student intern be linked to academic studies, that students are not permitted to participate in telemarketing or cold-calling of any kind, and that general office duties must be kept to a minimum.

    There are various ways students can find information linked with AIP.

    “”A student can find an internship on their own using Career Services or other resources, and if the internship meets AIP’s requirements, a counselor will help the student enroll for credit,”” Taylor said.

    After seeing a counselor, one needs to find a faculty advisor who has expertise relevant to the internship, and preferably one from whom he has taken at least one upper-division course to supervise his work.

    AIP also caters to the needs of students on a more personal level to make sure that the prospective interns find internships that suit their desires.

    “”We also work with students one-on-one to place them in an internship related to their interests and career goals,”” Taylor said.

    Internships are available year-round, but summer seems to be a very popular quarter to intern.

    Hoping to secure a summer internship, Revelle College junior David Brena said, “”I am applying for an internship this summer because I want to do something productive and want to gain experience.””

    Another reason students seek internships are for the travel opportunities. “”AIP’s Washington, D.C. and London programs provide students with exciting opportunities to intern in the nation’s capitol or abroad,”” Taylor said.

    This concept is definitely encouraging students to apply for internships. Brena said, “”I am also applying because I am hoping to travel, and I want to go to London.””

    There are also the “”out of town”” internships, where students can work for companies all across the nation. In the past, students have gone to work with “”The Late Show with David Letterman”” in New York, IBM in Texas, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the state capital in Sacramento, Calif. It is also possible for students to arrange an internship in their hometown.

    Besides practical experience, internships are a definite plus on a resume when applying for a real job.

    “”I want an internship so that I can offer an employer more than just the theories I have learned at UCSD,”” said Thurgood Marshall College senior Brandy Cline.

    Internships also help students pursue careers by providing them with professional contacts. Along with everything students gain from participating in the program, AIP itself is also rewarding students for their ambition.

    “”The AIP recently established a new way to recognize some of the exceptional students interning through our program by creating the Intern of the Quarter award,”” said Taylor. “”Our goal is to eventually choose one Intern of the Quarter from each of the colleges.””

    Last quarter’s recipient of the first award was Kathryn Briney of Earl Warren College, who worked at AM Advertising in San Diego last summer. Her duties included editing advertising copy, writing articles and press releases, supervising television and radio shoots and organizing client presentations.

    In her interview with AIP, she said her highlights were, “”Golden Acorn, IKEA and Mossy commercial filming, the opportunity to write and publish an industry article on new production technology, and being offered a position with the company.””

    To be eligible to apply, one needs to have completed 90 units, at least two upper-division courses and have at least a 2.5 GPA (3.0 for law firms and medical labs). Transfer students must have completed two quarters full-time at UCSD prior to the date of application. Deadlines and other information can be found on the AIP Web site at

    Briney advises: “”This type of experience is entirely what you make of it. The more effort you put in and the more responsibility you ask for, the more you will learn and grow. Ask questions, be curious and always give 110 percent.””

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