Subject: Internships
From: Dan Lupo <Dan_Lupo -at- CCMAIL -dot- US -dot- DELL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 09:56:47 CST

ROBERT SIDMAN <sidmanr -at- MCHFMCCM -dot- NAVY -dot- MIL> claimed the following about
writing internships:

If an internship is required for graduation, and it should be, there is no
requirement the employer pays the student. The student is there part-time
for a limited length of time to get experience, to see the real world (as
it were), to see how actual procedures vary/do not vary from what is being
tought in ivory towers.

What I found in my doctoral research of six professional writing interns is
a high correlation between an intern's success in writing for the workplace
and that intern's ability to feel part of the organization.

I would argue, therefore, that paid internships would enhance an intern's
feeling of belonging to the organization and would increase his or her
chances of success.

And if it is "real world" experience the intern seeks, why not pay them as
most workers in the real world are paid? If the internship offers projects
whose outcome is meaningful to the organization (and ALL internships should
offer interns such projects), why not compensate the intern accordingly?

Internships should be seen not _merely_ as the peek into the real world
described by Robert Sidman. We need to start viewing internships as a
necessary, integral, vitally important step in the process of educating
professional writing students to shift from academic to workplace contexts.
Part of that transition involves shifting from doing writing for a grade to
doing writing for money.

Moreover, (a more practical argument) in at least two instances in my
study, the demands of working a paying job, going to school, and putting in
X hours at an unpaid internship had a negative effect on the intern's

Let us view interns as the entry-level professionals that they are:
corporate sponsors--pay your writing interns; interns--demand paid

Dan Lupo

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