After completing four years of my PhD in Art and Visual Culture at Western University I began an eight-month internship in Student Experience as a member of the Experiential Learning team. Working under the supervision of the Undergraduate Experiential Learning Developer, and in consultation with the EL team, I helped support, promote, and grow an internship program for Arts & Humanities undergraduate students. I was accepted into the Graduate Student Internship Program as part of a pilot team of interns working within the Student Learning & Engagement pillar of Western Student Experience. This opportunity combined both my desire to gain practical work experience, apply the skills I have acquired during my studies while expanding my professional network with an exciting project I am passionate about. I feel very strongly that all students should have access to Experiential Learning to improve their employability upon graduation.
We worked rigorously on determining my learning outcomes to ensure they reflected the experience and skill-set I wanted to build during my internship.
I received thorough and supportive mentorship from my supervisor and team mates. We worked rigorously on determining my learning outcomes to ensure they reflected the experience and skill-set I wanted to build during my internship. I was encouraged to indicate and articulate my transferrable skills and consider how I would reflect this experience on my resume and to future employers.
This internship has expanded my professional network both here at Western and within the broader London community. It taught me how to demonstrate professionalism and comfortably integrate into office culture. This internship provided me with training and access to technology and data tracking not otherwise used in my research. Importantly, this opportunity provided me with a break from my research and dissertation writing so that I could bring fresh perspective and a renewed sense of academic determination necessary to complete my PhD.
My time as part of the Experiential Learning Team in Student Experience was immensely fulfilling. I strengthened my social connectedness by developing a meaningful professional network while exercising the skills learned in the classroom and through my research. Graduate students should participate in internships because they provide a much needed break from the intensity of doing research and writing while gaining practical, professional experience that translates to securing a job upon graduation - all while earning an income!
I look forward to completing my PhD at Western and applying the skills I have developed during my internship in order to secure a meaningful career that allows me to thrive.