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Student Internship Program

Rebecca Sacra

Type of Activity:

  • Independent project

Target Audience:

  • Biology I
  • Gift and Talented Biology I
  • Human Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Advanced Placement Biology II


This is a description of a program created to provide students with internships in a variety of scientific fields. Students research and identify their own internship opportunities. Students keep a daily journal describing their experiences during their 30 hour volunteer internship programs.


In this program, students choose a field of science that interests them and shadow their sponsor; dentist, physician, forest ranger, researcher, midwife, nurse, etc. for 30 hours. They keep bound journals in which they record their thoughts and experiences each day.

When they have completed the required 30 hours, they turn in a typed summary of their internship along with their journal and experiences to the class and discuss what they learned and how it influenced them.

This activity has been successful beyond my wildest dreams! The internship allows students the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge and experience to actual life situations; to see the relevance of what they learn in the classroom; to provide experiences that expose them to science careers; and to instill an appreciation for science and its benefits to man and other animals. The experience of working with a scientist makes students feel good about themselves and gives them the confidence they need to choose science-related careers. Since I began this program, many of my students go on to study science and several now work in science oriented jobs.

Internships also allow for community involvement in the education of our young people and promote a partnership between the schools, businesses and the community. This type of learning is truly instrumental in steering students to choose science careers while it exposes students to the fun of learning. Students with limited interest or ability in science are suddenly turned-on! The relevance of what they have been learning in the classroom is suddenly made clear and, for many, this is the first time they have experienced the transfer of classroom learning to the "real world".

In addition, this activity has been a wonderful boost for students from various backgrounds and with limited ability in science. Because it requires little prior knowledge, an internship provides an opportunity for anyone and everyone, including my Special Education and ESL students, to succeed and excel. Some have reported that the internship helped them mature and grow in confidence because they were allowed to do tasks that required thought and responsibility and for several, summer jobs or part-time employment resulted from their experience with their sponsor.

Teacher's Instructions:

  • Do as little as possible. You don't have the time to do lesson plans, teach, grade papers and find each of your students a place to intern. Put the responsibility on the student. You will be surprised at what they will come up with.
  • Give them some suggestions for starting points. When I first started this program, I received many groans and looks of dismay. the hardest part was to get the students started. As soon as a few were successful in obtaining places to intern, the enthusiasm grew.
  • Be clear about your expectations. This is a fun way to learn but make sure you have some way of evaluating the internship. (Forms enclosed) There is a an information sheet for the student explaining the requirements, a cover letter for the sponsor, and a teacher's evaluation form used for grading the internship. These are to help you get started. Please feel free to use them as your own or change them to suit your style and manner of teaching and evaluating.
  • The typed summary that is required as part of the internship is kept by the teacher and a classroom notebook is started. As the years go on, it becomes easier for future students because they can use this notebook to get ideas for internships. (You can also weed out the "bad ones" where students either did no have a good experience or did not get enough "hands-on" time.)
  • Enjoy! One of the best parts of this program is hearing and reading about the experiences your students had.

Starting Points:

  1. Parents or relatives working in a scientific field, lab, hospital, university lab, doctor's or dentist's office
  2. University hospital, lab, or research facility
  3. Family doctor
  4. Family dentist or orthodontist
  5. Your pet's veterinarian
  6. Natural history or science museums
  7. Emergency rooms of hospitals
  8. Wards of local hospitals/neonatal, surgical, pediatrics
  9. Forensics labs of the local police department
  10. Local private health care companies or laboratories
  11. Local or national parks
  12. Water treatment plants
  13. Private biological companies
  14. Pharmaceutical companies
  15. Clinics
  16. Zoos

Student Guidelines for Internships:

  1. This is an individual program set up by you with a professional researcher, doctor, veterinarian, hospital, lab, etc.
  2. When establishing the internship, you must give your sponsor (the person who is giving you the internship) three things:
    • letter from me explaining the internship
    • "sponsor's evaluation sheet"
    • stamped addressed envelope. (It should be addressed to me at the school, and you supply the self-addressed envelope).
  3. Your internship must include 30 hours of volunteer service during which you keep a daily journal in a bound notebook of the happenings of each day. At the top of the notes for the day must be the date and hours for each particular time period.
  4. Your notebook should have detailed notes from each day with paragraphs explaining what you did, what you learned and any "human interest" anecdotes of the day. Remember that this does not have to be just scientific material. Tell me something about the people with whom you worked, how you are felling about what you are doing, etc. If someone yells at you or something happens that makes you feel bad, tell me that too. For example, one student had an animal die that he had been caring for at an animal hospital. This really affected him and he filled up a couple of pages of the journal telling about this incident and his reaction to it.
  5. Your notebook must include drawings and 6-8 photographs (at least one photo has to include you). You should also include pamphlets or information sheets distributed at your internship.
  6. You must submit your internship choice to me by:
    When submitting your internship choice, the following information must be given and typed:
    • Your name, date, and period on the upper right hand side.
    • The name, address and phone number of your sponsor on the left hand side.
    • Under the above...How you got the internship and what you expect to do at yourinternship (These can be changed later if necessary).
    • Why you chose this particular internship.
  7. The internship journal is due on:
    Inside the journal's front cover on a separate piece of paper, you must have a one-page typed summary. This summary has to include the following:
    • Your name, date and period on the upper right-hand side.
    • The name, address, and phone number of your sponsor and the place of internship on the left-hand side.
    • Two paragraphs summarizing the internship. One telling what it entailed, what did you get to do, etc. and one giving your perception of the internship.
  8. After you have received your graded journal back from me, you will be expected to give a 10 minute oral presentation to the class detailing your internship experience. At that time, you will pass around your journal and answer questions about the work you did and the concepts and principles you learned.
  9. The internship journal and experience counts for a project grade (10% of your quarter grade). The presentation will count as an additional and separate grade for the quarter.

Letter to Sponsor (example):

(use school letterhead)

Dear Sponsoring Scientist,

Thank you for your willingness to participate in ABC High School's Biology internship program. Your assistance with this important phase of the education of our young people is greatly needed and much appreciated. This program is a requirement in my classes and students receive academic credit for their work. The student is required to spend thirty hours with you and keep a journal of his/her daily activities. At the end of the internship, the student writes a typed summary of his/her experiences and passes it in to me along with the journal.

The student whom you will supervise for thirty hours has indicated an interest in your particular field. As one means for allowing this student to explore this interest further, I require an extensive period of observation in an actual setting. This experience is intended to help the student in his/her understanding of the professional role of a scientist and allows him/her some real life experience where the science they have learned in the classroom is put to use in the "real world". Therefore, I hope you will provide numerous opportunities for this prospective scientist to observe you and your colleagues at work and to take part in as many hands-on activities as is feasible.

As part of this program, I am asking that you fill in an evaluation form at the end of the internship and return it to me at the address indicated on the form. This is a confidential evaluation between just you and me and is not shown to the student. I use the evaluation along with the journal and summary to assign a grade for the internship.

As partners in educating this student, in the true sense of the word, again I thank you. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Your Name
Biology Teacher
ABC High School
Phone Number


(Please print all information)

Student's Name:
Sponsoring Scientist's Name:
Address of Internship:
Field of Internship (pediatrics, animal medicine, etc.):

0 = No comment, no opportunity to observe
1 = Generally weak
2 = Below average
3 = Average
4 = Above Average
5 = Strong

  • Planning and preparation for the internship:
  • 0 1 2 3 4 5
  • Punctuality:
  • 0 1 2 3 4 5
  • Initiative:
  • 0 1 2 3 4 5
  • Responsibility:
  • 0 1 2 3 4 5
  • Helpfulness:
  • 0 1 2 3 4 5
  • Interest in learning:
  • 0 1 2 3 4 5
  • Ability to apply knowledge:
  • 0 1 2 3 4 5
  • Interpersonal relationship:
  • 0 1 2 3 4 5
  • Conscientious:
  • 0 1 2 3 4 5
  • Organization:
  • 0 1 2 3 4 5

    Additional comments:
    Signature of evaluator:
    Note: Please return this form directly to "Your Name", "School Address"


    Class period:
    Place of Internship:

    30 Hrs. Completed16
    Bound Journal6
    Date for each entry6
    Time for each entry6
    Journal entries30
    Drawings, pamphlets, extras4
    Typed summary16
    Sponsor's evaluation
    (all 5's )
    (mostly 5's w/few 4's)
    (mostly 4's w/some 5's)
    (mostly 3's w/some 4's)
    (mostly 3's w/some lower)
    10 Super!
    8 Satisfactory +
    6 Satisfactory
    4 Satisfactory -
    0 Unsatisfactory


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