1. The study explored the experiences of engineering student interns and perceptions of internship supervisors.
2. Students reported varying levels of learning about how a company works and how to work with others in a professional environment as the results of their internships.
3. Both students and supervisors would benefit from more formal preparation or training prior to the start of an internship, and educational institutions and companies should collaborate to better understand each other's goals.
The article "Student internship experiences: learning about the workplace" by Zehr and Korte explores the experiences of engineering student interns and their supervisors. The study uses a qualitative design grounded in theories of learning and socialization to investigate internships as a complex social phenomenon.
The authors found that students reported varying levels of learning about how a company works and how to work with others in a professional environment as the results of their internships. However, they did not look for connections between the classroom and the workplace, making it difficult to apply skills from one setting to the other. Supervisors received very little training, if any, prior to supervising interns. They were unsure how much work students could handle during an internship and perceived that making sure students had a positive experience was part of their role. In addition, internship goals for companies and educational institutions did not necessarily align.
The article provides valuable insights into the challenges faced by both students and supervisors during internships. However, there are some potential biases in the study that need to be considered. For example, the sample size is relatively small (24 engineering student interns and 10 internship supervisors), which may limit the generalizability of the findings. Additionally, the study only focuses on engineering students, so it is unclear whether these findings would apply to other fields.
Furthermore, while the authors suggest that both students and supervisors would benefit from more formal preparation or training prior to starting an internship, they do not provide evidence for this claim or explore potential counterarguments. It is also unclear what specific types of training would be most effective in improving student outcomes during internships.
Overall, while this article provides valuable insights into student internship experiences in engineering fields, it is important to consider its limitations and potential biases when interpreting its findings. Further research is needed to explore these issues in more depth across different fields of study.