Biology 495

BIOL 495
Internship in Biology

Catalog Entry

BIOL 495
Internship in Biology
Credit Hours: (1-6)

Prerequisite: A grade of "C" or better in sixteen credit hours of Biology or other laboratory science, 2.5 or higher GPA in Biology courses, and permission of the department chair.

Application of skills and concepts learned in the classroom and laboratory in a real world situations through full- or part-time placement in a professional setting with a company, or organization, or research faculty doing work in some area of biology. Student will be supervised by both the internship site personnel and by a biology faculty member. A total of 6 credit hours of BIOL 491, 492 and 495 may be applied to the biology major.

Detailed Description of Content of Course

The internship provides an opportunity to apply concepts and skills learned in the classroom and laboratory in a real world setting. Different internship situations will vary in the detailed concepts and skills applied. Emphasis will be on understanding the application of biology to real life questions and problems.

Internship placement sites will be selected by the student and approved by the Office of Experiential Learning. Generally sites with an environmental emphasis will include environmental testing and consulting firms, environmental advocacy organizations, governmental planning offices, private landtrust organizations, state and federal forest services, and local, state and federal park services. Sites with a biotechnology emphasis will include biotechnology research organizations, biotechnology testing laboratories, clinical laboratories, and microbiological testing laboratories. Students may also do an internship by subcontracting under a faculty member doing consulting work.  This listing is not intended to exclude other appropriate sites which may be identified.

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

A formal arrangement will be arranged by the Department of Biology, the Center for Experiential Learning, and the cooperating internship organization to provide an appropriate internship experience for academic credit. Students must also understand and meet all requirements and expectations set by the university and the internship organization and described in the Student Internship Agreement signed by the student and appropriate university and internship organization representatives. These requirements may include meeting ethical, conduct and dress codes, and meeting requirements for background checks and drug testing, depending on the internship organization.

Students may enroll for 3 1 to 6 credits of internship. Students may enroll more than once for internship credit. Students are expected to work a minimum of 40 hours for each academic credit earned; additional hours of work may be required by the internship organization. Students may be paid or not, depending on the internship organization; payment does not affect academic credit.

Students will be supervised by a biology internship adviser, who will be a faculty member in the department of biology, and by one or more on-site internship advisers. On occasions when students subcontract under faculty doing consulting work, the faculty member will be act as both the on-site and academic adviser.
Students will initiate the internship process by asking an appropriate biology faculty member to be his or her biology internship adviser, and by registering with the Center for Experiential Learning. With the help of his or her internship adviser, the student will identify appropriate internship organizations and apply for internships with these organizations. Once placed with an appropriate organization the student will meet coordinate with an on-site adviser to develop a regular schedule of work at the internship site.

Once accepted for an internship, the student will complete a BIOL 495 course enrollment form. The student and academic advisor will also agree upon the academic requirements for the internship.  Such requirements might include keeping a journal of the internship experience, writing a major paper describing the internship experience and its relation to the student’s career goals, completing specific readings related to the internship experience, or meeting or communicating with the adviser on a regular basis to discuss the internship experience. These academic requirements will vary with the specific internship situation and the faculty member overseeing it. The proposal must be approved by the Department Chair before the internship begins.

The student and the on-site internship adviser will develop daily schedules of experiences and activities, which will expose the student to work qualifications and requirements needed in the organization. The student will be expected to participate in and make a contribution to the work of the organization. The student is expected to be reliable and punctual in attendance at the internship worksite and in performance of his or her duties. On-site supervisors will be responsible for evaluating the student’s performance as well as appropriate conduct and behavior, and communicating these evaluations to the student’s biology internship adviser.

The student will also meet or communicate regularly with his or her biology internship adviser. These meetings will serve to evaluate the internship, to insure that goals and objectives are being met, and to identify and address any problems that may occur. The meetings may serve additional functions as agreed upon in the internship proposal, for example, as a time to discuss related readings. The student will also complete, in a timely manner, other assignments for the biology internship adviser, as agreed upon in the internship proposal.

If appropriate, the student’s biology internship adviser may meet with the student’s on-site adviser(s), and/or may meet with the student at the internship site.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

The primary goal of the course is to provide biology students with an opportunity to integrate the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom and academic laboratory into the professional world outside academia, and to develop a better understanding of the applications of biology.
Specific internship objectives may include:
•    Integration of biological knowledge and skills into practical use.
•    Integration of laboratory and/or field experience and skills into practical use.
•    Development of critical thinking skills.
•    Development of written and/or oral communication skills.
•    Enhancement of knowledge and understanding of particular areas of biology, particularly in terms of real world applications.
•    Enhancement of qualifications for future employment and/or graduate school opportunities.
•    Development of connections with potential employees.

Assessment Measures

Assessment will be carried out jointly by the biology internship adviser and by the on-site adviser(s). The exact grading requirements will vary with the biology internship adviser and the nature of the internship experience, and will be agreed upon in the internship proposal.
The following criteria will enter into assessment of the student.
•    Completion of at least the minimum work hours required for the academic credit desired.
•    Regular, punctual attendance at the internship worksite.
•    Regular, punctual attendance at meetings with the biology internship adviser.
•    Evaluation of the student’s performance, conduct and behavior by the on-site internship supervisor(s).
•    Evaluation of the student’s performance by the biology internship adviser, based on meetings with the student.
•    Evaluation of any additional assignments required by the biology internship adviser and agreed upon in the internship proposal.

Other Course Information

The internship in biology will be an elective for students in the Environmental Biology Concentration of the Biology Major, with the restriction that the internship site be one providing experience in the area of environmental biology. Similarly it will be an elective for students in the Biotechnology Concentration, with the restriction that the internship site be one providing experience in the area of biotechnology. The course is also recommended for all biology students with interests in the real world applications of biology.

Review and Approval