Your 10-credit internship is an important component of your public health degree at CWU. There’s a lot students need to know, and your faculty will support you. However, taking that first step of thinking through your potential best fit – and establishing a placement there – is up to you!
We have a lot of resources to help, so dive right in and take a look. Even if you’re brand new to the major, you’re only a couple of years away from your internship; if you choose to split the credits into two quarters, you’re even closer. So it’s never too early to start exploring your options and what it will take to secure your internship at a great site.
Procedures and Resources:
CWU Career Services– Visit the website, but also plan to drop by in person. You’ll need to set up your student file, and complete it, prior to your internship. If you click on “students/alumni” on the left, you will see a whole section open that has the “Cooperative Education and Internships” as a category. Look over that information carefully.
Learning Agreement – This document is critical! It represents a legal agreement among the student, the site supervisor, and the university. As you’ll note, putting the agreement in place requires several signatures and you must provide proof of completion of the university’s online training, Treating People with Dignity and Respect (aka “the sexual harassment training).
Click here to complete the required training. It takes about 30 minutes. When finished, be sure to mark “Yes” in the appropriate spot on the first page of the Learning Agreement. Print your certificate and keep it to submit with your Learning Agreement and all of the other papers required.
Objectives and Activities – This is the main point of your internship and Learning Agreement. You, your site supervisor, your faculty supervisor and the university are all very committed to your success and to the internship partnership with your site. We also want you to emerge from our program having had an internship experience that meets your needs and the skill sets you will use in Public Health. Thus, your objectives and activities should emphasize the Three Core Functions of Public Health. Your faculty supervisor can help you draft and/or revise objectives and activities, and your site supervisor can help make sure they are both feasible and valuable for you and for your site. Start considering potential objectives and activities as soon as you start thinking about and contacting sites. You may work with your site first, or with your faculty supervisor – whichever works best for you. If your site of interest is NOT typically a public or community health-related site, or the contact there seems a little lost as to how to proceed, that’s a great time to bring the internship coordinator into the conversation. Just ask.
Pre-Placement Checklist – This checklist closely reflects a list of items required by many public health agencies for volunteers and staff. This means that it may be more intensive than CWU requires. However, CWU requires that you either provide copies of each item OR provide a written waiver from your site supervisor. In other words, if your intended site supervisor tells you that no background check is needed, great. Have them send an email to Career Services staff stating that the background check requirement is being waived. That email then goes in your Career Services file.
Next Steps and “Getting to Done”:
Once you’re in your internship, your faculty advisor and your site supervisor are there to help you succeed. But they’ll have expectations too. Make sure you understand the requirements and the culture of your planned site, because misunderstanding or not paying enough attention to these details can make it more difficult for you to succeed and to get the most from the experience.
You’ll also be required to log and report your hours, using this progress report form. You will typically be asked to submit the form either weekly or every-other-week throughout your internship. Please note that you are being asked to document completed hours, and that both you and your site supervisor are required to sign the form.
Finally, you’ll be required to submit a final project/report. You will note that the guidelines for the project emphasize it as a valuable and useful product, both for you and for our program. In other words, this is not busy work. Keep a simple daily journal or notebook as you progress through your experience. In it, plan to keep track of what you produce, what you learn, who you get to know, and your overall impressions of the site and your experiences there. If you do this consistently, even just jotting a few minutes’ worth of thoughts every evening, you will find that you have the basics of your final project in place by the time you go to start working on it formally.
An important note: Know that the networking opportunities during your placement may be some of the best you’re likely to have in your first years out in the field. Impressions matter, and you’ll constantly be making an impression – so make sure it’s GREAT!
IMPORTANT: Your HED 490 credits will NOT start (and you will NOT be able to count any hours) until Career Services staff sign the Learning Agreement, complete with your signed release form.