Ohio State Newark Students Thrive in Professional Internships
Confidence, transferring skills out of the academic setting and the ability to communicate those skills are the intentions Elizabeth Weiser, Ph.D., had for her nine students enrolled in the professional writing minor: capstone internship course at The Ohio State University at Newark. These students gained real, hands-on professional experience from various organizations in the Licking County community and excelled at the tasks thrown their way.
For psychology major McKenzie Lanigan, Weiser’s intentions became a reality at The Woodlands, which is a non-profit organization located in Newark, Ohio, providing comprehensive prevention, education, and treatment services to residents of Licking County and surrounding counties. Throughout her internship, Lanigan put the foundation of skills she learned from the prerequisite course cultures of professional writing with Weiser into practice working on annual reports, taking photos, interviewing staff and editing.
“I am more comfortable taking on responsibility, asking for assignments and doing more independent work,” said Lanigan on what she took away from her experience. “I am doing research more applicable to real life than what I do in academics. The internship pushed me towards being ready to take on tasks and the future as a professional.”
This year marks the fifth year the professional writing minor has been offered at Ohio State Newark. While the minor has seen an abundance of successful students, the students this year were a fairly large group taking on projects and opportunities unheard of in past years. Internship sites trusted their interns to write grants for $25,000 or more and extended offers beyond the semester to continue working with their site. These opportunities were not just exciting for the students, but also thrilling for Weiser to see the growth in her students.
“It is really important to see that people are moving from the sense that I am a student and taking my classes and things happen to me,” said Weiser. “To essentially now, I am going out in the world and in the process of becoming a professional and determining what happens. I don’t know how to do this, but I will learn, and I will continue to improve. It felt like the group made this transition throughout the semester and did it well.”
While the professional writing minor does require both the capstone internship and cultures of professional writing courses, the courses feel less like a requirement and more like an opportunity to establish a set of skills before your peers.
“You never know when you are going to be thrown a curve ball at work,” said Lanigan on why students should pursue a professional writing minor. “You never know what types of projects you are going to get once you get out in the real world. The professional writing minor exposes you to those curve balls early on and allows you to take those skills and apply them to your job in the future, which really puts you a step ahead of your peers.”
With only a few of the students not graduating this spring, the majority of the students prepared to take their skills they obtained out into the workforce after graduating.
“This is the moment students transition from the student to the professional,” said Weiser. “The person who is in charge of determining what they are going to do and is going to go out and find the things they want to do and their passions. When it does happen, it is so exciting to see as a mentor.”
This story was researched and written by junior Mackenzie Webb, a student who was in the professional writing minor: capstone internship course and intern in the Ohio State Newark and Central Ohio Technical College’s Office of Marketing and Public Relations.
The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that is inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.