What is a PORTfolio externship?
During their freshmen and sophomore years, PORTfolio students will have increased opportunities to:
- Connect the classroom with the larger community
- Gain realistic perspectives on career fields - to see what the world of profession or work is like
- Integrate their in-class and out-of-classroom learning experiences
How does it work?
Students are placed with an established PORTfolio employer partner working in a career related to their interests. PORTfolio externships normally last for one to two weeks, approximately 25 hours, and usually take place during the January Term or Spring Break. Externships are coordinated jointly by the PORTfolio Committee and the Office of Career Development and Internships, and students are screened prior to assignments. PORTfolio Partners participate in assigning externs.
What does an extern do?
These PORTfolio Explorations are designed to provide students with the opportunity to observe and/or participate in the day-to-day functions of a career related to their interests. During their externship experience, students may rotate among departments to gain an overview of the business or organization, assist in the implementation of a short-term project, perform general office duties, or 'shadow' one person to observe his or her activities as a professional. Activities may include, but are not limited to, observing job functions, touring the organization, informational interviewing of employees from various departments, attending meetings and other professional functions, assisting in implementing projects, conducting research, editing documents, and preparing reports or spreadsheets.
What types of experiences are available?
PORTfolio students will participate in at least two externships, 'shadowing' experiences, service learning or research opportunities with faculty. Portfolio students and employer partners in many career fields participate. You may view our list of recent Portfolio externships, or a list of current PORTfolio Employer Partners.
What are the benefits to PORTfolio students?
Externships, 'shadowing' experiences, externships, study abroad, and internships are ways to extend your classroom and learning opportunities. They allow PORTfolio students to:
- Expand their awareness of the world beyond the classroom
- Explore professional or career paths
- Increase their self-confidence
- Discover firsthand the skills and kinds of judgment needed for future success
- Draw connections between what they learn in the classroom and in a work setting
- Gain an understanding of the work environment
- Put classroom learning and career goals to the test
- Gain career-related experience
- Broaden career possibilities
- Make informed decisions about career options
- Plan their four-year academic experience accordingly
- Network with future employers
When is a PORTfolio student eligible?
Portfolio students participate in an externship during both their freshmen and sophomore years, and in an internship or study-abroad experience during their junior or senior years. Each externship represents a different career interest. The two experiences are designed to help students make informed decisions about career choices and plan their college academic experience accordingly.
What are the responsibilities of the PORTfolio extern?
- Work with their PORTfolio advisor to set tentative goals which integrate academic and career interests
- Participate in preparation activities to ensure maximum benefit from the experience
- Complete successfully the Freshman PORTfolio Seminar, PORT 121: Self and Circumstance
- Perform extern activities in a professional manner
- Maintain a journal of reflections on their externship experience
- Provide an evaluation of the externship experience
- Write a self-assessment explaining the externship's relationship to the student's learning and developmental goals; this may become part of the student's PORTfolio electronic portfolio
What are the responsibilities of the PORTfolio Partner/Employer?
- Provide an experience appropriate for a student externship
- Designate an employee who will sponsor the extern and supervise his or her activities
- Ensure that the extern receives a realistic picture of the professional field
- Provide opportunities for the extern to ask questions and learn from observation
- Complete a brief evaluation form assessing the externship experience
Note: No remuneration is expected of the employer. The extern is responsible for all expenses incurred.