Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What kind of Senior Experience are we doing this year (2021-22)?
  2. How do I find potential internship sites?
  3. How do I select the right internship?
  4. What do I do during site visits?
  5. What is the role of a site supervisor?
  6. What is a Thesis Internship proposal?
  7. How do I get started on my Thesis Internship proposal?
  8. How do I format my Internship thesis proposal?
  9. When is my Internship proposal due?
  10. I already did an internship with the career center. Is this different?
  11. What sociological project should I do at my internship site? And what does it mean to do a sociological project?
  12. What is a COVID back-up plan (“Plan B”)?
  13. Can my job be my internship?
  14. How many hours a week will my internship be?
  15. Can I begin my hours early?
  16. What is the Thesis Internship class?
  17. I am a junior. Can I take the Thesis Internship class?
  18. How do I know if the Sociology department approved my proposal?
  19. What happens if I am asked to make revisions to my proposal?
  20. Do I need a criminal background check?
  21. What is a sociology portfolio?
  22. How do I get a letter of recommendation for graduate school?

1. What kind of Senior Experience are we doing this year (2021-22)?

Sociology students will be doing an Internship Thesis in Spring 2022. Professor Drew will teach the Internship thesis class. This senior experience gives you an opportunity to apply your studies in Sociology by engaging in a field-experience internship.  By putting your knowledge and skills into practice at a workplace, you will have an opportunity to test out a possible career, as well as make valuable connections to a professional network. The goal of your semester is to combine professional work experience and sociological insight while completing a useful project for the organization.


2. How do I find potential internship sites?

You are responsible for locating and securing your own off-campus internship site, in which you will be supervised by professional staff.  First, assess your areas of interest (e.g. working with children, youth, seniors; working in a school, government agency, non-profit organization; working in an organization related to a particular social issue such as health care, domestic violence, educational equity, human rights).  The most successful internships are those in which students’ interests and community needs align.

Next, explore possible internship opportunities by talking with the sociology faculty, browsing Sociology and Career Services websites, or searching the web for local organizations that fit with your interests.

We recommend that you initially contact organizations by phone; if your call is not returned, you might consider social media and email.  You will need to select at least TWO sites at which to interview. https://willamette.edu/arts-sciences/sociology/internship/index.html


3. How do I select the right internship?

Schedule two site visits (“interviews”) for September and early October with organizations that interest you. Before going to the site, review the website info about its mission and work.  While you will center the field sites’ needs from an intern, go prepared with 1-2 ideas about a project you might be interested in working on during your internship time.

After meeting with two field sites, notify the site you selected that you are eager to work with them in the spring and that they will hear from you in November, and then your professor know. Let the site(s) know that you will not be working with them; do NOT leave them hanging.


4. What do I do during site visits?

During the site visit, address the following:

  • Develop ideas about the kinds of tasks, activities you might participate in
  • Most sites have a “wish list” of things they would like to do if they had adequate staffing. Ask the site supervisor about their needs and what kinds of projects are on their wish list
  • Discuss what needs to happen on the site for an internship to take place there (internal processes necessary to bring you aboard, criminal background check, etc?)
  • Identify who your on-site supervisor would be (this person will guide you and your work, answer questions, regularly debrief with you about what you are learning)
  • In the past, satisfying internships have been at sites where the student took the initiative to pitch the internship to a site.

 

 


5. What is the role of a site supervisor?

During your site visit, clearly establish what you are asking the supervisor to do:

  • Assist with and approve your learning contract: that spells out student’s learning goals and objectives, on-site activities and tasks, and on-site internship supervisor’s expectations of the intern (January 2022)
  • Meet once with student intern, on-site internship supervisor, and the internship professor for a site visit (January 2022)
  • Provide supervision and learning opportunities that go beyond only clerical and secretarial work between January 17th – April 26th (for 150 hours of internship)
  • Contact internship professor with questions and/or concerns (anytime)
  • Complete student evaluation upon completion of the internship (May 2022)


6. What is a Thesis Internship proposal?

In Fall 2021 you will write a senior thesis internship proposal.  You must have approval and confirmation from your chosen internship site and site supervisor before you turn in the proposal. Your proposal will specify how your work at the site will be sociological and how your work there will go above and beyond that of a typical volunteer


7. How do I get started on my Thesis Internship proposal?

  • read the information Professor Drew sent you this summer via email.
  • attend one of the required meeting in September that will give you more detail about how to write the proposal. The meetings will be on T Sept 14 at 11:30am (virtual) and W Sept 15 at 4:15pm (virtual ). Please see email notice for zoom links.
  • arrange to visit two possible internship sites


8. How do I format my Internship thesis proposal?

Use this template.


9. When is my Internship proposal due?

Proposals are due on Thursday October 21 at 5pm. You will turn in your proposal via your dropbox on the WISE Senior Experience 2021-22 site.


10. I already did an internship with the career center. Is this different?

Yes, your Sociology internship thesis is different than internships through the Careers Center. Your class and assignments will include using your sociological imagination and analysis. You will also offer a sociological project at your internship site.


11. What sociological project should I do at my internship site? And what does it mean to do a sociological project?

The project could take a number of forms. For instance, you could make a promotional video, recruit volunteers to the organization, carry out data collection and/or analysis, develop and implement a needs assessment, write a grant, create a curriculum, or organize a significant event. You need to draw on what you have learned as a sociology major to do something more than the average volunteer who may only file papers, deliver goods, or clean the office.


12. What is a COVID back-up plan (“Plan B”)?

In the unwelcome event that the conditions of our health pandemic prevent students from working at their internship field sites, we will pivot to a “Pan B,” writing a related literature review. For this reason, we ask that you include a back up plan in your Fall proposal and describe a sociological topic or question that you will explore in the scholarship by reading research articles and writing a literature review. You will not collect data.


13. Can my job be my internship?

No, your Sociological internship cannot be a paid job.


14. How many hours a week will my internship be?

You will spend approximately 11-12 hours a week (for a total of 150 hours) interning and you will participate in a weekly seminar led by Prof. Drew.


15. Can I begin my hours early?

After your proposal has been approved, yes. You may even begin your hours this fall, or over the winter break, or even in the weeks before spring classes begin.  You may complete up to 30 of the 150 hours, after you have completed a “Learning Contract” between Prof. Drew and your site supervisor.  Let Prof. Drew know you wish to begin hours sooner and she will provide you with everything necessary to get started.


16. What is the Thesis Internship class?

In addition to interning, you will participate in a weekly seminar led by Prof. Drew. Course requirements consist of weekly written reflections, discussion, several small assignments, a senior portfolio, and a final analytical reflection paper (4-5 pgs). If the class has to move to “plan B” the final paper will include a lit review on a topic that you are interested in.


17. I am a junior. Can I take the Thesis Internship class?

It depends!  Consult your advisor ASAP.


18. How do I know if the Sociology department approved my proposal?

You will receive notification of the department decision about your proposal by Wednesday, October 27. Once you obtain this approval, register for SOC 388W Internship in Sociology.  (This counts in the place of SOC 495W, previously required for the major.)


19. What happens if I am asked to make revisions to my proposal?

An assigned Sociology faculty member will meet with you if your proposal requires revision. You will be asked to revise and resubmit your proposal addressing all the recommended changes suggested by faculty. In rare cases, they will speak with you if you are not approved to move forward with an internship this year.


20. Do I need a criminal background check?

This depends on your internship site. If a criminal background check is necessary for your site, it must be completed before December 31, 2021.  There are also sites that require a urine test, particularly those working with children.


21. What is a sociology portfolio?

All the information you need about the Senior Portfolio is found here: PORTFOLIO


22. How do I get a letter of recommendation for graduate school?

See the procedure on our website: REC LETTERS

Willamette University

Sociology Department

Address
Smullin Hall 3rd floor
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
Phone
503-370-6556 voice
503-370-6720 fax

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