Watson Chronicle


Student Opportunities and Student News

Higher Ed Students Complete Internships at Maynooth University

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

In 2015, Andrew Ryder and James DeVita introduced an international internship for students enrolled in WCE graduate programs in higher education. The internship program, offered annually in partnership with Maynooth University, gives students the opportunity to engage in hands-on, applied experiences related to their professional goals and interests.

Eight students completed Maynooth internships in October 2018. In December, they reconvened with Ryder and DeVita at the Watson College for a final de-briefing and reflection on their personal and professional learning through their Maynooth experiences.

Angela Almozara worked in the Graduate School Office where she compared information about master’s and Ph.D. programs at seven universities and developed a pamphlet to promote informational programs and financial aid available at Maynooth. Almozara, who is looking to pursue a career in international experiences, said the internship was very valuable.

“We were there as students and professionals,” she said. “That gave us two lenses to learn through.”

HEMaynooth_RobinClements.jpgRobin Clements ’18 M, worked in the Program Advisory Office where she conducted research and assessment on the skills first year students need to succeed. Clements is coordinator of advising in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at N.C. State University. She said the internship helped expand her worldview, exposed her to new ideas to bring to her current work and, as a distance student, helped her build deep connections with faculty and fellow graduate students at WCE.

Terry Locklear, a doctoral student at WCE, worked in the International Programs Office, where he developed quick reference cards, a handout and website updates related to the Erasmus Programme, a European-based articulation agreement involving 300 institutions of higher education.

“Campus administrators were challenged to keep up with inquiries,” he said. “We looked at frequently asked questions and alternative ways of disseminating information to help reduce this burden on their time.”

Locklear, who is Lumbee, also accepted an invitation to serve as a guest lecturer in a class on indigenous law and legal frameworks taught by Gerry Maguire, a law lecturer at Maynooth. The experience was a first for WCE graduate students participating in the Maynooth internship program.

Chelsea Niemann worked in Human Resources under Maynooth University’s equity officer where she developed training and a guiding document for faculty and staff related to bullying, harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace.

“Student protections are very different in Ireland and training out at the university is new,” she said. “The goal was to make the information easier for faculty and staff to understand and to apply. It was challenging to have an assignment very different from what I have done before, and the experience was very valuable.”

With funding provided by ETEAL, Niemann will return to Maynooth University with Ryder in the spring to conduct additional training for university administrators.

Brittany Ranz worked with the Student Union, where she helped draft a charter on their work to influence policy in the areas of education, student welfare, clubs and society. The student union operates outside of the university, but Ranz found the students to be influential. For example, student leadership was actively engaged in crafting solutions to help end a recent campus-housing crisis, she said.

“Students in the union have a strong voice, and they find productive ways to use it,” she said. “My passion is to see student advocacy that is socially meaningful, and the experience helped reinforce my career goal of working as a student advisor and advocate.”

Susan Thornhill’s area of focus was Experiential Learning, a new concept at Maynooth. During the internship, she developed web-based resources comprised of journal articles and a reflective learning platform to help faculty put experiential learning into practice.

“I learned quite a lot about different experiential learning topics and how they can be incorporated in the curriculum and class setting,” she said. “I also learned how to organize and streamline a huge project into manageable tasks to provide what the client needed.”

Travis Wright ’18 M.Ed. worked with the university’s Student Engagement team, where he interviewed students as part of an assessment project he conducted to recommend ways to improve student orientation and leader training programs. The trip to Ireland was Wright’s first international experience.

“The internship opened my perspective,” he said. “It was interesting to see how many issues cross borders. I also enjoyed seeing the rich work-life balance many professionals in Ireland have achieved.”

“Over four years we have made substantial progress toward deepening and strengthening our partnership with Maynooth University,” Ryder said. ”Our first group set the tone and now Maynooth administrators know who our students are and what they are capable of. This has helped enhance the quality of experiences for both our students and our university partners.”

The Maynooth internship will be offered again in fall 2019 from October 10 through 26. The program is open to all higher education M.Ed. and Ed.D. students who have completed at least 6 program credits with a cumulative g.p.a. of 3.0 or higher. The application deadline is Friday, May 17. For more information, visit the website or contact the 2019 co-leaders, Dr. Symphony Oxendine or Dr. Andrew Ryder.