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Program Description

At A Glance

Length of program: 12 weeks (typically, May-August)

  • Week 1: Orientation, Introduction to Mentors and Project Planning
    • Orientation to introduce students to internship program
    • Interns meet with mentors
    • Setting internship goals
  • Week 2: Starting Project Work and Professional Development Short-Courses
    • Interns begin project work
    • Professional development short-courses
  • Weeks 3-11: Project Work and Professional Development
    • Check-ins from mentors twice a week
    • Continued professional development opportunities
      • Resume/LinkedIn and Cover Letter Workshops
      • Mock interviews
      • Presentations by industry mentors on topics such as Science Communication
  • Week 12: Project Wrap-Up and Presentations
    • Interns finish their projects
    • Present work to mentors and other interns
  • Post-Program: Evaluation and Professional Meeting
    • Mentors will evaluate interns (exit interview)
    • Opportunity for interns to present their work at a professional meeting 

Program Description

In the Fall of 2022, students will have the opportunity to apply to the CERSA internship program, to be held May-August, 2023. Students will access the abstracts for each internship opportunity, and self select their first, second, and third choice internship position. Mentors will have the opportunity to view applications, and make selections based on student experience and expectations.  


Once students and mentors are matched, we will invite the students to participate in a full-day professional development workshop which will be held in Raleigh, NC in the spring of 2023 (this could be in-person or virtual, depending on the status of the pandemic and local regulations). Students who are not local will have their travel covered by this program to assure everyone has the ability to participate in the professional development workshop.In addition to having the opportunity to get to know their fellow interns in the cohort, students will participate in a series of short leadership and professional development trainings that will set them up for success in the upcoming internship, as well as their professional life moving forward. We will work with the NC State University’s Office of Professional Development to bring students a variety of activities. A selection of possible topics include: Communication Skills for Professionals, Coping with Difficult Coworkers, Emotional Intelligence, Email Writing Skills for Professionals, and Juggling Multiple Responsibilities Successfully. In the afternoon, mentors will be included in the second half of the workshop, if possible. This will give mentors and students the opportunity to meet one another, and form relationships that will set the program up for success. We will ask the mentors to give a brief presentation on their company/program, and discuss how they engage the STEM community in their profession. Students and mentors together will also work through two professional development short-courses; “The New Workplace: Thriving in an Intergenerational Environment, and Working within a Cross-Functional Team”. At the close of the day, each participant will be asked to complete a document stating their own personal goals and expectations, as well as their goals and expectations as it pertains to working with their intern or mentor. They will be asked to share so that these goals and expectations can be aligned. While our program will facilitate and guide the process, ultimately it will be up to the intern and the professional mentor to be sure that they get the most of the program. 


Interns will begin their 12-week program at the close of the 2023 spring semester and conclude their work before the 2023 fall semester begins. In August 2023, we plan to host a one-day gathering that will bring mentors and interns together to share experiences and successes (this could be in-person or virtual, depending on the status of the pandemic and local regulations). Students will be asked to give a short presentation on their program, what they learned, and share any ideas on how we can make the program stronger moving forward. There will also be some networking built into this day as well, as we want the students and the mentors to have the chance to meet one another, and exchange ideas and opportunities. While the formal period of this grant program will be completed, the students’ leadership experience will not be. As part of this program, each student will have the opportunity to participate in a service learning opportunity at our local public middle school, Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School (CCMMS). By working in these classrooms, we will foster collaborations that will improve STEM education, and with any luck, also encourage and inspire our middle school students to consider a career in a STEM field.


In the Fall (and if reasonable given the timeline and status of the pandemic), each intern will be expected to present their work to the CERSA Advisory Board. Students may also have the opportunity to present their work at a professional meeting, or to engage with other professionals in their chosen field. CERSA will cover any reasonable conference-related costs.