Hands on Experience and Finding an Internship
Although college classrooms provide students with theoretical background, information about issues, and other skills essential for many careers, students benefit greatly from the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge in professional positions in the community. For these reasons, the Department has a well-established internship program.
All Family Science Students are required to enroll in FMSC 477, Internship and Analysis, and complete a 120-hour internship addressing family issues. The internship broadens students' exposure to the family science discipline, provides valuable work experience, and increases students' knowledge of specific career opportunities.
Students who need help deciding on an internship have access to the FMSC Internship Database, which contains listings of organizations that have requested our students along with those where Family Science students have completed internships. Student comments about their individual internship experiences are also included.
Students can pick up internship contracts in the main office, 1142 School of Public Health Building. There are strict deadlines for turning in completed contracts:
Spring Internship contract: Due December 1
Summer & Fall Internship contracts: Due the preceding May 1
Interested students may download (requires Adobe Acrobat) a printed Internship Packet (Writeable Form)
A Family Science faculty member administers the internship program and teaches a seminar that accompanies the student's field work experience. The seminar enables students to discuss work-related experiences within the context of family theory and research.
What Our Students Are Saying
Our students’ internships have given them the solid foundation of real-world experience they need to be successful in their careers, and we are pleased that they have so many positive things to say about their internships.
Here is a sampling of the internships:
- The University of Maryland’s Center for Young Children
- Early childhood education centers, including Head Start
- Local elementary schools
- Guidance counselors’ offices
- Adoption agencies
- Mental or behavioral health, including crisis hotlines, autistic children, and domestic violence counseling programs
- Elderly assistance
- Homelessness intervention/support
A few examples...
Rebecca Plotsker, The Maryland Department of Juvenile Services
Family Science undergraduate Rebecca Plotsker recently completed her internship working with a juvenile probation officer through the Department of Juvenile Services at a local high school. She found her experience incredibly rewarding and discovered a new passion for working with this age group. Becky says, “You get to see how the court system works because part of the process in working with the kids on probation is that the court is involved, and that is an experience as well. Some of these kids will truly amaze you and melt your heart as you see them progress.”
For more information on the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, click here or call 410-230-3333 (Toll Free: 1-888-639-7499).
Caitlin Johnson, Sunrise Senior Living
As an activities specialist at Sunrise Senior Living adult care facility in the Metro area, Caitlin Johnson designed activities, coordinated events, oversaw entertainment, advocated resident needs, and engaged residents in experimental art therapy. The experience was an extremely gratifying one, as Caitlin helped residents improve their concentration, memory, coping abilities, self-awareness, and overall quality of life.
For more information on Sunrise Senior Living adult care, click here or call (703) 273-7500.
Juliana Plumb, Adoptions Together
Juliana Plumb now knows that emotional maturity, the ability to successfully balancing care, compassion, and professionalism, and understanding how to appreciate the associated pains and joys of the process are crucial components of successful adoption work. She discovered these essentials as an intern at Adoptions Together, a domestic and international adoption agency with five offices in the DC/ Baltimore vicinity.
For information about Adoptions Together, click here.
Susan Sparks, NBC Universal
Many students dream about landing an internship at a major television network so they can jumpstart their journalism careers. But Susan Sparks had something else in mind – to use this coveted media spot to serve her community. As an intern, she was able to help organize Health Month activities, learn to interact with a diverse population, and develop her leadership skills. Although Susan plans to pursue a Master’s degree in social work rather than a career in media, she says she is nonetheless grateful for the learning experience.
For more information about NBC Universal’s internship opportunities, click here.
David A. Brown, Total Care Services, Inc.
“I [now] have a higher level of empathy for the population I serve,” says David Brown, who sings the praises of his internship with Total Care, Inc., a prominent DC-area agency dealing with the elderly and patients with mental retardation. Not only did David become certified in First Aid and Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation and Psychotropic Medication Administration while an intern, but he also improved his interpersonal communication skills, learned the basics of working in an office setting, and realized that this was the field in which he wants to pursue a career.
Colleen Barbieri, Counseling and Outreach Services, House of Ruth
As an intern with the Baxter Center for Family Safety and Support, an outreach clinic established by the House of Ruth, Colleen Barbieri learned about the different counseling options for women and children who have fallen victim to domestic violence. She also increased her understanding of various cultures, developed safety and self-protection plans for clients, and was trained to identify the emotional, psychological, sexual, and physical effects of domestic violence.
For more information about the House of Ruth, click here.
Natasha Prince, The Center for Young Children
Without fail, the Center for Young Children is always one of the most popular internship sites for Family Science students. For Natasha Prince, the biggest draw was the chance to become more understanding of preschool- and kindergarten-age children. She completed the semester better equipped to make major decisions regarding her career: she plans to counsel patients ages 10 and older.
For more information about The Center for Young Children, click here.