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Biology Internship Guidelines

Undergraduates leaving Richmond with a degree in biology enter a variety of fields, including the medical professions, teaching, biological research, forensics, museum restoration, natural history, science illustration, science writing and publishing, photography and agricultural professions such as forestry, wildlife management and conservation biology. Students have arranged for internships with professionals working in many of these areas, in consultation with the Career Services and the internship advisor. Please direct all inquiries to the internship advisor.

Objectives

Biology 388 - Individual Internship allows the student intern to apply biology in the work environment and to assess an occupation as a potential career choice

The intern conducts a minimum of 70 hours per semester of supervised work "on site" and meets weekly with the biology intern advisor.  Additional work, such as readings and papers, are assigned.

Students may conduct the on-site portion of the internship during the summer, and enroll in the internship class for the following term.  The student must submit to the internship advisor the final proposal and receive approval from the internship advisor prior to the on site activities in the summer, and meet the other requirements for the internship class.

Suggested Steps to Follow if Interested in Internship
  1. Understand the nature and requirements of the Internship class (Biol 388)
  2. Explore internship oppportunities by contacting:
    • Supervisors and students with recent internships
    • Career Development Center
    • Internship Advisor
  3. Submit preliminary proposal to internship advisor before registration
  4. Register for Internship (Biol 388)
Requirements

I.  Eligibility
Students must be a junior or senior in good standing to qualify for enrollment into the course.  They must also receive approval from the biology internship advisor.  The decision of approval is based on a written proposal submitted by the student to the biology intern advisor.  A preliminary proposal should be submitted before final registration.  A final proposal must be submitted by the end of the "add period" for the semester.

II.  The Final Proposal
The final proposal should be agreed upon by the student, on-the-job supervisor, and the departmental internship advisor.  The proposal should be typed, not more than two pages in length, and include the following information:

  • Title of the internship
  • A description of what the student plans to learn
  • A description of the activities in which the student will participate
  • The name and address of the internship site
  • Name and telephone number of the on-site supervisor
  • Schedule of on-site activities
  • Student's name, address, telephone number, and class standing
  • Signature of the on-the-job supervisor

III.  Internship Description
The internship description is provided by the on-the-job supervisor on a designated form.  This form should be returned to the biology internship advisor within the first two weeks of the semester.

IV.  Internship Journal
The student is required to maintain a journal of internship activities.  The journal is a bound notebook in which the student records in a very legible form the following kinds of information on a daily, bi-weekly, or weekly basis:  (1) observations, (2) activities, (3) summaries of readings, (4) results of investigations, (5) conversations, (6) vocabulary, (7) reflections.  All entries must be made in a timely manner and dated accordingly.

Information within the journal is to be shared with the on-the-job supervisor.  The supervisor reviews the journal at least twice, at mid-term and at the end of the semester.  The supervisor is expected to comfirm the review by signing the journal and dating his/her signature.  At that time, the student may request that the supervisor add comments or suggestions, especially at midterm.

The internship advisor will review the journals on a weekly basis.  Students will be asked to share information in the journal with classmates during the semester.  Therefore, the journal must be brought to the weekly meetings and kept up to date.

At the end of the semester, students are expected to add to the journal a one-page, type-written assessment of their internship experience, and an evaluation by the on-site supervisor.

V.  Occupational Questionnaire
The occupation questionnaire is an instrument to help students evaluate the internship field as a potential career area in the future.  Students are expected to gather information for the questionnaire from their obversvations on the job and through interviews with the on-site supervisor.  Responses to the occupational questionnaires will be given as oral reports during the weekly meetings of the interns.

VI.  Oral Report on Research Topic
Students are required to give a ten-minute presentation on the topic from which the research paper will be derived.  The talk should be supplemented with visual aids.  Following the presentation, students should be prepared for a five-minute question-and-answer session.

Research Paper

Students are required to submit a paper on some biololgical research related to his or her internship area: identify  a specific issue or problem that is the subject of research in your internship field; read the work of several authors in the primary literature who are investigating that problem; use the evidence from those papers to describe the progress towards reaching a solution to the problem.  The paper must be clear in its focus including the following:

  1. Title of the research problem
  2. A well-developed introduction - The introduction should provide background information leading up to the problem.  Be sure to identify the specific question, issue, or problem that is the subject of the research, and describe the significance of the work.
  3. Text - Provide a thoughtful discussion of the results and findings related to the problem.  Use data, figures, and tables to support the information in the text.  It is important not to simply summarize references for the text of the paper, and to avoid the use of direct quotations, unless it is absolutely necessary.  The information included in the body of the paper should be logically organized.  For the sake of clarity, the paper should be divided into relevant categories under appropriate subheadings.
  4. Conclusion - It is expected that the student will build his own case for the paper, based on his analysis and interpretation of the information obtatined from the literature sources.
  5. Literature Cited - Do not use footnotes.  Literature sources should be cited in the text according to the procedure used for a scientific paper.  At the end of the paper, references cited are to be listed under a section designated Literature Cited.  The research paper should have a minimum of five, and no more than ten typed, double-spaced pages of text, exclusvie of illustrations.  In addition it should include the work from at least two primary literature sources, and a minimum total of five references.  It is due on the last day of classes for the semester during which the internship is taken.
Grading Procedures

The final grade for the intern will be determined by the internship advisor. It will be based on written and oral evaluations given by the on-the-job supervisor - 25 percent, the internship journal - 40 percent, the research paper - 20 percent, oral presentation of research paper - 10 percent, occupational survey - 5 percent. The grade will be based on a ten-point scale:  90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D.