Any internship is only as good as the applicable knowledge it provides. Obtaining that knowledge is the motivation for many who apply for and complete an internship project. An internship project allows interns to gain practical experience in their chosen field while applying knowledge gleaned on the job to produce valuable data.
Research & Writing
Choosing a thesis and writing on it is a common but challenging and interesting internship project. As a biology intern, you could study a group of nursing home residents and write on what happens to the body as it ages. Environmental interns could investigate local businesses to uncover which do and do not follow environmental regulations or engage in green practices, then write a community pamphlet. For political science interns, it may provide a bird's-eye view of local politics to choose a mayoral candidate and follow her throughout the campaign, making note of campaign practices, expenditures, advertising and rhetoric.
Interns who create their own entity for research may gain a more in-depth look at their industry and the way it behaves. For example, an information technology intern could create from scratch three different websites and use online analytical tools to measure their effectiveness and popularity using variables such as social media, online advertising and search engine optimization. An economics intern could create a family of four down to the last detail and measure how it has been and would be affected by the economy's ups and downs, providing examples and graphic illustrations.
In the Field
Psychology interns could volunteer to provide or observe counseling for at-risk teens for a three-month period, then create a presentation on teens' responses, behavior and influences. For a history project, an intern could interview his city's oldest living citizens and produce a documentary on the city's evolution. Sociology interns could live as a homeless person for a few months and study the interactions and group behavior of the homeless or needy.
Some internship projects needn't have a research focus in order to provide valuable experience. Volunteer to tutor high school students in the afternoons or serve as campaign manager for a little-known political candidate. Head a fundraiser for a new community center or lead a clothing drive during the winter. Offer to go over a small nonprofit's books or help with taxes. If you have a medical background, volunteer at the Red Cross and help with blood drives.
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