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The Internship in Professional Writing

Students majoring in Professional Writing experience workplace writing through an internship to learn about the demands of workplace-specific writing tasks and to help them make decisions about career paths and prepare for their first jobs. Internships are available in assorted professional fields including technical writing, reporting, editing, public relations, tutoring, communications, and journalism. Students have the opportunity to select an internship from a variety of settings, including publishing companies, newspapers, high-tech companies, engineering firms, health organizations, educational and research institutions, government, and non-profit corporations. Students complete the internship with published documents for portfolio inclusion and potential sources of recommendations for future professional positions.

Internship Sites

Graduates and current students in the program have completed their internships at a wide range of worksites, as the list below demonstrates:

Simon and Schuster Publishers

Men's Health Magazine

Channel 69 news

The Hershey Chronicle

Kutztown University Writing Center

MedStar Television

Reading Royals Hockey Team

The Goggle Works Center for the Arts

The ClearChannel Radio Network

Nolde Forest Education Center

The Reading Eagle Newspaper

The Reading Historical Society

Reese and Associates Advertising and Marketing

Students may also choose an on-campus internship. Previous students have worked with University Relations, the Adult Education office, the Penn State Educational Partnership Program, and other campus groups.

Sample Student-Produced Internship Document

Cortney Stauffer’s newsletter for PEPP, the Penn State Educational Partnership Program in Reading

For Current Students:

Obtaining the Internship and Registering for the Course, English 495

English 495 is a 3-credit course designed to complement the internship in Professional Writing. The central goal of English 495 is to support students’ hands-on internship work by means of writing and reflection. You can not receive credit for your internship unless you are officially enrolled in English 495 and complete both the internship and academic requirements. In Summer Session, students must enroll in and pay tuition for English 495 separately.

To enroll in English 495, you must obtain permission and a signature on a course drop/add form from Dr. Weisser.

You will need the written documents that you produce in your internship for your professional portfolio. Therefore, you should not plan to take your internship in the same semester that you take English 491.

Unless special arrangements have been made, plan to take your internship during the Fall semester of your junior or senior years. Dr. Christian Weisser is the internship instructor. Dr. Weisser, along with the Career Services Office, will help you to locate potential internship sites. However, it is your responsibility to obtain your internship.

Necessary forms can be found on the Career Services Website. When you begin your internship, your forms need to be in order and on file in the Career Services Office. Without proper approvals you cannot be admitted to the course.

Before you begin your internship, please make sure that Dr. Weisser also has a copy of your completed Employer/ Internship Information Form.

Requirements

On-Site

You will need to work a total of 120 hours at an approved site, completing writing tasks appropriate to your skill development in various aspects of professional writing. Your role should not be observer; nor should you be asked to perform tasks not generally associated with your professional setting.

As a representative of Penn State Berks and of the Professional Writing program, it's important that you dress, behave, and perform professionally at all times during your internship. If you have any questions about expectations or performance, please contact Dr. Weisser by email or phone so that you can quickly resolve any problems.

Academics

The internship also requires your participation in the course component of English 495 (offered every Fall semester) as well as the completion of several academic projects. Further details will be provided in your English 495 syllabus; requirements and grading subject to change at discretion of instructor.