ASCEND Experiential Learning Placement

The Experiential Learning Placement (ELP) component of ASCEND will feature placement of a specially selected cohort of graduate students into opportunities at host agencies to gain exposure and experience in diverse career fields.  Each placement will be uniquely tailored to the needs, interests, and goals of the cohort member.  

Students interested in applying to the ELP cohort should consider the following:  

Training, interests, and goals: early ASCEND workshops are designed to help participants explore possible career areas and develop an understanding of the intersection of their current training, personal interests and values, and goals for the future.  Applicants should begin thinking early about possible career areas of interests and the types of projects that might help them with their exploration and goals   Application- The application will open October 1 and close December 1.  Five cohort members will be selected by a review committee. 

The application will require: ·

  • Completion of the online application form
  • A 300-500 word personal statement describing the applicant's background, interests, goals, and objective for participating in the ELP
  • A letter of support from the applicant's mentor ·
  • An ELP proposal, identifying the host agency (or field), describing potential projects to be done during the placement, and connecting how the experience will relate to the applicant's goals and academic training  

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is this a job or internship? 
    No.  This is a learning experience and not employment.  Students will not receive compensation for their participation and are not employed at their host agency.  
  • Do I get credit? 
    Yes.  Participants will receive 1 academic credit per 50 hours of effort spent in the placement, up to 3 credits.
  • What's the time commitment? 
    Scheduling will be determined by the student, their academic mentor, and the host agency.  Each participant's schedule will be unique and determined by their availability and projects.  Placements will take place during the Spring and/or Summer semesters.
  • How will expectations be documented? 
    A placement contract, mutually agreed to by the student, mentor, and host agency, will describe the expectations and parameters of the placement.  
  • What if it's not a good fit? 
    ASCEND staff will conduct regular check-in's with students, mentors, and hosts to ensure progress continues satisfactorily.  Issues will be addressed on a case by case basis. 

Experiential Learning Placements should be unique to you, connecting your training, interests, and goals.  When considering what you would like to do in an ELP, be creative and think of the bigger picture.  Placements may be directly related to gaining experience in a specific career, but they may also provide insight to further your research goals, or help you better mentor your peers and future students. 

Here are just a few possibilities to get you started:

  • A student interested in learning more about careers in public health and wellness secures a placement opportunity with an area nonprofit working to address childhood obesity and food access in urban core neighborhoods, participating in program development and evaluation, grant writing, and outreach
  • A student interested in a career in private universities and higher education administration connects with a local liberal arts university, working with academic leaders to evaluate and improve core curriculum for the natural sciences program
  • A student exploring law as a possible career path connects with an area law firm to shadow a medical science analyst, assisting them in preparing and reviewing technically complex information for legal proceedings
  • A student in pursuit of a faculty research position is also interested in working with pipeline programs that connect underrepresented minority students to STEM fields; they secure a placement with a local nonprofit to develop programming for under privileged schools to increase science exposure for high school students
  • A student interested in science communication and outreach as a possible career path is able to conduct their placement in the public relations department of a large research institute, writing content for a popular blog, assisting with press releases, and liaising with the public  
  • A student considering intellectual property as a career area connects with a university center dedicated to assisting with start ups, patents, and licensing, assisting with day to day activities and helping to develop a program to educate faculty on intellectual property protection
  • A student pursuing a research career focused on Alzheimer's disease connects with a local social service agency to coordinate programming and services for Alzheimer's patients with the goal of gaining a better understanding of the challenges that this population faces
  • A student interested in government work and the environment participates in a program with the local Environmental Protection Agency office, collaborating on a project to address contamination of a local water source and educate the public on health and safety  

Link to application form. 

Last modified: Sep 29, 2016
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