This Fall, UMass Lowell is offering a writing internship for online students. Internship 1 (ENGL.4960) is available to all undergraduate students interested in gaining professional writing experience, regardless of whether they are English majors or not. This highly immersive experiential learning opportunity offers online students hands-on practical writing experience, networking opportunities and the chance to explore different career paths.
However, ENGL.4960 is a far more integrated course than a typical internship. In addition to gaining professional writing experience, students meet weekly on Blackboard to discuss resumes, portfolios, professional communications and other career development objectives to prepare for success after graduation. “It’s experiential learning at its finest,” says Professor Diana Archibald, Ph.D., internship coordinator.
Professor Archibald has spent over 15 years developing an internship model to support students as they learn to transfer the knowledge they acquire in the classroom to real-world writing. “Experiential learning is the lynchpin to draw upon what [students] learn in their courses and leverage that for the next step in their [career] journey,” says Archibald. “It’s high-impact pedagogy, offering students a transformative learning experience.”
Although the internship course is new to the online population, it has long been available to traditional undergraduate students. These students have served as grant and technical writers for non-profits, creative writers for online magazines, content writers for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, teachers’ aides and more.
Michaela Wakefield, an English major who completed two Internships, has already received a job offer from her internship at Lowell’s Association for the Blind. “I absolutely loved my experience as an intern both times around,” says Wakefield. “It got me excited about entering the workforce and allowed me to get my foot in the door in the area of working for nonprofits. The UMass Lowell English Department works to pair each student with an internship that will match their interests and career goals.”
Many writers find internships to be among the most important experiences in their academic journeys, often leading to job opportunities post-graduation. Below are five ways internships can help jumpstart your career.
5 Benefits of Writing Internships
Gain Practical Writing Experience and find your niche
One of the biggest benefits of internships is gaining real-world experience as a writer. A writing internship will allow you to apply what you’ve learned in a traditional classroom setting to professional publications. The practical experience you gain from internships will help you determine if a particular career is right for you before committing to a full-time job in that field.
Maya Maria, an English major with a creative writing concentration, completed two internships, including one which involved grant writing for a charitable organization. “Experience is everything in the real world,” says Maya. “Doing an internship helped me realize I loved non-profit work more than journalism.”
Grow Your Professional Network
Another major benefit of internships is the opportunity to build your professional network. During your internship, you’ll have the chance to work with writers and other career professionals in a field that interests you. These connections can be invaluable for finding jobs, obtaining references and learning about industry trends. “[Networking] proved to be essential when finding work in my field of study,” says Wakefield.
In addition to finding employment, staying in touch with your internship supervisor can lead to valuable career guidance.
Improve and Expand Your Writing Skills
Internships provide you with the opportunity to improve your writing ability. Internship supervisors provide feedback that will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. You’ll also likely pick up new skills you won’t develop in a classroom. Whether learning to use different software programs, improving communication or gaining industry experience, internships allow you to expand your skill set and become more marketable to future employers.
Increase Your Confidence
Internships will help increase your confidence by allowing you to apply the knowledge and skills you learn in the classroom to real-world situations. Savannah Baker, a former Nutritional Science student who recently converted to an English major, completed an internship at YouthBuild Lowell Culinary. “My experience working with YouthBuild Lowell helped me realize that writing can be more than just a hobby and it gave me the confidence in knowing I can succeed in a professional field outside of the science world,” says Baker. As you gain practical experience, you’ll become more comfortable in your ability to complete and find work as a writer.
Improve Your Resume and Portfolio
One of the most important benefits of writing internships is their boost to your resume and portfolio of published works. Employers value real-world experience. Having an internship on your resume can demonstrate that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed professionally.
“As a 100% virtual student who works over 50 hours a week, I had come to terms with the fact that interning was not a possibility for me–until I came across this course. With fully remote opportunities and 1-on-1 support from Dr. Archibald, I had the pleasure of interning in a writing position for UMass Lowell’s Social Justice Center for a semester.
“My internship leaders and Dr. Archibald were very understanding of my situation as a working student living in California and allowed me to work a flexible schedule while providing frequent check-ins via email and zoom. With the reputation of unpaid internships often being a financial or time sacrifice, I was pleasantly surprised by this experience where I did not have to give up on anything yet learned crucial time management and communication skills along the way.
“I had a wonderful time creating valuable resources for UMass Lowell students at the S.J.C., and I could not recommend this course enough to any student, but especially students with unique situations that do not easily allow time for a more traditional internship (although, those are offered in this course, too!).
“Dr. Archibald also provided several career-building tools and resources, as well as opportunities to connect with other interns and further our marketable skills and network. Overall, I am highly satisfied with UML’s English Internship course and hope to take it again in the near future!”
– Kimika Rhone, B.A. in English
“Our university’s online English internship class. It’s unlike any other experience I’ve had during my time at UML. It offers a unique blend of hands-on learning and real-world application that has tied all the pieces of my education together beautifully. It’s also been an eye-opener, shifting my perception of internships entirely.
“They are so much more than resume boosters; they’re an amazing way to explore different career fields in a way textbooks can’t replicate. On top of that, the class curriculum is genuinely helpful, and it equipped me with practical skills like crafting personalized resumes and mastering LinkedIn. These abilities will prove to be invaluable in the not-so-distant future. Plus, the connections I’ve made with the other interns through the class discussion boards are networking gold.
“So, if you’re looking to make the most out of your time at UML and be able to step into the professional world confidently, don’t miss out on this opportunity. Good luck!”
– Meagan Friedman, B.A. in English
Additional Details About UMass Lowell’s Writing Internship
- All students are guaranteed an internship at a nonprofit organization. Placement in existing opportunities is available, or you may find your own internship position with instructor approval.
- Internship 1 may be completed twice for credit.
- Flexible schedules are available for online students. Virtual, in-person and hybrid placements are available. Also, the start and end dates of your internship are negotiable.
- Class materials and assignments support career development goals through practical hands-on activities.
- Students interested in Internship 1 who have not satisfied course prerequisites should email Professor Archibald to receive permission to register.
- Internship 1 will always be available during the Summer semester and is occasionally offered in the Fall and Spring semesters.
Writing internships are a great way to gain practical experience in your field, make professional connections and explore career paths.
Register for Internship 1