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Internship

Sr. Celestine Schall with a student Quote about internship from Sr. Celestine Schall

Sister Celestine Schall was instrumental in designing the Alverno College internship program model in 1971.

The development of Alverno’s internship model began in the early 1970’s. For many years, Alverno College successfully blended practicum experience with its education and nursing departments. The “student teacher” and “student nurse” programs allowed Alverno students to apply theories learned in the classroom to “real-world” work situations. Both educational programs were successful models of applied learning. Why couldn’t this “experiential learning” take place in other areas of academic studies? Couldn’t all students benefit from the practical application and practice of the academic theories they were learning in the classroom? Would these experiential placements aid students in their written and verbal communication skills?

These questions were the impetus for the development of the Alverno College Off-Campus Experiential Learning program. Coined OCEL (later to become the Internship Program), Off-Campus Experiential Learning was an important component to the Alverno curriculum evolution that took place from the late 1960’s through the next decade. OCEL/Internship’s success began with Sister Celestine Schall and four members of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD): James Hyland; Paul Pagenkopf; Robert Reiter; and Jude Werra. They were instrumental in designing the Alverno College internship program model which began in 1971. Sister Celestine was the first Director of OCEL.

When the program began in the fall of 1971, seven students were selected to participate. Five local businesses agreed to host students in the new pilot program: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.; Metro-Research; Milwaukee School Board; Kiwanis Children’s Center; and St. Aemelian’s Child Care Center. The experimental program received encouraging results from both the students and mentoring businesses alike. This prompted 17 students to apply in the following semester. The number of interested businesses and agencies increased from five to thirteen.

After its inauguration in 1971, OCEL quickly became nationally recognized due to Sister Celestine’s hard work and strong belief in the contribution the program could make to Alverno’s ability-based curriculum. After just three years, the American Society of Training Directors cited OCEL as one of the best professional training programs in the country…”helping bridge the gap between business and education…providing graduates who do not need as much employer time and investment to do their job.”

Experiential learning became an important part of the Alverno College curriculum. By the late 1970’s, Alverno students would participate in at least one internship experience as an undergraduate student. The benefits of the “field-based learning” were maximized and enhanced by Alverno’s abilities based curriculum. How and what a student learns in an academic setting is only useful if the theories can be applied and utilized in “real-life” career situations.

Student Eva Friedenfeld '76 interns at the Milwaukee Public Museum, 1976

Student Eva Friedenfeld '76 interns at the Milwaukee Public Museum in March 1976


Directors of the Alverno College Internship Program

Leadership and guidance are of the utmost importance when building and maintaining any successful program.  The Internship Program has continued to be a strong and vital part of Alverno’s curriculum due to the tireless efforts of the program’s past and present directors.

 
THE OCEL YEARS:

Sister Celestine Schall    1971-1974
Joan Francoeur             1974-1977
Marilyn Stolee               1977-1979
Susan Oster                 1979-1981
Kate Hardy                   1981-1983
Marilyn Thanos             1983-1997


THE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM YEARS:


Paula McGinnis                 1997-2002
Sue Leister                      2002-Present

 

Fostering Professional Development Through Experiential Learning an Alverno College Publication

This book, which was published in 2002, is just one of the publications documenting experiential learning at Alverno College. The book discusses internship, the experiential learning process and the "powerful learning potential of performance and reflection" and how it has become central to the entire college curriculum. Get more information about it from the Alverno College Library.



Barb Rapant '76 worked in a lab at the VA Hospital during her internship in 1975 Serena Werner stands beside a bomb diffusing robot during an internship at the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Spring 2006
Elizabeth Schaffer '2002, spent a spring semester interning at the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club in 2002
Photos, clockwise from top left, Barb Rapant '76, worked in a lab during her internship at the VA Hospital in the fall of 1975. Serena Werner stands beside a bomb diffusing robot during an internship for the International Association of Chiefs of Police in the spring of 2006. Elizabeth Schaffer '2002, spent a spring semester interning at the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club in 2002.




This article from the may 1991 issues of Alverno magazine clebrates the 20th anniversary of Alverno's Internship program.

This article from the May 1991 issue of Alverno Magazine celebrates the 20th anniversary of Alverno's Internship program.