Prove Your Skills
For many employers, internships can be more important in a hiring decision than GPAs and majors. The College of Liberal and Applied Arts Applied Skills Internship has a unique format that lets you add an internship to your résumé without having to commit to working off campus.
While earning class credit in your major, you will work with corporate leaders and local business mentors to solve a real-life business problem currently faced by a national corporation. In this internship, you will research and propose solutions, culminating in a boardroom competition for corporate recognition and cash prizes.
The internship strives to validate the workplace readiness of liberal arts graduates, helping students objectively demonstrate their professional skills to potential employers.
- Applications are due by Friday, November 5, 2021.
- Applicants will be notified of acceptance in November.
- The class meets throughout the spring 2022 semester.
Who is eligible for participation?
SFA juniors and seniors with majors in the College of Liberal and Applied Arts may apply for the internship program. Students will register for an upper-level internship class within their major.
Why should I participate?
Employers consistently report prioritizing skills that liberal arts graduates possess, such as strong written and oral communication, critical thinking, analytical reasoning and more. Research also shows that liberal arts graduates often outearn other majors during the course of their careers. Even so, liberal arts students sometimes have trouble finding meaningful work immediately after graduation. The Applied Skills Internship aims to ease that transition from college to work by helping students:
- build a résumé while earning course credit within their majors
- validate their workplace readiness
- prove to employers that they have the skills to succeed
- gain access to local business mentors and corporate leadership, and
- learn how to bridge the gap between classroom education and real-world business problems.
As a bonus, top-performing students earn cash prizes for their proposals.
How does the program work?
Students work on a business problem currently facing the corporate sponsor. Each student analyzes, researches and proposes a solution to the problem. Students begin work individually and then collaborate with students from other participating universities. Work output includes two papers and a presentation.
Along the way, students learn about research and reporting, communicating proposals in a corporate environment and working as a team to gain consensus and react to changes.
The culmination of the program is a boardroom presentation to corporate leadership. The top student from each participating institution is invited to present his or her solution, then work collaboratively on real-time problem-solving scenarios. Winners earn cash prizes and all participants receive detailed feedback on their performances.
What are the applied skills the program refers to?
Based on industry feedback about skills needed in the modern workplace, this internship attempts to build and assess the following seven skills:
- Problem Solving
- Oral Communication
- Written Communication
- Intercultural Fluency
Where will students work?
Faculty advisor Dr. Sudeshna Roy will coordinate meetings with students and local business mentors. Students also will attend two online meetings with corporate leadership of the sponsoring company. The boardroom regional competition may take place at the sponsor’s headquarters or via Zoom, depending on the public health situation at the time.
What is the Applied Skills Consortium?
The College of Liberal and Applied Arts at SFA originated the Applied Skills Program several years ago. Since then, the program has expanded to become a regional program and competition governed by a consortium of the following institutions:
- Stephen F. Austin State University
- Sam Houston State University
- Southern Arkansas University
- University of Houston-Clear Lake
- University of North Texas