Internship program offers broader experience, but requirements leave students concerned

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    By ANDREA LAYCOCK

    Professors and department chairs are excited about a new internship program, but the requirements of the program leave some students concerned.

    The “Semester Away? Let’s Talk!” or SALT internship program requires students to spend a semester away from campus on an internship while simultaneously taking correspondence classes.

    Richard Hurley, a professor in the Health Sciences department, said requiring students to leave BYU allows the university to admit more students into certain departments. Internship programs are not new to BYU students — many departments require them prior to graduation — but the SALT program encourages students to leave Utah for a broader experience.

    “A lot of departments have required internships and students fulfill them locally, but that experience is not as unique,” said Jim Backman, director of the Center for Service and Learning.

    Kimberly Barlow, 21, a senior from Corvallis, Ore., majoring in community health, said she is not convinced that leaving BYU would be in some students’ best interest.

    “I think it would be a lot easier for some students to do an internship in Utah and take classes at BYU, rather than having to leave the university,”

    According to Backman, there were over 200 students involved in the SALT program last year, and he hopes this number will double in the coming year.

    The internship provides academic credits plus whatever credits the students earn by correspondence classes.

    The SALT program has only been in existence for one year and some departments, like Health Sciences, are going to make this type of internship mandatory.

    Tom Catherall, acting chair of the Recreation Management and Youth Leadership department, said the SALT program helps students graduate more quickly as it allows them to take correspondence classes while doing their internship.

    Sarah Palmer, 19, a sophomore from Boulder City, Nev. majoring in Health Sciences, said she is concerned that taking correspondence classes while doing an internship would be too time consuming.

    “If I am going to be working as a full-time intern, I don’t know how I would be able to do correspondence classes at the same time,” Palmer said.

    “I feel like we’re required to leave the university and pay for correspondence classes when I would rather be in a classroom learning the material from a professor,” Palmer said.

    Gordon Lindsay, chair of the Health Sciences Department, said one of the problems facing the program is the majority of students involved in the SALT program are participating during spring and summer terms, which, according to Lindsay, defeats the purpose of the program. The purpose of the program is to allow more students into various departments. For the program to work, students have to leave to do their internships during fall and winter semesters.

    Other students feel the SALT program should be available to students, but should not be mandatory.

    “I like the idea of the SALT program being optional so students can do internships outside of Utah,” said Erica Stolworthy, 20, a senior from Loveland, Colo. majoring in Health Sciences, “but I’m not sure that making the program mandatory is a good idea.”

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