Student Engagement in Internship Opportunities: What Influences a Student's Decision to Participate or Not


The literature does not provide a clear-cut benefit of internships. From the research that was available, for students who participate in some sort of work experience or internship, were more successful at finding gainful employment upon graduation (Bathmaker, Ingram, & Waller, 2013; Inceoglu, Selenko, McDowall, & Schlachter, 2018; Moss-Pech, 2021). Research shows that voluntary internships provided students with more opportunities than mandatory ones (Bittmann & Zorn, 2019). The success of finding employment was influenced by the students’ major (Moss-Pech, 2021; Martini, Judges, & Belicki, 2015). Significant research into why students do not participate in internships was lacking from the research. Much of the published research was from one demographic area which limits generalizability (Hora, 2018; Hora, Huerta, Gopal, & Wolfgram, 2021; Hora, Chen, Parrott, & Her, 2020; Hora, Scaglione, Parrott, Chen, Wolfgram, & Kolar, 2018). This was an area that academia needs to better understand about internships, especially mandatory internships and how to support students to increase participation in this high impact practice. Information from students across disciplines and geographic locations provides an understanding of participation or lack of in internships. This data provides academia with information that can assist students who want to participate when there are barriers and how internships should be approached (Auerbach & Wolinsky-Nahmias, 2020; Bittman & Zorn, 2020; Farrow, Wetzel, & Leathem, 2021; Rogers, Miller, Flinchbaugh, Giddarie, & Barker, 2021). Students’ perspectives provide faculty and institutions with information to create internship courses to better link in-school with work experiences.


Melinda K Adams
Professor and Program Director, Fashion Management, University of the Incarnate Word, Texas, United States


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design Education


Internships, Participation, Barriers

Digital Media


Student Engagement in Internship Opportunities (mp4)