That Time I… got an internship as a freshman


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Students raising their hands for the teacher. Columnist Emily Beebe gained internship experience her freshman year as a student-teacher.

It was November of my freshman year at NIU when I received an email from someone through the College of Education. The email was about a paid internship called Exploration University and it took place at Winnebago Elementary School in Bloomingdale. Once I received this email, it sounded very interesting and I wanted to know more. Having the opportunity sounded really cool, plus I figured it would look good on my resume in the future.

Exploration University was where I would go to the school on Saturday mornings and the students would participate in a STEM class all about building different designs with hands-on activities. 

This optional program was for kindergarten through eighth grade. The whole internship was co-teaching, so I was paired up with another intern and taught a class with a certain number of kids in it. The program usually lasted for eight to 10 weeks and they would give some Saturdays off for winter break and other holidays. 

My dad was actually the one who encouraged me to apply. I originally was not going to apply, because I knew that most people did not get internships until their junior or senior year, so I kind of thought I didn’t have a shot.

I applied anyway and around December of 2021, the people in charge of the program emailed me back and said that I got the position. I was so shocked because I didn’t think I was going to get it. 

When I taught sixth grade for the first section, I focused on teaching them how to create bioplastics. They used different chemicals to create a bowl made out of bioplastics. When I taught seventh and eighth grade combined, I focused on creating helmets to help protect from concussions and brain damage. When I taught kindergarten and first grade combined, I focused on simple machines such as a pulley. 

The internship taught me valuable skills for when I start student-teaching and when I start actually teaching. 

Getting a paid internship my freshman year taught me to follow my dreams and to take risks because sometimes they just might pay off. I think my experience is important for other freshmen to hear because if you get an opportunity like that as a freshman, you should go for it and apply. You might get it, just like I did.