Women's and Gender Studies

Internship in Women's and Gender Studies

This internship is an elective within the women's studies minor (WGST 4303), adding a policy and applied component to the existing scholarly curriculum. The internship offers students experience with organizations serving women or addressing women's and gender issues, as well as with varied potential careers, or volunteer opportunities in the community. Click here for more information about locating and preparing for internships.

This is primarily an off-campus experiential course based in community organizations. The experience will reflect the goals and activities of the particular organization hosting the intern. Typical organizations that would sponsor internships might include Planned Parenthood, Women's Museum, Genesis House, Girls Inc., Vogel Alcove, Echo Theater, Family Place, Girl Scouts, YWCA, or the Women's Resource Center.

The student will meet periodically with the faculty sponsor at intervals to be determined at the onset of the internship, to review the student's journal, which should report and reflect on each experience with the community organization. The student will also be expected to meet with the faculty sponsor to discuss plans for the final report, and to review the report.

Since students will be working with organizations serving women and addressing women's and gender issues, they will become sensitized to ways in which gender affects the structure and meaning of daily life in the United States. They will also be exposed to important cultural dilemmas and debates surrounding gender. The internship experience is intended to develop leadership skills, and to provide role models of women's involvement in public policy for young women who may in turn then serve in this capacity.

Course Objective

To give students familiarity and experience with organizations serving women and addressing women's and gender issues in the community.

Prerequisites

Faculty sponsorship and approval of community organization are required. Students must have at least sophomore standing and appropriate introductory course preparation, such as WGST 2322 or substitute, with WGST Director approval.

Topical Outline of the Course

The internship will follow guidelines established by the faculty sponsor, student, and community organization:

  1. The faculty sponsor and student initially would meet to discuss the scope of the internship, determine the appropriate organization, and determine a relevant reading list.
  2. The faculty sponsor and student would meet with the supervisor at the community organization to discuss parameters of student involvement and set goals for the internship.
  3. The faculty sponsor and student set a schedule of periodic meetings, at which the student will submit journal reports
  4. The faculty sponsor will contact the community organization to evaluate the student's participation periodically during the semester.

Methods of Evaluation

The student will prepare a final report of at least 15 pages, based on readings and the internship experience, on a topic established early in the internship. The paper should demonstrate the student's critical ability to relate the practical experience of the internship to scholarship in women's studies. Journal and the paper will each count for approximately 50% of the grade. A minimum of eight hours weekly of work per semester would be expected for a 3-hour course.

Principal Readings and Other Materials

Readings will vary by faculty and organization. For example, if the internship involved working at a battered women's shelter, the student might read:

  • Koss, Mary et al. No Safe Haven: Male Violence Against Women at Home, at Work, and in the Community. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
  • Browne, A. When Battered Women Kill. New York: Free Press.
  • Herman, Judith. Trauma and Recovery. New York: Basic Books.

Both the women's studies program and the women's center have extensive publication collections accessible to students, and supplementing library holdings.

Contact Us

Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions.

Joci Caldwell-Ryan
Lecturer
317 Clements Hall, Box 0227
Dallas, TX 75275
214-768-3612
jcryan@smu.edu