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Human Development and Family Studies
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Intern aids a woman through the health care process.

Human Development and Family Studies is focused on applied developmental science and hands-on learning in real world environments. The department supports students’ efforts to pursue internships, identify clubs and volunteer work, and participate in other opportunities to explore career interests and build their resume.

Capstone Experience

All HDFS students select and complete a Capstone Experience. For most students, this is a full-semester internship working under the supervision of a professional in the field of their choice. The internship allows students to apply what they've learned in their course work in a professional setting. A well-designed, goal-aligned internship helps students:

  • develop important interpersonal and professional competencies,
  • gain essential work experience,
  • build their professional network, and
  • cultivate valuable professional references for work or graduate school applications.

Finding, applying to, and navigating an internship also develops job search and negotiation skills that are essential for lifelong career satisfaction.

Support for Internships from a Full-Time Internship Coordinator

HDFS has a full-time, experienced internship coordinator to support our students as they identify, apply to, and participate in hands-on learning experiences.

Consults with students icon-olus-circle

The internship coordinator consults with students at any point in their degree program to help them select hands-on opportunities to explore their interests and build skills.

Maintains Database of Opportunities icon-olus-circle

The internship coordinator maintains lists of local club, volunteer, paid work, credit-bearing, and internship opportunities to help our students get involved.

Teaches the Internship Courses icon-olus-circle

The internship coordinator teaches a two-semester internship sequence for our Capstone students that is based on research about career development and experiential learning. This course sequence includes:

  • HDFS 490: An internship preparation class to help students explore their career interests, identify potential internship sites, improve their resumes and cover letters, build their interviewing skills, and prepare for their internship.
  • HDFS 495 A&B: A full-semester internship with additional support that includes assignments to learn broadly about the organization and field, feedback from internship supervisors, support and professional development for students, and reflection on the field experience.
Organizes Additional Connections icon-olus-circle

The internship coordinator organizes guest lectures, career panels, and one-on-one connections between current students and HDFS alumni to further promote career exploration and development.

In surveys of graduating students, many indicate that the internship sequence, with professional support and guidance throughout, was one of their most meaningful learning experiences.

To learn more about internships in HDFS, contact the internship coordinator or the HDFS academic adviser.