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Entrepreneurship Training for NEWPATH Students: IT Internships

[Note:: If you are an international student on an F-1 visa, it is important that you understand the INS requirements concerning internships etc. before you start your internship. Otherwise, you run the risk of violating the terms of your visa which can have serious consequences for your continued stay at OSU. If you are such a student, please make sure to read this summary information. You should also check with the Office of International Affairs (contact information in the summary information page).]

One of the key elements of the NEWPATH program is the training in entrepreneurial principles and practices that it provides to students. An essential component of this is the requirement that all students in the program complete two 3-month long part-time (50% time) internships (or, equivalently, a single 3-month long full-time internship).

TechColumbus, an important partner of the NEWPATH team, will actively help place NEWPATH students in these internships. Given its broad range of activities during the last several years in supporting and nurturing IT startups, as well as its ties to larger IT organizations in the Central Ohio region, TechColumbus will be able to identify suitable internship opportunities for NEWPATH students.

Typically, students will undertake the first of their two internships during the summer quarter at the end of their sophomore year. By this time, students should have completed several of the courses in the entrepreneurship minor as well as the initial portion of the computer science curriculum. They would also have completed Comm 321, the course on public speaking, and CSE 601, the course on social and ethical issues in computing. Thus, they will be well prepared to both contribute positively to the IT venture in which they serve as interns and also to learn and absorb important lessons from their experience.

By the time of their second internship during the summer quarter at the end of their junior year, students should have completed the entrepreneurship minor program, all of the required computing courses, as well as the capstone design course. It is expected that at least some of these students will, possibly as a result of their capstone design projects, have some preliminary ideas that can form the core of an IT venture. Hence this internship, especially if it is in a startup, should help them develop a good understanding of the numerous problems that must be addressed and pitfalls avoided between a technically sound idea and a successful venture based on the idea. Further, the intense team-work that is a central part of the capstone design course means that some of these students would have identified and established close working relations with other students who can partner together in planning, designing, and running IT ventures. All of this should help prepare the students to be successful in the culminating e-practicum in the autumn and winter quarters of the senior year, followed, at least in the case of some of some of the student teams, by the actual creation and running of small IT ventures in the spring quarter and beyond.

It should be stressed that supervisors of the interns, in the IT organizations in which NEWPATH students are placed in internships, will be fully aware of the program's objectives and expected outcomes. They will work closely with the students' faculty advisors and with the students' mentors from TechColumbus to ensure that the internships contribute effectively toward achieving NEWPATH's outcomes.

During each internship, students will be paid an appropriate salary. IT startups of the kind that TechColumbus incubates and nurtures would be ideal organizations for NEWPATH students to intern at. But many of these, since they are yet to establish themselves, may be unable to pay (adequate) salaries to the interns. In such cases, NEWPATH will use NSF funds to provide or supplement these salaries. In the longer term, a continuing fund, with contributions from local IT industries including, especially successful ventures set up by NEWPATH graduates, will be used for this purpose.

Evaluation is an important aspect of NEWPATH. The NEWPATH team is working on developing suitable ways to evaluate the effectiveness of the internship program. The NEWPATH faculty have developed two rubrics for this purpose. One of these is to be completed by the intern's immediate supervisor; this rubric evaluates both the student's preparation for doing the work as well as the quality of his or her work as an intern. The other rubric is to be completed by the student; this rubric evaluates the contribution that the internship made to the student's knowledge about IT-entrepreneurship and his or her skills essential in becoming an IT-entrepreneur.

If you were on an internship during the past quarter, please have your immediate supervisor complete the following rubric (and click the "submit" button once the form has been completed):

Supervisor's evaluation of NEWPATH student intern.

Also please complete the following rubric, providing us an evaluation of your internship:

NEWPATH student's evaluation of internship.