IMSA IN2 and TALENT Internship FAQ

Link to Internship Online Agreement Form

IN2 and TALENT Internships provide interested high school juniors and seniors intensive learning experiences working with STEM-based startups and other relevant organizations.

    What Internships does IMSA offer?

    IMSA offers internships through IN2 and TALENT:

    IN2 interns work with IN2 staff in supporting IN2 operations
    TALENT interns work with startups
    In general, other internships (universities, corporations, agencies) are not supported. For exceptions, contact an IN2 staff member.

    Where do Internships originate?

    Internships come from many sources and are vetted by the IN2 office:

    Alumni and parents who have an idea for a business or an existing business
    Businesses at local incubators such as 1871, Matter, Chicago Innovation Exchange, IN2, etc.
    Program mentors who consult with local businesses
    IMSA IN2 program leaders

    How does an Employer find an Intern?

    There are several ways to find an intern:

    Startups: Contact the TALENT Office at 630-907-5921 or write to TALENT Director
    Startups: Attend an Intern Open House at 1871 or IN2
    View available Interns online

    How does an Intern find an Employer?

    There are several ways to find an internship:

    Talk to IN2 or TALENT staff
    Attend an Intern Open House at 1871 or IN2
    View available Internships online

    What are the benefits of an IMSA internship?

    For the Intern:

    A good resume builder. The #1 criteria that helps students find employment is internship experience.
    Apply skills to real work: hands-on learning
    Internships may go on a student's transcript, and be useful for college applications
    Internships may result in published work, as in this case:

    For the Employer:

    Top-performing high school students, gifted in coding, research and more
    Affordable help--interns cannot be paid during the school year
    An active association with IMSA, the world’s leading teaching and learning laboratory for imagination and inquiry

    How does the Internship Program work?

    This is usually how it works, although it's not necessarily linear as shown:

    Employer interviews Interns
    Employer creates a Scope of Work
    In2/TALENT staff approves the Internship Opportunity
    Employer passes a background check
    Employer and Intern sign the online Internship Agreement
    Work is completed on a weekly basis (daily basis during the summer)
    Intern reports weekly on progress and learning
    Intern presents accomplishments at the conclusion of the internship
    Employer completes an evaluation for the Intern
    Internship goes on the Intern's transcript

    What criteria are used in approving an Internship Opportunity?

    Does the work have a STEM orientation? For example, TALENT works with students in pursuing STEM-related businesses. This does not mean that interning for a music store by designing its website is excluded. The nature of the work is what is important.
    Is this a short-term or long-term project? School year internships are held one day a week (on IMSA “I Days”), and possibly on other days or partial days. Summer internships may meet 5 days a week, June through the first week of August.
    What skills must the intern possess? These requirements come directly from the work to be done for the Provider. A list of tasks to be completed in a reasonable time frame is created and analyzed in terms of the skills needed and time available (internships are held one day a week during the school year). This list, along with the length and location of the internship informs the matching process.
    Where does the internship take place? Digital startups may be flexible in terms of where one works, either in an office or online. If the intern must travel to an office, where is it and what is the best way to get there? IMSA transports student by train to Union Station, Chicago, during the school year, but students find their own transportation in the summer or during breaks. If online, what technologies are needed to communicate effectively? A combination of face-to-face and remote interning is possible. The expectations of the Provider are taken into consideration.
    What are the qualifications of the intern Provider? The Provider is responsible for directing the intern’s work, overseeing the intern’s performance and providing appropriate resources for the work to be done. This may include providing a computer and software—as necessary—to complete the work assigned. A student may use his or her own equipment, but is not expected to pay for any resources needed. A provider is required to pass a background check (IMSA policy).

    What does the Internship Program cost?

    For the Intern:

    Approved Interns do not pay for transportation to Chicago. An exception occurs if the Intern misses the group shuttle or train. In that case, the Intern must pay the travel expense.
    Interns pay for lunch off campus (or may pack a free lunch at Sodexo)

    For the Employer (outside the Fox Valley):

    We ask for a $50 to $100 contribution per Intern to defray annual transportation costs (it costs IMSA $120 to transport each intern for the school year) Contribute Here
    During summers (and other breaks), interns may be paid, as desired

    How long is an internship?

    At a minimum, an internship lasts 15 sessions

    Internships may start any time during the school year or summer break, but to be considered for inclusion on a transcript, they should include at least 15 session (15 weeks over two semesters or 15 days during the summer).
    There are between 20 - 24 available I-Days during an academic year.
    Multiple short-term internships may be combined to satisfy the 15-session requirement. Internships may also extend over winter, spring and summer breaks.

    What is the Internship schedule?

    Wednesday I-Days for 2018-19:

    Sep 12, 19, 26
    Oct 3, 17, 24, 31
    Nov 7, 14, 28
    Dec 5, 12
    Jan 23, 30
    Feb 6, 13, 20
    Mar 6, 13, 20
    Apr 3, 10, 17

    What happens over Winter Break?

    There are no I-Days between Dec 12 and Jan 23. Students have vacation, attend Intersession and observe the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday during this block. Here are some ideas how to use this time productively:

    Interns may be available to work M-F that week if they do so in place of doing Intersession.
    Assign work to be done remotely and check in with Hangouts, etc.
    Work on lengthier assignments; do research
    On campus: meet after school and assign/monitor tasks

    What are the expections for Employers?

    Provide Scope of Work
    Pass Background Check
    Supervise the Intern’s work. Providers are expected to be mentors to interns, helping them understand the operation of the business, how a business develops and generally involving them in the life of the business, not just the specific (or compartmentalized) work to be accomplished. An internship is considered a learning experience.
    Communicate with IN2/TALENT leaders as requested or needed
    Submit an evaluation of the Intern’s work to IN2/TALENT leaders
    Provide a letter of recommendation, if requested
    Optional: Participate in the Intern’s final presentation
    Sign the Internship Agreement

    What are the expections for Interns?

    Interns must be juniors or seniors in good academic standing
    Obtain parents signatures on the Parental Approval form (academic year only)
    Select a prospective internship provider
    Meet the Provider to determine internship arrangements
    Complete tasks provided by providers, working a minimum of 15 “I Days” or while on breaks (Winter, Spring, Summer Breaks)
    Submit weekly progress reports to the Facebook Intern Group. The intern completes a written status report (journal or post) on work performed, lessons learned, problems and suggestions for improvement. This is done using a Private Facebook Group for IMSA Interns.
    Meet with Program leaders as requested or needed
    Prepare and present the final internship experience. After the internship concludes, or at a predetermined time, the intern may present a summary of the internship experience, work completed, lessons learned, problems and suggestions for improvement to the Provider. The presentation may be given at any approved location, including IMSA IN2 or 1871.
    Complete an evaluation (survey) or the internship experience, including major learning and next steps
    Sign the Internship Agreement

    What is expected of IMSA?

    Verify that all approvals and forms are properly signed
    Verify that Employer background check is passed
    Communicate with Employers and Interns to check on progress and determine if any intervention is necessary (beginning, midway and end of the internship)
    Meet the Provider to determine internship arrangements
    Check to see that reports are completed; this information may be used in conferring with Providers about an intern’s performance
    Help make arrangements for the Intern's final presentation
    Review all materials to recommend if the internship should be included on the student’s transcript