Stepping Out of the Lab: Maximizing Access and Experience for Internships in Toxicology

A major goal of the SOT Education Committee is to expand opportunities for students to engage in internships within industry, government, and nonprofit organizations. Immersion in internships provides students unique appreciation of the day-to-day activities of toxicologists and paths for success in these sectors. Such opportunities can help students establish their professional network, build confidence in career choices, and ultimately better prepare for transitioning into these sectors upon graduation. While numerous industries and governmental agencies have internship programs, or comparable opportunities, identifying these opportunities can be challenging. There are also barriers associated with funding, mentor buy-in, timing of the internship relative to the student’s graduate training, and feasibility for international student participation. The goal of this session was to bring together the various stakeholders—graduate students, faculty, and those hosting interns—to discuss best practices for developing internships, and strategies for increasing the number of available internships as well as improving awareness and access to available internships. The session consisted of five presentations followed by a group discussion on strategies that the SOT Graduate Education Subcommittee might develop to increase internship opportunities and overcome barriers for industry and government to host interns, and for graduate students to attain highly competitive internships. The formal talks began with a presentation by an individual who completed an internship as a graduate student discussing the benefits and logistical challenges of internship experiences, followed by presentations from representatives of two graduate training programs that have used different approaches for identifying internship opportunities for their graduate trainees, and representatives from industry and government discussing the opportunities and challenges of developing and advertising internships. Throughout this session, audience participation and feedback were enabled with real-time polling and discussion.

Primary Endorser: Education Committee
Endorser(s): Career Resource and Development Committee
Endorser(s): Graduate Student Leadership Committee