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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2021 ; 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1696257


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted life on campuses and around the world. During April 2020, the Student Engineers' Council (SEC) at Texas A&M University recognized that many students in the College of Engineering were notified their summer internships with companies had been cancelled. It was devastating to students who wondered how they were going to replace the professional development experience outside of the classroom. Reacting to this emergency, within three weeks, the President of SEC and Professors of the Practice from the engineering entrepreneurship program developed a summer instruction program which focused on professional skill development through a virtual implementation. All faculty involved had implemented internship programs in their companies and were convinced that a program could be offered, not to completely replace an internship at a company, but to build the professional skills students would need in their jobs. Ultimately, the virtual internship program involved over 350 students, almost 60 mentors, and seven faculty. It was divided into two 6-week phases - 1) professional skill training and 2) teamwork project implementation. Surveys were conducted pre- and post-training to assess the effectiveness of individual skill development and determine what elements of the program should be continued. A final survey was conducted of students and mentors to assess the effectiveness of teamwork development. Participants reported increases in development of individual skill areas over the course of the program. When rating their team performance, participants ratings were between somewhat agree and agree on the majority of the aspects of team performance assessed. Overall, participants had a positive view of their experience in the program. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2021