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Gaining experience in the workplace

At Queen’s, education is always happening inside and outside of classrooms, lecture halls and labs.

Through the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP), second- and third-year students can take part in 12 to 16 month experiential learning opportunities with partner employers on campus, in Kingston, and across Canada. The program is part of the university’s focus on growing experiential education opportunities. 

[Hind Mukhtar]
Hind Mukhtar, a fourth-year student in electrical engineering, right, recently completed a 16-month internship at Honeywell Aerospace in Kanata. She took part in the experiential learning opportunity through the Queen’s University Internship Program (QUIP). (Supplied Photo) 

For participating students in the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and in the School of Computing, an internship is an opportunity to build skills through work experience. Interns have completed a range of roles in fields including biotechnology, research and development, geographic information systems, software development, marketing and sales, and project management. 

QUIP continues to grow in popularity with approximately 250 students currently on internships, more than triple the number just a few years ago. 

“There’s growing interest in QUIP because it provides students the opportunity to take what they are learning through their studies and apply it to the workplace,” says Melissa Duggan, QUIP Internship Coordinator. “The internships also give students a chance to return to their studies with renewed energy and a deeper connection to course materials.”

Hind Mukhtar, a fourth-year student in electrical engineering, recently completed a 16-month internship at Honeywell Aerospace in Kanata. She took part in the program with the aim of gaining applicable work experience prior to graduation.

And that’s exactly what she got.

“I learned a lot of technical and professional skills. The technical skills that I gained from my internship will be beneficial while working on my fourth year capstone project. I also got a better idea of the field of work that I would like to pursue after graduation,” Mukhtar says. “Personally, I found this experience very crucial to my undergraduate career. I got a feel of what it’s like to be an engineer. I was able to apply all the concepts that I’m learning in school to real world applications.” 

Kelsey Sleep Jennings has returned for her fourth year in Global Development Studies after working for 12 months as a digital research intern with the Cultural Services Department of the City of Kingston. One of the main projects she was involved in was developing a three dimensional interpretive tour of City Hall. The work involved extensive research and gathering of information as she developed the model over a period of four months. 

Through this work she has not only gained valuable experience but also a better view of what direction her future career path may take.

“I think experiential learning opportunities are incredibly important for post-secondary students. They really give you the chance to break out of the university bubble and experience life and your education far beyond the limits of a classroom setting,” she says. “Without these experiences I think I would still be as lost as to what I wanted to do post-graduation as I was in the summer of 2017. I was able to experience working within a municipal government and really test-drive a career that I was interested in.” 

The internships have also proven positive for employers and the university.

“When we hear from former interns, they all say what a transformative experience it has been,” says Cathy Keates, Director of Queen’s Career Services. “At the same time our partner employers tell us about the contributions Queen’s students have brought to the workplace and the projects they are involved in. When the students return, they bring those skills and enriched perspectives to Queen’s.”

Employers continue to hire from Queen’s to tap into a talented pool of students from a diverse array of programs. The 12-16 month model also allows for a relatively high return on investment in training.

For those students interested in registering for the QUIP program for positions starting in May 2019, information sessions are being held this fall. 

For more information about QUIP and how to hire an intern for a role on campus, visit the Career Services website.