Message from the Dean

The power of internships

When Eily Cournoyer interviews for medical school, she will leave an impression. The chemical engineering student interned at the prestigious St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which accepts just under 10 percent of internship applicants. After her internship, the hospital and a national society independently bestowed top honors for the research she undertook at St. Jude. Her mentor at the hospital calls her “outstanding.”

Raymond Wright
Dean Raymond M. Wright

While Eily is profiled in the pages of this magazine, she is not the only engineering student who secured a competitive internship. About 85 percent of our students hold at least one internship before graduating.

Our internships reach around the world. All of our International Engineering Program students spend a semester abroad interning at an internationally renowned company. Closer to campus, more than 600 of our graduates interned at the prestigious Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I. Each year dozens of students find internships at local companies during career fairs that attract 50 to 70 companies.

The historical success in internship placement and our hands-on curriculum recently led the National Academy of Engineering to recognize the college for its ability to provide real-world experiences. It’s an award that confirmed what the college has long known: internships pay off.

Our students know that internships position them for rewarding careers. They also recognize that internships provide an immediate chance to make an impact, even before earning their diplomas. Just look at Eily. Her research advanced our understanding of a rare pediatric cancer.

Internships also serve a vital link between the University and the state’s economy. In the last issue of Innovations, we highlighted our capstone projects, an internship-like experience that connects students with companies working on real-world challenges in Rhode Island. The companies we work with include household names such as Amgen, General Dynamics, Toray Plastics and many more. Helping these local companies helps them stay competitive and bolsters our economy. It’s nothing short of a win-win for the students and the economy.

I could not be more proud of our interns’ impact on our economy and their dedication to shaping the world of tomorrow.

Raymond M. Wright, Ph.D., P.E.