Internships/Independent Study/Capstone

The Capstone – Internship and independent study information

Internships and independent studies within the certificate program are considered capstones that provide both the faculty and the student with a measure of the GIS skills acquired from the program. As such, both should be taken in the final semester of activity related to the certificate. GISC certificate internships are not related to other internship related activities that a student might have or be contemplating enrolling in to satisfy other course related credits. Students must select either the Internship or the Independent.

The internship (GISc 499) or the independent study (GISc 491), can be completed when the student has completed 16 GISc credits, 4 of which must be GISc 450.  Alternatively, GISc450 and either GISc491 or GISc 499 can be taken concurrently in cases where a student faces a graduation deadline.

Eligibility Guidelines

In order to register for the capstone, the following goals must have been obtained:

1. The student must be currently enrolled in the GISC Certificate Program.
2. The student must an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher in all GISc eligible certificate courses.
3. The student must meet all pre-requisites course requirements outlined in the certificate guidelines.

a. The capstone can be completed in parallel with GISc 450 if all other perquisites have been completed.

Internship or Independent Study?

There are substantial differences in the approaches taken between the independent study and the internship. Students are free to choose the option that best serves their situation.

Internships provide students with experiential learning, exposes them to a GIS work environment and can potential lead to ongoing summer internships or jobs.

The independent study option is also favored for students engaged in research projects with other faculty members, for students who are unable to secure an internship or for students who cannot travel to an internship.  In the event a student cannot find an internship the independent study is the only option remaining.

Internships

Internships are a very important. They provide the student with work place experience an opportunity to showcase and expand their GIS skills in a real-world environment and they expose students to project management, team work and social aspects of the work place.  In addition, internships provide faculty with a metric to assess the student’s progress in the program and help to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the program that will aide in future growth and development.

Internships require students to work on site, working closely with the sponsor.  The obligation is to complete 126 hours of ‘work’ during the semester.  The student should strive to be at the internship site one day a week for at least 12 weeks.  In many cases additional work to satisfy the hourly obligation of the internship can be completed off-site – at the university or from home.

internships (GISc 499) students are ultimately responsible for identifying and making the appropriate arrangement with a sponsor/mentor. Prior to any formal discussion with a potential internship sponsor students must meet with their adviser for approval. Students are free and encouraged to identify internships on their own but should not agree to any commitment until they have discussed the opportunity with their adviser.

With adviser approval students will arrange to meet with their sponsor and work out a project that meets the requirements of the capstone. If requested, Dr. Rizzo and other GIS faculty can assist in identifying internship opportunities but these opportunities cannot be guaranteed.

In the context of an internship the student‐sponsor relationship should be modeled along the lines of a client‐consultant relationship. Internships can be paid or unpaid. Sponsors need to have a stake in the intern’s success and must be engaged in the work to ensure success. The role of the sponsor is to help define a research topic, provide an overview of past and current approaches to the problem and in general provide the student with a solid understanding of the problem and what is expected from the student.  The sponsor has a responsibility to report progress, or the lack there of, to the GIS program Director.

The policies and procedures for Internships related to the GISc Certificate Program are designed to provide guidance to participants. The participants include the student, the internship sponsor and the faculty advisor. Each member is a vital part of this academic endeavor. Participants collectively and cohesively work together to fulfill the obligation stated in the outline of assigned tasks. Critical Dates and Deliverables are as follows:

1. Prior to the semester – registration
2. End of first week of classes – registration complete
3. 4th week of classes – Outline of assigned tasks

4. 12th week of classes  – Sponsor evaluation

5. Last week of classes – paper and presentation
6. Last week of classes – Internship Reflection

 

1. Eligible students are able to register during the regular registration period. The process is paper based requiring students to partially complete the internship form which can be found here:

http://www.umw.edu/careercenter/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2016/06/fall17internshipcontract.pdf

An example of the form showing what fields must be completed is shown below.  The check marks indicate fields that must be completed by the student. Under normal circumstances Dr. Rizzo will sign fields as indicated above. In the event he is not available Dr. Gallagher is authorized to sign. In such cases Dr. Rizzo must be notified of the action.

PASTE internship contract image here!

 

Sponsor information may be left blank if not known at the time of registration.  If details of the internship are incomplete at the time of initial registration the second page is NOT required.

Only the first page is required for initial registration, BUT students are responsible for reading and abiding to the rules and regulations set forth in the second page of the internship contract.

Submission of the signed form commits students to the registration process.

2. Prior to the Drop period of the semester the student must either complete the form or advise the registrar of a DROP. If for some reason the internship is not viable the student is responsible for DROPPING the course.
a. Keep a copy of the registration form. Use it to complete the registration process if necessary once details of the internship have been completed.

3. Within the first 4 weeks of the internship students must submit an Initial Report via canvas which contains a brief narrative outlining the general duties\responsibilities\tasks that will take place. This report is to be completed on the form located here:

https://cas.umw.edu/gis/files/GISc499_Intial Report.doc

This report must not exceed the page.  Be sure to complete all fields. In the narrative touch up the skills sets that you feel will be applied, the goals of the effort and your specific tasks over the course of the internship. The final report can address any changes from this initial report that may take place during the course of the internship.

4. Sponsor evaluation.

Around week 12  a representative from the Career Services office will forward an internship evaluation to your sponsor. The student should confirm receipt of the evaluation form to ensure the sponsor has received it.

Upon completion the sponsor must return the completed evaluation within the time frame outlined in the request. Career Services will forward a copy to the Director of the GIS program. The evaluation is heavily weighted in the grading process.

5. The presentation and the paper are due on the last day of classes. They must be submitted to canvas together in a zip file with the following naming convention.

  • Lastname_Firstname_Internship (name of the zip file)
  • Lastname_Firstname_Paper (name of the paper)
  • Lastname_Firstname_Presentation (name of the presetnation)

Paper Format

Papers should be formatted using the following metrics:

  • 1- 1/2 spacing
  • 8‐1/2 x 11 page size

The paper should be 8-15 pages in length.  The wide range in length allows for the inclusion of multiple maps and graphs if required.  All maps must be formatted to fit a single page this is to ensure that they can be easily assessed and graded.  Remember maps are often the focal point of your efforts.

The paper must have a  cover sheet with the following information:

  • Title of the paper
  • Date,
  • Name
  • Course name
  • Professor’s name.

Tables and figures (including maps) should be numbered consecutively throughout the text. Tables and figures (including maps) should be numbered consecutively throughout the text and must have descriptive captions.  Maps or figures not generated by the student must be cited.  APA guidelines are to be used. Information on these guidelines can be obtained here:

http://academics.umw.edu/writing-fredericksburg/printed-resources-and-links/

 

6. You will also have an opportunity to provide your feedback about the experience by completing the Internship Reflection form which is to be completed using the form below and submitted to canvas prior on or before the last day of classes:

https://cas.umw.edu/gis/files/GISc499_InternshipReflection.doc

This is an opportunity for students to identify the value of their existing GIS skills and to highlight skills that they found lacking. The reflection document will help us focus the program on the skills that are most desirable and important to student’s success.
Any questions or concerns should be directed to Dr. Brian Rizzo, GIS Program Director.

http://www.umw.edu/careercenter/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2016/06/fall17internshipcontract.pdf

Independent Studies

Students opting for an independent study (GISC 491) will work closely with their faculty advisor.  A faculty member from any department can serve as the faculty advisor for the capstone.  Together with the faculty advisor the student will develop a proposal outlining the objectives and methodology to be employed.  Once complete, the student must arrange to meet with Dr. Rizzo to discuss the project and gain approval.  If approved, the student will work closely with the faculty advisor to fulfill the objectives.

Critical Dates and Deliverables are as follows:

1. Prior to the semester – project discussion
2. End of first week of classes – registration complete
3. 7th week of classes – progress report
4. Last week of classes – paper and presentation
5. Last week of classes – Independent study Reflection

 

1. Prior to the semester students must have identified a capstone advisor, discussed the goals and objectives of the study, and presented the information to Dr. Rizzo for approval.  

Once the proposal is approved the student may register for the course. The process is paper based.   The forms can be obtained from Dr. Rizzo.  The form must be completed and all signatures must be secured. Dr. Rizzo will serve as signatory as both the GISc advisor and the department chair.  All information and signatures must be secured prior to final signatures from Dr. Rizzo.  An example of a completed form is shown below:

2. Registration must be complete by the ADD\DROP date.

3.  Prior the midterm break, Week 7, a one page progress report must be submitted to canvas.  The report is to be prepared on the progress report form that can be obtained from here:

4.  A power point presentation, poster and a research paper and all related project files must be completed and submitted to canvas on the Friday of the last week of classes no later than 5:00 P.M.  

All files related to the independent study must be submitted to canvas.

The appropriate naming conventions should be applied to the various project files as specified below:

  • Lastname_Firstname_IndependentStudy (name of the zip file)
  • Lastname_Firstname_Paper (name of the paper)
  • Lastname_Firstname_Presentation (name of the presentation)Lastname_Firstname_ProjectData(name of the project data folder)
    • This should be an ArcGIS Pro Project with accompanying geodatabase as well as other projected related files.  The data must be filtered to represent only the data that was used in the project.
    • If the zip files exceeds 50 MB, the files must be delivered to Dr. Rizzo directly via thumb drive.

The paper should contain the following sections:

  • Abstract
    Introduction
    Methods
    Analysis
    Conclusion

Abstract

This is the last section that is written. Here one must concisely state the purpose of the investigation, the methods employed and the conclusions. This section is rarely more than a single paragraph

Introduction

This is perhaps the most important part of the paper. If you don’t grab the attention of the reader here chances are they will not read the paper! Once you’ve decided what your topic is going to be, you must be able to put it into context. This should provide the reader with a good reason to keep reading while providing them with information relevant to the topic. This section should include your literature review, background of the problem and introduce the most recent approaches. The end of this section should lead directly into your approach and provide a justification for why it is important enough for you to investigate.

Methods

This section described what was done, how it was done and how the results will be analyzed. You should provide detailed information on the research design, software (extensions or scripts), equipment, data sets and variables used in the study. The method section should provide enough information to allow other researchers to replicate your experiment or study.

Analysis

Here you present your findings to support your research question. This section often requires some quantitative analysis and will include maps, graphs, images, tables, etc. to illustrate your key points in support of your objective.  It is important to use appropriate titles, legends and other supporting elements to insure the reader understands what the map, graph, table, etc. is illustrating. It is not necessary to present every map, table or graph you created.  You must be selective.  It is often prudent to state what you did not find as this may help others avoid undertaking unnecessary aspects of the study.

Conclusion

The final section of the paper should summarize the results of your research and offer some concluding remarks. A good start point is to restate your hypothesis, problem or question that you are investigating. If you are ‘stuck’ for a conclusion look back at your introduction; see if you can freshly reemphasize your objectives by outlining how they were met, or even revisit an opening scenario from the introduction in a new light to illustrate how the paper has brought about change. Your conclusion should not be a summary of the paper or a simple tacked‐on ending, but a significant and logical realization of the paper’s goals.

a rough guide to the length of this section is that it should not be more than one third of the total length of the paper (Introduction + Methods + analysis + Conclusion).

It is possible to compose an adequate discussion around the points outlined below. Writing the discussion:

• Summarize the major findings
• Discuss possible problems with the methods used
• Compare your results with previous work
• Discuss the clinical and scientific (if any) implications of your findings
• Suggest further work
• Produce a succinct conclusion

Paper Format

Papers should be formatted using the following metrics:

  • 1- 1/2 spacing
  • 8‐1/2 x 11 page size

The paper should be 8-15 pages in length. The wide range in length allows for the inclusion of multiple maps and graphs if required. All maps must be formatted to fit a single page this is to ensure that they can be easily assessed and graded. Remember maps are often the focal point of your efforts.

The paper must have a cover sheet with the following information:

  • Title of the paper
  • Date
  • Name
  • Course name
  • Professor’s name.

Tables and figures (including maps) should be numbered consecutively throughout the text and must have descriptive captions. Maps or figures not generated by the student must be cited.  APA guidelines are to be used. Information on these guidelines can be obtained here:

http://academics.umw.edu/writing-fredericksburg/printed-resources-and-links/

 

If you have further questions about either of these programs, please contact Dr. Brian Rizzo at rizzo@umw.edu at (540) 654-1386.