by Jewel Caruso
In the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Journal, emeritus professor, Karen Webber, and associate professor, Amy Stich, published their article, "The importance of career competencies in work related experiential activities for engineering and computer science majors." McBee doctoral students Matthew Grandstaff and Collin Case contributed to the research and writing for the paper.
In the article, they explain how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are increasingly important in the United States. Work-related experiential activities (WREAs) are a highly recommended "tool to support students in developing the kinds of skills needed for employment." NACE defines career readiness as a "foundation from which to demonstrate requisite core competencies that broadly prepare the college educated for success in the workplace and lifelong career management."
Their research draws on the impact of internships and cooperative education activites on student preparedness for full-time work. The students who participated in their study reported that exposure to the real-world experience was profound. In the words of one respondent, "interacting in a professional setting; establishing relationships with employers; and understanding how to connect others in the profession."
Overall, Webber, Grandstaff, Case, and Stich concluded that WREAs are invaluable experiences for college students. They also offer wats to improve upon the WREA experience. To fully investigate their research, please read their article on NACE's website.