UW-Madison’s Hora, Chen receive NSF grant to study online internships during pandemic

UW-Madison’s Matthew Hora and Zi Chen received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study online internships amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

This award, for $145,000, is part of the NSF’s COVID-19 rapid grants program.

Hora and Chen
Hora and Chen

Hora, the principal investigator on the grant, is an assistant professor with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Policy Studies and the director of the Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions (CCWT) that’s housed within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER). Chen is an assistant researcher within WCER who works with CCWT on research projects.

The COVID-19 crisis has led many internships around the world to be cancelled or moved online, but little research exists on online or remote internships.

This six-month, mixed-methods study will examine college student experiences with the short-term “micro-internship” model offered by Parker Dewey. The researchers will also look at if and how STEM-related companies are shifting their internships to online modalities.

Results from the project will expand the field of higher and experiential education’s knowledge about online forms of work-based learning, and also provide actionable insights for colleges, employers, and students on how to best design and implement an online internship.

In addition, to help guide this project and inform the fields of higher education and experiential learning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, CCWT is releasing a new review of the academic and practitioner literatures on online and remote internships.