Loyola University Maryland

Department of Sociology


Why is an internship required?

Field experience in sociology enables students to:

  • Gain valuable experience related to future employment
  • Establish a track record that prospective employers or graduate programs can use to assess work habits and attitudes
  • Develop professional skills and competence in areas including agency research, practice intervention, policy formation and development, etc.
  • Determine how well suited they are in terms of skill and personality to particular kinds of work
  • Develop self-awareness and a style of professional practice that is consistent with their own personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Integrate sociological theory and analysis with practical experience accrued in a concrete work setting
  • Discuss professional issues and concerns that are not covered in other courses

All course information is current as of the catalogue year 2021-2022.

Sociology majors have options when it comes to internships:

The Sociology Internship and Practicum, SC 401 (a 150 hour commitment), is designed as a pre-professional experience for sociology majors and minors and other students interested in the field of sociology.

  • Students complete a minimum of 120 hours in their placement site over the course of the semester.
  • Placement sites include courts, social service offices, counseling centers, research centers, and federal/state/local government.
  • Students participate in 30 hours of classwork in a weekly seminar.
  • This course is offered annually in the spring to a limited enrollment.
  • Prerequisites: This course is restricted to juniors and seniors, who by this time will have completed the introductory course sequence. Written or electronic permission of the instructor is also required.
  • Interested students should contact the department chair or the instructor early in the fall semester before registering for the class. Students will not be permitted to enroll once the semester has started.

The Social Work Practicum and Seminar, SC 402 (a 150 hour commitment), is designed as a pre-professional experience for students interested in the field of social work.

  • Students complete a minimum of 120 hours in their placement site over the course of the semester.
  • Sociology students may complete internship placements in Social Work related settings (see SC 401 above).
  • Students participate in 30 hours of classwork in a weekly seminar.
  • This course is offered annually in the spring to a limited enrollment.
  • Prerequisites: This course is restricted to juniors and seniors, who by this time will have completed the introductory course sequence. Written or electronic permission of the department chair is also required.
  • Interested students should contact the department chair or the instructor early in the fall semester before registering for the class. Students will not be permitted to enroll once the semester has started.

The Forensic Studies Experience, SC 498, is intended for sociology students minoring in Forensics. This is a capstone experience in which a student may arrange an internship, independent study, or research experience with a faculty sponsor to engage in an in-depth exploration of a topic associated with forensic or criminal investigation.

  • Sociology students may complete internship placements in Criminal Justice related settings (see SC 401 above).
  • Sociology faculty will take on students to complete research/independent studies as they are able. Students are responsible for establishing working relationships with relevant sociology faculty. Students should secure a faculty sponsor and obtain the approval of the forensic studies director by the end of junior year.
  • Prerequisites: This course is generally completed by seniors, who by this time will have completed the introductory course sequence. Written or electronic permission of a sponsoring faculty member is also required.

How do I get an internship?

To complete SC 401, SC 402, or SC 498, students need to locate an internship site. Use the links below to find information about past internship placements for sociology students. Feel free to pursue other options in consultation with the Department Chair.

Use Career Center Resources and the Center for Community, Service, and Justice websites to locate/create other internship possibilities.

Student Reflections on the Internship Experience

The internship experience is profound for many students. They are able to apply their learning, to explore their interests, and to figure out what they want to do with their lives.

Conor Skelton, '17  Conor Skelton '17 standing in the snow

My spring semester I worked at the Baltimore City Health Department in the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. I was tasked with investigating emergency department data for street drug overdose clusters and creating unique school absenteeism thresholds for all 179 schools located in Baltimore. My surveillance was conducted on a daily basis and required a new perspective for developing statistical models of relevance; that is, I was able to develop a new framework for determining health risks in Baltimore City. I worked with other epidemiologists, which really gave me a realistic insight on how teams work in the "real world." On top of the epidemiological knowledge I gained, I also used the internship as a way to network with others in my field, where I was able to ask career-related questions and learn about the path that my coworkers took to get to where they are today.

Kathleen Matthews, '14

During the fall semester of my junior year I wrote a term paper entitled “Noticeably Uninsured: Exploring the Kathleen Matthews '14 smilingHealthcare System’s Failure to Accommodate the Missing Class in the United States” for Social Inequality (SC 361). The time I spent during this semester researching healthcare legislation, access, and affordability sparked my interest in marketing job opportunities within the health care field that carried forward when it came time to pick an internship for the Sociology Practicum (SC 401).

Spring semester of senior year I interned at CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, a not-for profit, non-stock health insurance company, in the Marketing and Product Development department. At CareFirst I worked directly with the project manager for the individual over 65 population to brainstorm and draft strategic marketing tactics that supported CareFirst’s corporate initiative – to provide high quality and affordable healthcare to a variety of consumers. I compiled member-facing marketing communications correspondences, monitored social media, and conducted various weekly and monthly reports and sales analyses. What made this experience so unique was that I was able to take part in new marketing initiatives that were directly related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The Sociology Practicum course provided an opportunity to reflect upon my experiences at CareFirst while also learning about other types of career paths through the experiences of my peers. As a class we also used our time to review resume writing and to fine tune our professional acumen. Having work experience under my belt made me feel more at ease while applying and interviewing for jobs.

Joe Kropff, '14

During my junior year I interned with the Baltimore City Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division.  The Baltimore City Police Department is the 8th largest police department in the United States (Department of Justice) and provides police services to the entire city of Baltimore.

Joe KropffThroughout the course of my internship I worked alongside detectives who investigated both property and violent crimes. I was able to observe how criminal cases are created, and how information is processed in these cases in order to locate possible suspects. During my time as an intern, I developed a better understanding of the emerging technologies that law enforcement personnel at all levels are using to suppress criminal activity and solve crimes.  Over the course of this internship I also developed vital professional and interpersonal skills that cannot be learned within the confines of a classroom.

The sociology courses that originally got me involved in the criminology aspect of sociology were SC 332 Crime and Criminals and SC 367 Criminal Justice. I strongly suggest that all students take advantage of internships in order to develop their own professional self as well as to gain a better understanding of what may or may not interest them.

Ivana Valenzuela, '13

Throughout my time at Loyola University Maryland I double majored in Spanish and Sociology. I acquired an internship with the state of Maryland, at the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives with Jessy Mejia, Assistant Director of both the Hispanic Commission and the Caribbean Commission. I worked with her multiple times a week throughout the semester. We worked on a lot of major projects together, such as planning the public meetings for the Hispanic and Caribbean commissions, foreign diplomatic visits to Maryland, various publications for the office and the annual report. I enjoyed working with her and learned a lot from the experience. Being able to put that experience in my resume helped me get the job that I have today as a translator for the Maryland Insurance Administration. I am glad that SC 401 was a requirement for me as a Sociology major because it motivated me to go out and find an internship that I would enjoy going to every week, learn a lot from, and that was related to my field.

Joe Dombrowski, '10

Joe Dombrowski '10 standing in a fieldIn the Spring Semester of 2010, I enrolled in the Sociology Internship and Practicum Course.  I interviewed for and received an offer to complete my internship at the Casey Cares Foundation in Baltimore.  The Casey Cares Foundation works with critically ill children through out Maryland and parts of Virginia, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.  Through events, "pajama" drives, support groups and vacation packages, the foundation tries to bring normalcy to the lives of critically ill children and their families.  I began my work unsure of how I would incorporate my experiences as a sociology major into my on site work as a "program management intern."   I spent time soliciting potential donors for contributions by phone, email, and written letter, contacting the program's families about upcoming events they might like to attend, and helping the foundation's staff with the Annual Auction Gala.

As my internship unfolded I began to see connections between my sociology coursework and the daily projects I was assigned.  I took notice of how the staff interacted with the program's families, current and potential donors, and fellow employees. By shadowing different staff members, I learned how to navigate through different levels of tact, compassion and persistence depending on the audience.

Through discussions with Dr. Vann and my fellow classmates each week, I realized that working at a nonprofit organization like Casey Cares was not something I wanted to do in my professional career. However, my experience helped me realize that I wished to help and empower disenfranchised families in some capacity following my undergraduate career.

Anthony DiRosa, '09

Anthony DiRosa '09 smilingFor my senior year internship I worked at the City Council President's Office in Baltimore. My office was in City Hall and I was working directly under the director for community affairs. I was involved with reaching out to the many neighborhoods and communities of Baltimore and relaying their problems and issues back to City Hall. …  Being around the Mayor, the City Council President, and various other important figures in Baltimore politics gave me a sense of confidence and a feeling that I was making important contributions alongside important people. I think for many students taking an internship can not only be a good way of figuring out what you want to do in your future, but also what you don't want to do. For example, I always knew I wanted to work in some form of government and by working in local city government I emerged with a much better understanding of what type of government setting was most interesting to me. Some of my sociology classes were very relevant to my internship especially Neighborhood and Communities in America with Professor Smith. Our discussions about social issues affecting cities and neighborhood in our country were apparent in my work at City Hall which helped me function and contribute more throughout my internship. … I'm going to Seton Hall University in the Fall [of 2010] for my Masters degree in International Relations and Diplomacy with the hopes of working in the federal government after I graduate. My internship senior year certainly helped me find my way and was a great experience for me professionally, academically, and personally.

Ashley Alexander, '09

Ashley Alexander '09 in her team uniformI was placed at the ARC and for me the most important thing that I learned was that you did not have to go far to see the poverty and injustices that were commonly talked about in class discussions and in our textbooks. It was rewarding to actually get out in field and see what things were really like. The internship also allowed me to put a name/theory to the concepts and behaviors that I was seeing.  It was one thing to read about it in the textbooks but it wasn't until I saw the theories being carried out in real life did they become concrete. The internship has shaped what I am currently doing because it opened my eyes to the injustices that are placed on children especially those who are homeless and those belonging to disenfranchised communities. Becoming a social worker will help in allowing me to speak up for these children who otherwise would not have a voice of their own.

Being involved in a varsity sport really made things difficult in picking a internship. Because of the limited time that I had during the school year, a summer internship during summer school was the best option. It gave me more time to really focus on my placement and allowed ample time for me to reflect and process the interactions and events that I had with my supervisors and others.

Justin White, '09

Justin White '09 in a classroomWhite was placed at Guilford Elementary/Middle School where he was a teacher’s aid in a 5th grade class. He also organized and implemented a young men’s group, M.A.N.Y Men (Mentoring and Nurturing Young Men) for the boys in the 5th grade and attended and supported programs at the school geared to increase family involvement.

I learned how complex it is to maintain a school community and its culture and how challenging it is to have a school be seen as an integral and positive part of a community.

My favorite Sociology course, and the one that made me want to become a Sociology Major, was Self and Society.  The entire course focused on the influences society has on our development of self as well as the “self’s” response to such structures and social scripts.  When working with the young men, I saw so many of the traditional male gender roles being upheld before my eyes.  Like many young men growing up in today’s American culture, they placed a huge emphasis on being tough, athletic, and down playing their feelings. These are the classic male gender roles that have been passed down to young men for centuries. The purpose of the group (MANY Men) was to give an outlet for the young men to just talk about different issues.  I was able to have a good conversation with the young men about respect and one young man recounted a story about being disrespected and he actually began to cry.  The other young men were supportive of him.

There are not many outlets in which young men, especially urban youth, to vent and discuss what they are feeling in positive setting.  I hoped for a brief while to expose the young men that I worked with to such an environment.

After my placement at Guilford Elementary/Middle I realized that I wanted to work in a school community.  I think schools are one of the most amazing entities in our social life.  Schools are where social scripts are taught, re-enforced, broken-down, and rebuilt.  Schools can be a vibrant source within a community providing not just education for youth but also support for parents and families. Or a school can be a sign of years of neglect from and within the community.

These thoughts have led me to become a Theology teacher at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School here in Baltimore City.  I am one of many teachers around the US who have become part of a new movement in education that combines college preparatory schooling and a work-study program for students that come from low economic means.  Cristo Rey schools exist to transform lives and break a link, even if it’s a small one, in the chain of poverty.

Sarah Carta, '09

Sarah Carta '09 smilingDuring my college career I had two internships. The first was the summer before my senior year at a non-profit organization in Manhattan called A Better Chance, Inc. While this experience was not through Loyola, it helped me gain a better understanding of the professional world and how my sociology degree could be translated into a job after college. My second internship was through the sociology department. I interned for Jill-Kristi Tyler, a school social worker and therapist who teaches Intro to Social Work at Loyola. My six-month internship was an in-depth look at social work in the Baltimore Public School system. I became proficient at leading group sessions and one-on-one counseling with students ages 5 to 15. I also developed a sense for the many roles of a social worker in a school system. Most importantly, this experience helped me rule out a possible career path, which can be just as important.

Currently, I am in my last year of graduate school at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. My major is Non-Profit Management. Next year, I will be working at a nonprofit that does capacity building and leadership training for other nonprofits. The spectrum of career opportunities after receiving a sociology degree is wide. My internship experiences helped me narrow my focus and played a key role in being accepted to graduate school.

Michelle Gawerc

Michelle Gawerc, Ph.D.

This sociology professor's work is driven by her dedication to peace, justice, and understanding