Junior Practicum Program


Six students sit around a table, talking and smiling.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Oberlin College

The Career Development Center and Office of Undergraduate Research are excited to launch the Junior Practicum program beginning September 2020. The practicum program provides third-year students with a unique and engaging opportunity to develop new knowledge and skills related to career readiness and research. 

This practicum program will kick off with a virtual Career Readiness and Skill-Building Summit throughout the month of September and will involve a variety of faculty, staff, industry leaders, and alumni delivering interactive workshops on technical skills and professional development. At the conclusion of the Summit (between October-December), juniors will engage in experiential practice in one of two ways: 

  1. Career Communities micro-internship with an alumni or parent sponsor
  2. Research-based project with a faculty mentor

Students who complete the virtual Summit and experiential practice are eligible to receive up to $800 for their work. Ultimately, the Junior Practicum program will provide a robust experiential opportunity for juniors while you are away from campus, so you do not lose momentum toward your career or graduate school pathway.

Career Readiness and Skill-Building Summit

The Summit will take place virtually, Monday-Friday from September 8 - October 2, and will earn Winter Term credit. The purpose of the Summit is to provide you with a variety of skills-based training and professional development workshops, so you feel prepared and confident to navigate your future career. You will network with industry leaders and alumni to gain insight into workplace culture and learn new skills to compliment your career interests. 


By participating in the Summit, you will be able to:

  • Articulate your professional value through interviewing, resumes, and cover letter writing;
  • Network with alumni and prospective employers from career fields of interest; 
  • Gain insight into workplace culture on topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, self-efficacy, and performance management;
  • Develop technical and soft skills related to career readiness, such as research and analysis, digital technology, project management, and time management;
  • Design a career management action plan to utilize in the future.

In addition to the workshops, the Summit will explore complex problems (such as police brutality, criminal justice reform, immigration issues, income disparity, public health, etc.). Participants will be clustered around a common social problem and grapple with real-world issues using a career-readiness or research lens. Within each cluster, students from multiple career interests and majors (such as natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and performing arts) will analyze the social problem using critical perspectives and methodologies from their respective fields. Participants will engage in cohort-based exercises, demonstrating how the problem can be approached using many points of view. 

Junior Practicum Keynotes

As part of the Junior Practicum and its Summit, Oberlin students heard from visionary leaders in a range of fields about a series of ‘‘Complex Problems.’’ From climate change to public health to reproductive freedom, these keynotes revealed the most pressing challenges of our time, and the skills and approaches that will help Obies discover their purpose and make a difference.

The keynotes featured presentations by accomplished professionals in a wide range of career fields: public health, media, the arts, social and natural sciences, politics and diplomacy, and more.

View the Keynote Presentations

Winter Term Credit

Students who successfully complete the Summit will receive Winter Term credit. Please note that this program is the only option for juniors to receive Winter Term credit in the 2020-21 academic year.

Experiential Tracks

After completing the Summit, participants will be connected with an Oberlin alum, parent, or faculty member to pursue either an 8-week remote Career Communities micro-internship (sponsored by an alum or parent) OR a remote research-based project (sponsored by a faculty member). Click on one of the buttons below to learn more about each track.

Dear Juniors,

I am writing to announce that the application for the new Junior Practicum program is now live. The program is designed to help you develop professional skills, grow your network, and land an internship or research opportunity during your time away from campus. You can read more about both components of the Junior Practicum, including the virtual summit in September that counts for Winter Term credit, here.

For those of you who are ready to get started, the link to the application is here. Applications are due Friday, July 17 at midnight eastern time.

For those of you who may not be sold quite yet, here’s my pitch: I genuinely believe that the Junior Practicum will put each of you in a position to succeed — not just in the context of this program, but down the road as well. Here’s why:

  • Conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. While navigating predominantly white institutions is one thing in the context of higher education, understanding the role of identity in the workplace and finding supportive employers is a new and important challenge. During the summit in September, programming will support students of color, as well as queer and trans students, in navigating these challenges. White students will receive training on allyship in the workplace for when they graduate from Oberlin. Intercultural competency is a vital skill for all graduates, and we want to make sure that each of you have what you need in order to thrive in diverse work environments.
  • Bringing your values into the workplace. Your career goals are not mutually exclusive with making the world a better place, and you do not need to simply settle for your job and your values to align — they can be one and the same. And, given the collective challenges we face, they should be. This program is not about fitting you into a cookie-cutter mold of a college graduate, just so that we can say that we did something for our juniors while they were away from campus. While we certainly do want to provide you with opportunities, they should be the opportunities you care about. We want to put you on a path toward professional success that will not require you to sacrifice who you are and what you care about.
  • Building tools to navigate evolving post-grad challenges. It’s true that, because of COVID-19, employers are less flexible. Internships and on-the-job training may be more difficult to find. That’s why, through the Junior Practicum, we are doing something we’ve never done before: Offering industry-specific skills-based training sessions across all industries, to ensure that you are ready for your fall internship or research opportunity, as well as future employment in the field of your choice.

As the Junior Practicum continues to take shape, I am reminded of how much your class has grown over the last two years, and the incredible work you have already undertaken. I am also reassured by the truth that your best is yet to come, and hope that you will consider the Junior Practicum as an option to help you achieve your goals.



  • Registration Opens - Monday, July 6 
  • Registration Deadline - Friday, July 17
  • Career Readiness Summit - September 8 - October 2
  • Micro-Internship OR Research Project - October 12 - December 4 (exact dates flexible based on individual assignments)

  • Registration window: Monday, July 6th through Friday, July 17th
  • Program participants will receive Winter Term credit for the Summit portion of the program
  • When registering for the program, you will select a complex problem and career community that you would like to explore
  • Students who have other plans between October and December and wish to participate in the Winter Term only may choose to do so. However, students must participate in the Summit to be eligible for a micro-internship or research project


If you have questions about the Junior Practicum program, please contact ocareers@oberlin.edu.