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Why Do a Sociology Internship?

The goals and desired outcomes for our student interns are as varied as the sites served but include the following:

  • expanding your current knowledge about particular issues
  • developing awareness of multiple perspectives on a problem
  • learning to analyze problems and issues from the view of the “other”
  • learning about different organizational cultures
  • practicing research methods and linking them with applied theory
  • practicing leadership and teamwork skills
  • practicing oral and written communication skills
  • practicing networking and career preparation 

The issues of poverty, crime, drugs, race and ethnic relations, domestic violence, inequality, urban development, environmental degradation, criminal justice, and other problems facing our local communities provide Belmont students and faculty with opportunities to analyze and address the underlying causes of these problems and, equally important, to provide assistance to organizations that serve our communities. 

Student interns can expect their internship to be fluid, potentially more complex, and looser in structure than many classroom settings.  A successful internship requires the student intern to shift to more self-directed and focused learning and service.  In other words, it requires the student to move from the more passive role of student-in-the-classroom to a much more active role that involves not only listening to the needs of the organization and its clients, observing and asking questions, seeking out information, thinking creatively, critically, and sociologically about the problems at hand and thus becoming knowledgeable about the issues, but also taking on an active role with the aim of problem-solving. 

Sociology interns have recently worked with:
World Relief and Americana Community Center (Refugee Resettlement)
The Next Door (women’s transition from Prison)
The Domestic Violence Intervention Center
Kaleo Ministries (inner city issues in Boston)
The Domestic Violence Intervention Center (DVIC formerly PEACE)
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)
The Nashville Peace and Justice Center of Nashville
Tennessee State Legislature (working on Education policy)
Plus many more…

What Our Students Have to Say

One personal goal for my internship at World Relief (WR) was to make a difference in the lives of the refugees I met, and through my research, enhance understanding concerning WR clients.  Ultimately, I wanted to leave World Relief different from when I entered it.  I wanted my work to actually make a difference and be applicable and helpful.  Through my interaction with the refugees, I feel I have made a difference in their lives.  Through helping meet their basic needs, and becoming a friend/advisor to them, I hope I have done something to ease their transition and adjustment to life in the United States.  Professionally, I hoped to gain experience in the communication and responsibility involved with working under a supervisor and within as well as experience the workings of a non-profit organization in preparation for professional employment post-graduation.  I saw some of the difficulties non-profits face as they work with the government and on limited budget, Additionally, I learned about the flexibility and constant communication necessary to get all tasks accomplished.  Interning at World Relief was such an eye opening experience to me and I count my life richer having spent two months working with refugees.  ~ Kelly Pence, Sociology and Christian Ethics double major