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Real-World Experience

Do you see yourself in the White House?  Three Southeast students did, and one even worked for the president’s chief of staff.  Do you see yourself caring for sick patients, assisting athletes on the playing field or running research in a clinical lab?  Our students have had internships or clinical experiences with syndicated newspapers, international corporations, major hospitals and innovative school districts.

In academic language, we call it “experiential learning.”  What it means to you is moving your learning experience out of the traditional classroom, involving you in independent thinking and learning, problem-solving in an area of developing expertise, and activities rather than reading in a textbook, and working on relevant or useful projects.  This could cover a broad spectrum of activities:  workplace training and development, e.g. internship, discipline-specific research, clinical experiences, training in practical skills, performance and personal growth.

Southeast is distinguished for its intellectual challenges and range of learning opportunities.  Our curriculum is structured around the belief that the best possible career training is a broad-based liberal arts education that emphasizes critical thinking, effective communication and other skills that are needed for life.  Along with those skills, internships and experiential learning are strongly emphasized with more than 96 percent of all majors having an internship or clinical experience built into the curriculum.  This distinctive education Southeast students receive is why they do well in their chosen professions.

Southeast offers an experiential learning component across all disciplines.  A third of our departments require an internship for graduation and all departments involve their majors in some form of experiential learning. Students may locate internship opportunities by logging into, an on-line e-recruiting tool provided by the Office of Career Services.

Here are some examples of what you may be doing:


Agribusiness interns have been placed with prominent companies, such as Archer Daniels Midland, Asgrow Seed Company, BASF Corporation, Growmark Inc., Monsanto, and Missouri Botanical Garden.  Experiential learning also takes place in laboratory classes through work experience on campus, at the University Demonstration Farm, in the Horticultural Greenhouse facility and at the Rice Research Farm.


Agriculture students participate in the rice breeding station in Malden, work in the University’s Horticulture Greenhouse, work on turf management both at the University and with local golf courses or work on the University Demonstration Farm.


Art internships in graphic design, gallery management, museums and art centers are available for students interested in pursuing careers in these fields. During your senior year, you will develop a portfolio of your art and design work and participate in a senior art exhibition.


Biology students can participate in a variety of internship and part-time employment opportunities, including the Department of Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Communication Disorders

Communication Disorders majors do supervised work with clients in the University’s audiology lab, which is open for regional patients, and participate in externships at the graduate level.

Computer Science

The Computer Science Department uses both internships and summer employment as experiential learning opportunities.  Computer Science majors have been employed at Boeing, Union Pacific, SBC Communications and Maritz. The Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee also provide attractive internship opportunities for Southeast students. The department also provides experiential learning in its capstone course (CS450 Software Engineering) in which students work in teams to solve an actual problem of a local business, organization or University department and obtain feedback on their work.


Education majors experience a variety of teaching settings during the freshman year, culminating with a full semester of student teaching during the senior year.   Experiences range from small and regional schools to the metropolitan areas such as St. Louis and Kansas City. Many education majors are asked to help with coaching, yearbooks or other activities in the area schools.  And if you’re looking for an international experience, Southeast’s program offers student teaching opportunities in Wales.

Environmental Science

Environmental Science students conduct environmental assessments for Southeast Hospital patients who have been diagnosed with asthma and may participate in field projects for the Department of Conservation.  You will be involved in health and safety monitoring on campus, the Center for Environmental Analysis and you may be conducting local building inspections.

Foreign Language

Foreign Language majors study abroad, create a television talk show in a language other than English, translate hospital materials for patients and help with transition and teaching of migrant workers.


Geoscience majors have done computer mapping for regional government agencies.

Health Promotions

Health Promotions students work in the University’s exercise physiology laboratory, the University’s employee health promotion program and as personal trainers.  A sampling of facilities where internships have been performed include Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, the GTE High Vitality Fitness Center, Clayton Parks and Recreation, Texas Instruments Fitness Center, DePaul Hospital, Pacific Bell, YMCA, Health/Works and Gannett/USA, just to name a few. 

History and Historic Preservation

History and Historic Preservation students prepare exhibits for museums, participate in an annual Historic Preservation Field School where they excavate historic sites and serve internships with museums throughout the country. 

Industrial and Engineering Technology

Industrial and Engineering Technology students participate in projects for outside agencies and businesses and have become a resource to businesses, factories and corporations in this region.


Management majors participate in a Management Assistant program where students consult with area businesses and develop improved methods for conducting some aspect of business.  Students in management have completed internships with such companies as:  TG (USA), Lee-Rowan, Southwestern Bell, M&W Packaging, JC Penney, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Wal-Mart, Procter and Gamble and ServiceMaster Corporation.


Marketing interns have played a vital role in regional business, including assisting with the Main Street designation for the city of Cape Girardeau.  They have served a wide variety of businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

Mass Communication

Mass Communication majors develop advertising campaigns and corporate videos for actual business clients in the region.  You will obtain hands-on professional experience in your field through internships at newspapers, magazines, advertising and public relations agencies, radio and television stations, corporations or not-for-profit agencies.


The Music Department requires all majors to perform music and requires, among other things, junior and senior recitals.  Many of the music courses involve composition and/or performance of music.  Music majors teach in the Southeast Music Academy and coach in public schools.


Nursing students have a wide range of hands-on experiences.  They provide vital health care resources for the region in activities such as helping with lice infestations in schools, providing physicals for student athletes, caring for older adults in their homes, etc.  Southeast has ongoing relationships with approximately 60 clinical agencies which provide you with excellent learning opportunities in a variety of settings, including major medical centers, primary care centers, schools, home health agencies and long-term care facilities. These internships are integrated with your nursing coursework starting with your second semester in the program.  A sampling of facilities where internships are performed includes: St. Francis Medical Center, Southeast Missouri Hospital and the Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston.

Political Science, Philosophy, and Religion

The Department of Political Science, Philosophy, and Religion has been providing internships for more than 25 years.  Students have served with city managers, political campaigns, attorneys, county government, state legislators, the state governor’s office, senate offices in Washington, D.C. and the White House.  Those students involved in philosophy are required to prepare and submit papers to professional conferences, which provide true professional preparation for philosophers and worthwhile experience for philosophy majors who may choose to enter other fields such as law.


Psychology majors have the opportunity to conduct original research and a chance to present their work in a professional setting at the annual Student Research Conference. Psychology internships are available at the Cottonwood Residential Treatment Center, community mental health facilities, hospitals, local marketing firms, human service agencies and various local businesses.

Sports Management

Sports Management students gain real-world experience with two internships.  The first is with a sports organization, while the second is full-time work experience in the field.  Southeast majors have completed internships at the Nashville Predators, Gateway Grizzlies, the Memphis Redbirds, St. Louis Sports Commission, Ladies Golf Association, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, South Carolina Golf Association and the University’s Student Recreation Center, just to name a few.

Theatre and Dance

The Theatre and Dance Department requires all majors to participate in auditions.  The program also requires at least 90 hours of participation in live theatre and every year students participate in professional summer theatre and dance companies and masterclasses across the country. Some of the recent examples of student internships include the following dance and theatre companies: Stages (Houston, Texas), Sante Fe Opera (Sante Fe, N.M.), Berkshire Theatre Festival (Stockbridge, Mass.), New Harmony Theatre (Evansville, Ind.), Huron Playhouse (Huron, Ohio) and Asolo Theatre (Sarasota, Fla.).

Academic Hall 057
One University Plaza, MS 3760
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701