Aea Ces Conference Poster October 2005 J Sheldon

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Aea Ces Conference Poster October 2005 J Sheldon

  1. 1. The International Applied Research & Evaluation Internship: Getting Where You Want to Go… Jeffrey Sheldon, Ed. M. Applied Social Science Research & Evaluation Intern Psycho-social Support & Counselling Programme Sinikithemba HIV/Aids Clinic – McCord Hospital, Durban, South Africa & Ph. D. Student (2) School of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences Claremont Graduate University Claremont, California, USA jeffrey.sheldon@cgu.edu/ 909.447.5474Preliminary steps: Broadcasting & Networking: Planning & Logistics Cont’d: Final product: a “compendium” that… • I used two primary sources for broadcasting and networking• At the end of my first semester I determined that doing an • You are a professional so bring the appropriate clothes for work; know • Provides a rationale for each project. international internship was a necessary and vital experience the organizational culture before you get there. – Evaltalk Listserve for the enhancement of both my studies and career. – XCeval Listserve • Know where you are going to stay; set up you accommodations in • Delineates implementation and management tasks, and what has been• In conceptualizing my internship I was clear about what I advance of your departure working with your on-site contacts. done to date. • I sent out the following excerpt of my email to both Listserves, to “blind” wanted my experience to look like, the skills I wanted to use, contacts, and anyone who contacted me otherwise: the contribution I wanted to make, and how I ultimately • Know where you are going to exchange currency and make sure you wanted to benefit. have enough money to cover at least your first week in-country. • Offers implementation and management tasks yet to be undertaken as – “By way of introduction I am a first-year psychology Ph. D. student at suggestions for future project direction. Claremont Graduate University (Claremont, CA, USA) concentrating in• I developed a “marketing piece” for broad distribution. evaluation & applied research with a focus on international • Know how you’re going to get from the airport to where you are staying, organizational development. One of the interesting aspects of my and then from where you’re staying to the organization. doctoral program is the emphasis placed on developing a portfolio of applied experiences as adjunct to coursework. Thus, the value of Projects Started & Developed:• Looking for internships, networking, and broadcasting began doing an internship with an organization that works in the international • Know where you are going to eat, know where you can shop for 6 months in advance of the actual start date since I was arena is more pedagogical than compensatory, i.e., I would basically sundries, etc… – basically, know how to maintain yourself in the ways literally “flying blind” – I knew nothing about this process pay myself to be an intern…” you would at home. • On-going Counselling Pilot Study before I started.Conceptualization: • Think of all the questions you have, then send them all in one email – • Sinikithemba ART Patient Training Knowledge, Attitudes, & Beliefs After the emails went out: don’t be a pest. Assessment Pilot Study• I was clear that it had to be an authentic applied research & evaluation • I received many return emails suggesting I contact this person or that • Situational Analysis of McCord Hospital’s HIV/Aids Counselling internship, not just administrative work. person, which I dutifully, and quickly, followed up on. The Experience: Programme• I provided a rationale why an international relationship was of value to me • For nearly two months, over 300 emails were sent and received, including “thank-you” notes. • Psycho-social Screening Tool Additions to Trak Health on-line and important for my career – monitoring & evaluation in developing • At first they didn’t know where I best fit - the Psychology Department, the countries. data base Hospital, or Sinikithemba HIV/Aids Care Centre – because they weren’t sure • It is very time consuming to follow-up on every email, but it is a necessary of my capabilities.• I made sure they would understand my modus operandi was to provide a part of the process – this cannot be over-emphasized. • Sinikithemba Counselling Programme Situational Analysis & Training service and to contribute to their organization’s development, capacity Needs Assessment • There were many needs to fill, but they wanted me to take some time to sort building, and improvement. out which projects I might like to work on. The offers, the decision: • Sinikithemba Forms & Training Materials Evaluation• Specific projects did not matter so much as the work involved. • Finally, they decided I should work with the Psycho-support Team at the • External Research & Evaluation Proposal Form• I was clear that I was not interested in an internship for monetary • As it turned out, less than two months were necessary to find, secure, and HIV/Aids Care Centre because that’s where the most pressing needs were, compensation, but rather for pedagogical reasons – as part of the accept an offer for the position I wanted, from an organization I wanted. i.e. there was much they wanted to know about the counseling program, but they just never had the time or expertise to undertake studies and My final advice to the Clinic Staff: requirement to build a portfolio of applied experiences and to potentially network with practitioners in M & E. evaluations. • Enticing internship offers were received from six organizations: • This work should be utilized wholly at the discretion of• I offered to bear the costs myself, i.e. basically I would pay myself to be an – Three in South Africa (Durban, Cape Town, and Port Elizabeth); • The projects that I eventually worked on were negotiated with my those who are charged with implementing these projects and studies. intern. – One in Nepal (Katmandu); and supervisor. – Two in Australia (Melbourne and Sydney).• I provided definite start and end dates. • • This work should be reviewed by more than one person and that as I took about three weeks to finally figure out which projects had priority, the order they should be undertaken, and how to go about doing the work. time permits, discussions take place as a collective so any resultingLooking for the internship: • Unfortunately I could accept only one offer. decisions about the use of these materials are mutually agreed upon. • I had full access to staff, was included in all clinic and staff meetings (4 per • I accepted the one that matched up with my long-term career goals and week), and had access to all necessary documents.• I first used the career services office’s Peterson’s Internship reference book would give me the best opportunity to do the work for which I’ve been as a guide to looking up organizations that I already knew about – e.g., • Any one project or study is likely to impact multiple areas across both trained (thus far). Sinikithemba and McCord so involvement of the many will be more UNESCO, USAID, World Bank, and Unicef, and finding others of interest beneficial than involvement of the few. that I might want to explore. Planning & Logistics: Some minor inconveniences: My final advice to you:• I then used the web to find the organizations listed in Peterson’s. • If you have to, take out extra loan money for the sake of experience; it will pay future dividends. • I did not always have access to decision-makers, and actually spent a lot of• If there was a direct contact, I sent an email to that person, if not then I sent • time working without input so I was never quite sure I was doing work that Purchase airline tickets (Priceline.com was cheapest) at least 2 months in • it to info@... advance of your departure date. Leave western attitudes and thinking at home. was ultimately going to prove useful. • • Fit in, acculturate quickly, don’t stick out.• I Googled “international internships for graduate students.” Make sure your passport is current and check with both the State • Department and your host country about the necessity of a visa or work There was no research and evaluation mentor to review my work or provide permit. guidance. • Be open to thinking in different ways and be ready for challenges to your• I contacted people in my network that might know of internship opportunities preconceived notions and assumptions. or other people who I might contact. • Determine the immunizations you need (see CDC advisories on their web • I was not linked in any formal way to external researchers and evaluators. site) and get them well in advance of your departure. • Be open to doing things in a different way than you are used to, and especially be patient because events will not always happen • Get to know the key contacts at your internship site and develop a • After my laptop was stolen I had to scramble for computer resources – 1 PC when you want them to. relationship with them. in the clinic with internet access and only one PC networked to the only working printer shared by many, many people. • You may know more applied research and evaluation methodology than • Develop a budget (includes knowing exchange rate). the people you will work with, but you won’t know more about the • I frequently had to deal with personal clinic staff issues and needs because I context in which you are working so listen twice and speak once. • Check Weather.com so you know what to pack for the climate (is it their winter, our summer?). was the only one with the capacity to do so. • Working in your host country and with your host institution is a privilege, not a right.

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