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Learn more about the Discovery Externship Program

As you may have experienced yourself, Kalamazoo College has a strong, historical commitment to experiential learning, which involves "learning-by-doing."  The Center for Career Development has upheld that commitment through its field-based programs such as the Discovery Externship Program. With the help and wisdom of Jack Lundeen, ’69, the Discovery Externship Program was launched in 2002 as a way for current “K” students to get a “taste of the industry” before feeling the pressures of selecting a career path. Furthermore, it was a way for alumni to reconnect with their alma mater and provide guidance and advice that, in retrospect, is so valuable.

The Discovery Externship Program occurs over a shorter amount of time than what is typically spent in an internship (1-4 weeks). The program was initially developed as a viable career development alternative to a traditional internship in the very short summer between the sophomore and junior years, preceding study abroad experiences of rising juniors, since most programs depart the States prior to Labor Day. However, it has grown into something so much bigger than expected. The primary emphasis of the experience shifted from skills training to focusing on a mentoring relationship. This shift facilitated an understanding of how elements of a student’s experience at “K” will translate to a prospective career field.

The Discovery Externship Program is quite unique in that it matches current “K” students with alumni for 1-4 weeks during the summer. We truly believe that our students can learn the most from those who have lived the K-Plan beyond the walls of the College. Another aspect of the program that is unique is the homestay. This is an opportunity to host a student extern in your home during the experience. The homestay provides you and the student with "porch time"- a time to connect outside of the normal work environment. This is often where the "real connection" with students occurs. If you value mentoring, the homestay enhances the opportunity for building that special kind of professional relationship.