Practice Makes Deeper? Regular Reflective Writing during Engineering Internships

Mia Minnes, John Mayberry, Melissa Soto, Jace Hargis


Does regular reflective writing enhance engineering students’ capacity to be reflective professionals? This study explores whether writing and sharing weekly reflections throughout a summer internship can transform the way engineering students’ think about their work in a way that connects it more profoundly with their academic studies. A quasi-experimental mixed methods design is used with a sample size of 60 participants over two years. Using the AAC&U’s Integrative Learning rubric, we find statistically significant improvement in the quality and depth of students’ written reflection at the end of a summer internship enriched with regular writing.  In their writing, students find explicit concrete and abstract connections between their studies and the internship work they do, drawing lessons from it and re-conceptualizing their role as both students and engineers.  The reflections facilitate transformative learning during the internship experiences, guiding students in their professional development.


Written Reflection, Metacognition, Transformative Writing, Professional Preparation, Internship

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