All course information is listed within this syllabus.

TURF 295: Internship (1–18 credits). Supervised off-campus, nongroup instruction including fieldwork, practical experiences, or internships. Written and oral critique of activity required.

Prerequisite: Prior approval of proposed assignment by instructor


Instructor For TURF 295.

David R. Huff, Ph.D.
Professor of Turfgrass Breeding and Genetics

Department of Plant Science
210 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building
University Park, PA 16802

E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox

Educational/Professional Background

  • Ph.D. in Genetics, U.C. Davis, 1988
  • M.S. in Genetics, U.C. Davis, 1983
  • B.S. in Crop & Soils Sciences, Michigan State, 1980
  • Associate Professor, Penn State, 2000–present
  • Assistant Professor, Penn State, 1994–2000

Research Interests

As Penn State's turfgrass breeder, my program performs basic and applied genetics on a wide range of grass species including many native to North America. My lab routinely uses DNA markers, flow cytometry, and cytology as aids to sort through the complex genomes of these grasses during the breeding process. In addition, we also use these techniques to identify genetic boundaries (either discrete or overlapping) at the level of populations for both commercial cultivars and endemic natives. In the area of crop improvement, we focus on enhancing tolerance or resistance to several biotic and abiotic stresses. For our perennial grasses, these include wear tolerance, persistence, disease, and extreme temperatures (both heat and cold). Finally, we are performing a range of genomic investigations on the reproductive biology of these grasses including such systems as apomixis and dioecy.

Course Overview

TURF 295: Internship is a cooperative educational program between the turfgrass science major in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State University and approved employers who furnish facilities and instruction that help students acquire the skills and knowledge needed in their chosen vocation.

Course Objectives

  • provide students an opportunity for an off-campus learning experience relevant to their academic program
  • permit students to explore their personal interests in depth
  • assist students to establish career goals related to their specific interests and professional aspirations
  • increase student motivation for their chosen field by integrating classroom instruction with planned and supervised practical experience
  • prepare students for employment in a turfgrass occupation through professional field experience
  • enable students to identify courses needed to prepare for their career goals

Internship Benefits

Student Can

  • gain an understanding of the relationship between classroom theory and practical application
  • test career objectives realistically
  • develop professional work habits
  • improve interpersonal relations
  • become acquainted with people employed in professional occupations
  • prepare for a smooth transition into full-time employment
  • earn funds to partially support college education
  • retain student status while learning on the job

Employer Can

  • establish a pool of potential employees who have demonstrated their abilities
  • educate highly motivated students
  • benefit from an introduction of fresh, new ideas
  • get an efficient training program
  • send goodwill ambassadors back to campus

College of Agricultural Sciences Can

  • receive student feedback, which can affect curriculum change
  • reinforce positive relationships with the business community
  • increase rapport with community interests and encourage community support for University programs
  • demonstrate the College's concern and support in the individuality of the student

Operational Principles of the Internship

The student internship concept practiced at Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences adheres to the following operational and philosophical principles:

  1. That each student intern shall have well-defined work activities that are regarded as worthwhile by the cooperating agency with whom the student intern is affiliated, the intern, and the faculty adviser.
  2. That each student intern shall develop specific learning objectives that can be readily identified and reviewed periodically throughout the work period.
  3. That each student intern shall be supported by an academic adviser and a cooperating agency representative. The roles of these support persons are to assist with task identification, learning objectives, carrying out of the task, counseling the student, and carrying through with ideas and projects initiated.
  4. That each student intern contracts as an independent agent with the cooperating agency to do the work and pursue the learning objectives.
  5. That regular meetings will be scheduled to permit student-to-agency supervisor and student-to-adviser feedback and accountability.
  6. That each student intern assesses the worth of the internship experience and produces a final report.

Responsibilities of the Principal Participants


Assisted by the academic adviser, the student seeks outplacement opportunities for the internship program. The student creates a résumé, writes a cover letter, arranges for job interviews, and procures an appropriate employment site. On approval of the employment site by the course adviser, the student develops a "Plan for Internship." A signed copy of this plan must be submitted to the course adviser's office.

While participating in the internship program, the student is expected to:

  1. Work a minimum of 40 hours per week for the duration of the internship experience.
  2. Complete the tasks and activities outlined in "Step 1: Planning for Your Internship."
  3. Conform with the normal work hours of the cooperating firm or volunteer agency, including overtime when requested.
  4. Support the employer, keep the employer's business confidential, and work for the employer's best interests.
  5. Request prior permission from the employer for any leave periods.
  6. Submit a final report at the mutually agreed upon time.

Adviser (Instructor)

The adviser serves as the coordinator for TURF 295: Internship. The adviser assists the student in developing the "Internship Plan" and reviews the plan to determine whether the planned internship:

  1. Is an academically relevant component of the learning process that is appropriate for University credit.
  2. Involves initiative, creative opportunities, meaningful responsibilities, and assignment in contrast to routine or continuously repetitive activities.
  3. Provides the student a learning experience and the exposure needed to understand the opportunities, functions, and responsibilities of various turf science disciplines.
  4. Includes appropriate supervision and direction by qualified and interested persons. The adviser, the student, and an agency representative collaborate in the processing of the internship agreement. At the end of each semester, the adviser calculates the final grade for TURF 295.

The adviser maintains regular contact with the agency supervisor in determining the nature of the work and evaluating the student's progress. The final report is submitted during the following semester (or the last week of the internship if the student is graduating that semester). This report must focus on the work experience and its relation to the student's academic objective.

Advisers may recommend internship placement opportunities for students. However, arrangements for such internships are to be initiated by the students. The job must be approved by the adviser following the submission of documentation to justify the cooperation of an agency in providing the internship supervision.

The adviser is expected to determine whether an internship is consistent with the student's career objectives and contributes to their academic program.

Cooperating Agency

A representative of the agency approved to supervise an intern will interview the student prior to his/her enrollment in the course. The agency is asked to provide a work description and/or schedule of the intern's anticipated activities, experiences, and responsibilities during the entire internship period. The final approval for registration is made by the course adviser.

When agency representatives select a student for an internship program, they are expected to provide a variety of educational experiences for the intern, and a program sufficiently flexible to permit the intern involvement on specific projects. The agency assigns a specific individual the responsibility for the supervision of the intern. Regular reviews of the intern's performance are expected. The agency supervisor and the intern collaborate in the preparation of a final report to be submitted to the course adviser. Further, the agency supervisor completes an evaluation form appraising the student's performance. The form is forwarded to the course adviser.

The cooperating agency may provide wages, reimbursement for travel, or other remuneration arrangements while the student is doing the internship. These arrangements are to be agreed upon by the cooperating agency and the student.

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

Grading Policy

The following table is the grading criteria for the course.

Grading Criteria
Requirement Cumulative Point Value Weight
Internship Plan and Questionnaire 20 20%
Daily Log and Weekly Progress Reports 80 20%
Final Report 30 30%
Supervisor's Evaluation 30 30%
TOTAL: 160 100%
Extra Credit 2 1%

The following table is the grading scheme for the course.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage
A 100% – 94%
A- < 94% – 90%
B+ < 90% – 87%
B < 87% – 84%
B- < 84% – 80%
C+ < 80% – 77%
C < 77% – 70%
D < 70% – 60%
F < 60%

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Undergraduate Courses for additional information.

Note: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

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Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it is assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

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