by Daniel Parker, RDPFS Intern
As the winter progresses, the time is coming for young people to consider options for the spring and summer. Internships are a great way to strengthen work experience credentials, network, and develop foundational skills in a real work environment. Following is a list of some internships geared specifically to interests in the blindness field:
– The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Talent Lab Internship, a technology-focused program, “provides current students with opportunities to participate in hands-on client projects, build real-world experience, and interact with potential employers. In addition to working with instructors and mentors, interns work collaboratively with participants who have visual impairments to learn how to run usability testing with greater empathy, insight, and relevance.” To apply for this paid internship, the student must be a rising sophomore, junior, or senior in a full-time college program studying computer science or a related field. The internship includes nine program terms over three years, and interns can participate in one or all of these. More information can be found in the link above.
– The National Eye Institute (NEI)’s Summer Intern Program provides rising high school seniors, undergraduates, graduate students, and professional students the opportunity to work on research involving a wide variety of diseases related to vision loss. Interns are paid and work in Maryland for eight to twelve weeks during the summer.
– The Carroll Center for the Blind has several internship programs for teens and undergraduates and graduate students studying in the vision loss field. Teens can benefit from the Summer Work Experience Program, which exposes them to jobs in a variety of fields while giving ample time for socialization. The EyeWork program serves a similar purpose for undergraduates. In addition, the Carroll Interns Program is meant for graduate students seeking to become teachers of the visually impaired (TVIs), certified orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists, or vision rehabilitation teachers (VRTs).
-Finally, the Envision Internship Program “combines business-focused, on-the-job experience with professional development activities. Visually impaired or legally blind individuals who have a high school diploma or higher, work experience, and a passion for career development are invited to apply for this program.” Interns may have the opportunity to advance within Envision or the business community. The internship lasts from June 1 to July 31, 2023 and takes place in Wichita, Kansas.
These are just a few internship programs that may interest those looking for experience in the blindness and low vision field. Note, of course, that there are many accessible internships in a variety of other disciplines not related to careers in vision loss, and it is important to consider all options and decide on a program that will be most beneficial.