CHEAH SIN MOH
Singapore Polytechnic, SingaporePosition –
Lead Teaching & Learning SpecialistTitle –
Internship had always been considered a means for students to develop their professional identify. This paper shares the outcomes of a study aimed at determining a sense of professional identity among students from the Diploma in Chemical Engineering (DCHE) after they completed their internship. This is especially important as recent studies on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic has shown potentially negative influences on professional identity formation, as many students were largely confined to working from home. This paper first provides a literature review of how internship can enhance professional identity development. It then presents the DCHE spiral curriculum that strives to prepare students for the chemical process industries where professional identity is assumed to develop naturally as students went through their studies in campus. This is followed by a discussion of a survey findings (number of responses, n = 53) aimed at finding out the students’ impression of how well the DCHE course had prepared them for the development of their sense of professional identity as a chemical engineering technologist. These students had spent a good part of their internship working from home during the pandemic. This survey follows from an earlier focus group discussion that the author was involved in with a small group of 22 DCHE students who informed of the disorientation they faced and anxiety during their internship; over what they can learn when they were kept away from the workplace due to Covid-19. The survey findings indicated that while a good number of students reported on still having positive experiences, their feedback also indicate that more needs to be done. This paper concludes with ways in which the CDIO Framework can be used to leverage on other modules in the DCHE curriculum to enhance students’ professional identity formation during their studies in campus that support its continued development during internship.