The Reimagined Internship

A Collaborative, Cross-disciplinary Model with Industry Partners

Our Complex Question

How can partnerships between higher education and industry promote creative processes that lead to innovation?

Our Answer

The JMU X-Labs Reimagined Internship program launched in January 2024 with founding partner Ellucian to seek an answer to this question. Our program stands out for its comprehensive approach and intentional structure, distinguishing it from other internship programs. It remains flexible, allowing us to adapt to the strengths of our cohort and the evolving needs of the industry.
The Partnership Process

  • Industry partner presents a challenge to X-Labs
  • Collaboratively, we identify a holistic, crossdisciplinary student cohort (managers, engineers,
    designers, storytellers, and ethicists) to solve the problem
  • Create a 15-week design thinking course co-taught by JMU faculty and industry experts
  • The cohort innovates a solution to the challenge during the course
  • Upon course completion, the cohort operates as a cohesive unit in a paid internship experience with industry partner
Student Cohort Profile

  • Minimum of 10 students
  • Represents STEM + Humanities & Arts
  • Includes at least three different fields of study
  • Sophomores through graduate students are eligible
  • X-Labs will support the design of an optimal and cross-disciplinary cohort to tackle the industry’s challenges
Signature Elements

  • Assemble a STEM + Humanities & Arts cohort of students that operates as a team for the
    duration of the program
  • Encourage a holistic approach to problem solving, which strengthens communication skills,
    adaptability, ethical considerations, user-centered design, and innovation
  • Provide cutting-edge faculty experienced in cross-disciplinary and collaborative teaching and
    research to serve as instructors and consultants to the industry partner
  • Remain active, adaptable, and thoughtful throughout the duration of the program to ensure
    mutual needs and outcomes are being met
Partnership Opportunities

  • Talent access to a curated cohort of students for a paid internship with your company
  • Collaborate with academic experts to identify problem-solution process and design the course to meet your needs
  • Provide a measure of philanthropic support funding for design thinking prep course
Application Process

The intern application is posted on JMU’s Handshake job board and is advertised directly to academic units that represent the areas of study needed in each cohort profile. Additionally, a university-wide email is sent to all JMU sophomores through graduate students (approximately 17,000 students). X-Labs is available to answer all student inquiries throughout the application process.

X-Labs staff review the applications and identify a curated list of students to interview. Interviews take place in person at the University Career Center in JMU’s Student Success Center. X-Labs sends final recommendations to the industry partner to review, and students are notified in time to enroll in the required spring or fall 3-credit X-Labs course. X-Labs welcomes the industry partner to be as involved as they wish throughout the application process.

Interested in Partnering with X-Labs?

Contact JMU X-Labs Executive Director Dr. Connie Frigo at frigocm@jmu.edu to schedule a time to talk.

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