Case Study

Success story: Bridging the gap between non-credit certificates and the world of work.

Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies launched an innovative project-based internship program to help adult learners gain career clarity.
May 8, 2024
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Adult learners from around the world enroll in Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS) to explore new career fields. To enhance their learning experience and give them the opportunity to explore new industries and professions, Georgetown SCS launched a project-based internship program.

“At Georgetown, we want to give our non-credit adult learners not just an academic experience but a way to make it more practical,” Lisa Andrews, Director of Integrated Career Development, explained. “We want to build a bridge between our certificates and the world of work. The best way to do that is to give our students the opportunity to practice what they learned in a project-based internship.”


So, Georgetown SCS partnered with Riipen, an innovative education technology firm, to launch a project-based internship program. Riipen’s virtual marketplace connects over 640 academic institutions and 35,000 employers to facilitate meaningful work experiences for post-secondary students.

To ensure the program’s learning objectives were met and that students benefited from a high-quality experience, Andrews took a thoughtful, strategic approach to the launch. She began with just two certificate programs, Data Sciences and Data Analytics. After conferring with faculty, she posted project requirements to the Riipen platform and invited participating employers to “bid” on working with Georgetown. The flexible platform allowed Andrews to tailor the internship experiences, focusing on 30-hour, individual (rather than group) projects that could be completed in a 6-week period. She also required projects to include a final deliverable, like a dashboard, data set, or app. 

For the first cohort in Fall 2023, Andrews invited recent Data Sciences and Analytics certificate alumni to participate, curated employer projects, and matched students to projects. To help students make the most of the professional internship, she also implemented a six-week internship course. The course included weekly discussions on topics ranging from how things are progressing with a student’s learning objectives to problem-solving skills, two one-on-one coaching sessions, and a 3-5 page reflection paper. 


Seven adult learners participated in the program’s initial cohort. “The overall feedback was incredible,” Andrews reported. “Students got a lot out of the program.” Their reflection papers highlighted how the project-based internships helped them gain hands-on experience, industry knowledge, and career clarity. 

Based on the initial outcomes, Georgetown SCS decided to continue the program. For the second cohort, Andrews is looking at ways to scale using more of Riipen’s functionality. The platform allows students to create profiles and interact with employer projects themselves, self-matching internships that meet their individual learning goals. Andrews can monitor interactions and activity, facilitating if necessary. She is also looking forward to using more of the platform’s project management features and templates, including pre- and post-surveys.  

Andrews has plans to expand the program even further. “In the future, we intend to add many more of our certificates. There are employers across a lot of different verticals on Riipen, so there are many projects for our students to take advantage of.”

To discover how Riipen can enhance your institution’s career development initiatives, visit

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