Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Youth Development and Agricultural Education

First Advisor

Natalie Carroll

Second Advisor

Renee McKee

Committee Chair

Natalie Carroll

Committee Co-Chair

Renee McKee

Committee Member 1

James Greenan


The Department of Defense (DoD) identified a need in military communities, both on and off installations, to offer high quality child care and youth services to military families as well as civilian families who serve the military communities. In response, the Office of the Secretary of Defense - Military Community and Family Policy (OSD-MC and FP), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University created the Purdue University Military Extension Internship Program (MEIP) to help university students and recent graduates gain professional skills through unique internships that provide real-world work experience with military child and youth programs. The MEIP was established five years ago and, to date, has not completed a formal evaluation that utilizes in-depth interviews to examine and understand the participants' views of their internship experience. Therefore, the MEIP Evaluation reported here serves as the program's first formal evaluation and provides an understanding of the career choice outcomes of interns and their personal self-efficacy perceptions to stakeholders: the principal investigator, program coordinator, and program partners. ^ Many programs implement an evaluation component upon immediate completion, but there is a gap in the literature regarding long-term impact of cooperative education and internship programs. This evaluative study intended to fill that gap by exploring the effectiveness of objectives and the outcomes of participants upon completion of the MEIP and graduation from their respective academic institution. The Context-Input-Process-Product (CIPP) model and Social Cognitive Career Theory informed this study. ^ The evaluator utilized triangulation through a Qualtrics survey, Likert scale questionnaire, and phone interviews. The first two methods were distributed via e-mail to all MEIP alumni who agreed to participate in this Evaluation. The third method used purposeful random sampling to interview 16 alumni. There were two groups of interview participants, those with DoD careers and those who chose a different career path. ^ Results from the Evaluation conclude that the main objectives of the MEIP have been successfully met over the last five years. A combined 83% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that their internship influenced their career choice. More than half of the participants agreed their primary reason for securing employment with DoD was due to the opportunities available to them. Future research should examine mentor-mentee relationships within internship programs.