Time to apply for aspiring ISM students


Sarah Boutouis

Students who take part in the Independent Study and Mentorship program are showing off their research Friday. Their final presentation will be Apr. 23.

Neha Ramachandran, Staff Reporter

Aspiring Independent Study and Mentorship students are running out of time to apply for next year’s class as applications are due Friday.

“ISM is a privilege course, definitely not a right and this course is really beneficial because there are a lot of hands-on experiences in the real work environment so it’s a pretty incredible experience,” ISM instructor Heather Whitcomb said. “Students interested in taking this course must complete an application and an interview process before taking part in this course.”

Designated for juniors and seniors, those who are accepted into the program, choose a topic to study and work with professionals in the students chosen field.

“You’ll get out of the class what you put into it, so pick an interesting topic and try to learn about it as much as possible,” senior ISM II student Satvik Duddukuru said. “Don’t be afraid to change your topic or plans for the future if it is not interesting to you.”

Whitcomb expects a high level of professionalism and conduct in potential candidates for this program. 

“Students need to have integrity and I need them to be someone I can trust to leave campus and conduct themselves in a professional setting so I look for someone who is going to be responsible and have a good character because they need to be able to meet deadlines, be self-motivated, driven and disciplined,” Whitcomb said. “We also typically need to have a potential applicant be interested in a career field and have done some preliminary research in that topic.”

For those students considering taking ISM, junior Aaron Xu has some advice for prospective applicants. 

“The biggest recommendation I have for those applying to ISM is to give yourself plenty of time to complete the application,” junior Aaron Xu said. “If you wait until the week it’s due to begin, then not only will you be pressed for time but the quality of your work will dip as well.”

Although ISM is not an AP course, the workload can be harsh and vigorous according to Whitcomb. 

“This course is focused on professionalism, communication, networking, interpersonal skills, public speaking and personal branding,” she said. “It is a pretty intense research based course and topic related product development that goes into it”.