Intern Spotlight: Suzanne Knight

Suzanne Knight

Suzanne Knight (May 2013)
Major: Social Work
Minor: Health & Family Studies
Internship: Administrative Intern with the Juvenile Justice and Mental Health Divisions of the Rock County Department of Human Services


How did you find out about this internship? What interested you in the opportunity?

As a social work major, we are required to complete an internship for our last 12 credits before we graduate. I knew that I wanted to get the best experience that I could, as this would be my first time being in the social work field. I was interested in obtaining an internship that was unlike any experience that I have previously had. I wanted to gain experience and knowledge that I had not formerly had. I was interested in an internship in the Juvenile Justice division, because I did not know much about the juvenile justice piece of social work, and it was intriguing to me. I also wanted to complete an internship in administrative social work, because I am hoping to be an administrative social worker one day, after I receive my Master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Leadership.

I found out about this internship through one of my professors who works very closely with my supervisor. She approached me about this internship, as she thought I would be a great fit for the position. I immediately contacted the agency, and the rest is history.

Describe your internship experience.

I have many responsibilities at my internship. I assist [my supervisor] Amanda with planning and executing Aggression Replacement Training (ART), which many social workers across the state attend. I sit on many committees within the County, such as the Coordinating Services Team committees and subcommittees. I am planning and executing a Peer Support Specialist informational meeting, which we are hoping to inform and recruit Peer Support Specialists from a variety of Mental Health and AODA clients in Rock County. This is an informational meeting that is open to the entire population, and it will be held at the end of March.

I research and help implement new, innovative ideas for both the Mental Health and Juvenile Justice divisions. Much of my research is being used currently within the system. I assisted in developing a new diversion program that is being implemented for both children and parents that face difficulties within their relationship whether it’s abuse, neglect, etc.

I assist with various tasks such as budget proposals and grant writing, among other various responsibilities. I assist the County with coordinating outside resources from the community to come in and speak with our Human Services Department Staff of over 150 employees about various issues, such as trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, how to implement evidence-based practice in their every day work, etc. I am currently in the process of putting together a resource manual that highlights the Juvenile Justice division and its various evidence-based programs. When completed, this manual will be presented to not only the entire Juvenile Justice division, but the Rock County Human Services Department board.

I also assist in the different programs that the Juvenile Justice division offers, such as Weekend Report and the Youth Services Center. At Weekend Report and the Youth Services Center, I assist the juvenile with whatever they may need, whether that is teaching them skills to better themselves in the community, moral reasoning, or just to lend them a helping hand. I also attend various conferences and trainings to improve my skills as a social worker. These conferences include the YES! Summit, which focused on trauma-informed care, and the Aggression Replacement Training (ART). I also sit in on the Rock County truancy meeting, where we meet with juveniles that are facing truancy issues from not attending school and develop ways to assist them. The goal of our truancy committee is to not only figure out the reason this student does not regularly attend school, but how we can provide the means for them to get to school.

All in all, I help out in the Rock County Human Services Department in any way that I can.

What have you learned during your internship experience? How does this opportunity relate to your career goals?

I have had many enriching experiences in my internship that will be useful when I am in the Social Work field. I have gained knowledge, skills and values that I truly believe I would not have gained without this internship. I have learned how to effectively work with individuals, groups, communities and other organizations. I have learned what it is like to work in a professional environment, and how important communication and other various skills are in being successful in the field. I have gained skills in management and administration that will be of assistance in my future endeavors in the social work field.

The administrative opportunity that I have been given in social work is directly related to my future career path. I will be attending graduate school, majoring in Social Work, with an emphasis in Leadership, in hopes to be an administrative social worker. I hope to be a director of a non-profit organization one day, so having this experience in an administrative setting will be beneficial in many ways.

What advice would you give other students about internships?

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes internships can be intimidating, because for most people, an internship is the first time that a student will get experience in their field of study. To many, including myself, this is intimidating because it can lead to many unknowns.

Ask your internship supervisor questions. Many times supervisors will throw you right in the deep end, just to see if you can float. At first, this can be threatening, but it will test your knowledge and skills that you have gained in preparation for an internship, whether it be through classes, organizations, etc. Supervisors enjoy when their interns ask questions, so do not be afraid to do so. Furthermore, supervisors do not expect their interns to know how to perfectly perform every task and duty that is given to them at first, so they anticipate you to ask for their guidance.

Finally, most of the time supervisors request interns, so they are happy that you are there to work with them and be of assistance to them! Make sure that you are making the best of the enriching experience that you are gaining through your internship, as it will be of much assistance for future endeavors in your career path.

What did Suzanne’s supervisor have to say?

During her first days with the County, Suzanne was a tremendous asset in helping me to plan our ART (Aggression Replacement Training). Suzanne jumped right in and was able to assist with anything I asked of her, from making coffee in the morning to helping and assisting the facilitator of the training when I needed to leave the room.

Suzanne is currently working on putting together a resource binder for the division. The resource binder will highlight all of the evidence-based programs and curricula used within the division. The finished product will be distributed to staff within the organization and to the Rock County Human Services Department Board members. The manual will be a living document of the services provided to youth and families, and will be continually updated over time. Suzanne will be recognized for developing this manual.

Suzanne has been one of the best interns we have had in Juvenile Justice.

Congratulations Suzanne on being selected as UW-Whitewater Intern of the Month for April 2013!

Are you having or have you had an outstanding internship experience like Suzanne? Tell employers, faculty, and, of course, fellow UW-Whitewater students what makes/made your internship experience so great! Be featured in the Intern Spotlight! To learn more, visit the UWW Intern of the Month Program page.

Be sure to check out past featured students’ stories as well!

Intern Spotlight: Kelsey Welke

Kelsey Welke

Kelsey Welke, Senior (December 2013)
Major: International Journalism
Minor: Public Relations
Internship: Assistant Photographer/Personal Assistant with Andrejka Photography

How did you find out about this internship? What interested you in the opportunity?

I found out about this internship through a friend of mine who works on Mackinac Island during the summer season. He mentioned to me that Andrejka was looking for an intern to help her out and I contacted her. I’ve been interested in photography for a few years now, so having a photography internship seemed too good to be true! I was going to be waitressing on Mackinac Island during the summer, but I knew I could handle a job and an internship. Andrejka and I met up for lunch a couple of days after I got settled on the island. We instantly clicked and I started working soon after.

Describe your internship experience.

I helped Andrejka take photos of weddings on the island. I shot about 6 weddings with her during the summer. These weddings would be 6-10 hours long and were usually on Saturdays. These would be really long days, because there are so many individual, important events during a wedding, such as the first look, group photos, the ceremony, the reception, the first dance, cake cutting, and more. Between her and I, there would be thousands of photos from a single wedding! I helped Andrejka download the images, sort them, make albums online, and prepare the cameras for our next photo shoot.

In a way, I was also her personal assistant. I would run errands for her and help her plan out her weekly schedule. I had so much fun shooting weddings with Andrejka! It gave me so much experience if I ever want to become a wedding photographer someday.

The one thing that I loved most about this internship was working the SnapThis! Photo Booth that Andrejka owned. We set this up at weddings and I was the photo booth attendant. The picture above is me working my first photo booth event. Everyone loved the photo booth – it was always a big hit! Some of the props included top hats, funky sunglasses, feather boas, chalkboards and red clown noses.

What did you learn during your internship experience? How did this opportunity relate to your career goals?

I have been interested in photography ever since I graduated high school and I’ve been taking photos of my friends, couples, and of nature since then. This internship was an absolutely amazing opportunity and I learned more than I ever thought I could! Andrejka was a great teacher and was very patient with me when I wasn’t sure what to do or how to capture an image.

One thing that I learned from this internship is that owning a photography business is a lot harder than it looks, especially if you are as successful and busy as Andrejka is. There is so much involved with being a professional photographer. You can’t just take photos, edit them and burn them to a CD for the happy couple in less than a week. You need to prep the cameras and batteries, make sure you have all of your lenses, write out an agenda for the day, meet the bride and groom a couple of days prior to the wedding to go over everything, and then get ready to take photos all day! After the weddings, Andrejka had a special editing program that we worked with. We sorted out all the good photos, mailed them to a professional photo-editing company who then edited her photos, and then we would put those photos on a CD to mail to the couple, as well as on a slideshow and on an online gallery. Sometimes Andrejka would make a nice hardcover book with the best photos of the wedding, much like SnapFish books, except her wedding books would be much thicker. It was definitely a lot of work, but we could tell that the bride and groom and their families really appreciated the work.

What advice would you give other students about internships?

My internship was paid, but one piece of advice I would give to students would be to not shy away from unpaid internships. I think the experience you’ll get from an internship is worth way more than any amount of money.

What did Kelsey’s supervisor have to say?

Kelsey demonstrated a variety of strengths over the period of her internship. She showed strong computer and organizational skills as well as [an] ability to relate to a variety of people. She is also a strong artist with a beautiful eye. There are two aspects that impressed me most with Kelsey: her ability to take initiative and her ability to relate to people.

Kelsey was an incredible intern. I was proud to have her represent my company.

Congratulations Kelsey on being selected as UW-Whitewater Intern of the Month for February 2013!

Are you having or have you had an outstanding internship experience like Kelsey? Tell employers, faculty, and, of course, fellow UW-Whitewater students what makes/made your internship experience so great! Be featured in the Intern Spotlight! To learn more, visit the UWW Intern of the Month Program page.

Be sure to check out past featured students’ stories as well!

UW-Whitewater Intern of the Month Program

One of my favorite things to do on the UW-Whitewater Internships Blog is to feature students and their internships. It’s fun to read about real internship experiences. And in my opinion, the interns who have been featured here have provided some excellent advice to aspiring interns.

If you have had an outstanding internship experience, please consider applying to be UW-Whitewater Intern of Month. I am now looking for interns to feature in the spring semester, starting in January. To be considered for a particular month, submit your materials to me by the 20th of the month before. For example, to be considered for January, get your application to me by December 20th.

Find more details, including the application materials, on the UWW Intern of the Month Program page.

And be sure to check out all of the past Intern of the Month features, especially our two Fall 2012 spotlights, Nicole Thalacker and Katelyn Wurtz.

Intern Spotlight: Katelyn Wurtz

Katelyn Wurtz

Katelyn Wurtz, Senior (May 2014)
Major: Special Education
Internship: SEAL Management Intern with UW-Whitewater Career & Leadership Development

How did you find out about this internship? What interested you in the opportunity?

About two years ago, I was a member of the Event Crew on campus, where we would staff any Special Events on campus. Through this position, there were occasions when we would staff larger SEAL (Student Entertainment Awareness League) events should they need it. I had already attended numerous comedians and movies on campus that were sponsored by SEAL; therefore, I felt that I had an idea of what SEAL was. I loved the idea of providing the campus with events like the hilarious comedians and great musicians that I had seen throughout my years on campus. I decided to apply in the spring of 2011, got an interview, and was later hired as the Community Service Intern on SEAL. This past spring, I reapplied and am currently the Management Intern on SEAL. Considering that this process is a different process than your average internship, it did not take as long to secure it. It was an application and interview process which then led to summer training.

Describe your internship experience.

Since I have had two different intern positions on SEAL these past two years, I have had different responsibilities. Last year, as the Community Service Intern, I coordinated the America Reads program on campus where students could sign up to volunteer in the local schools helping students in their academics. I also took part in planning Freeze Fest/Special Olympics Wisconsin Polar Plunge and our annual Make a Difference Day.

This year, as the Management Intern, I have the responsibility for the day-to-day operations of SEAL. I am also responsible for collaborating and reaching out to student organizations on campus. Since SEAL provides events for free or at a low cost, we try to market our events as much as possible to get the campus to attend. This is why I try to reach out to those organizations to get a larger, diverse population to attend these events.

What have you learned during your internship experience? How does this opportunity relate to your career goals?

Through this internship, I have gained many leadership skills as well as skills that I can apply to the real world after college. I have progressively bettered my public speaking skills through this internship and although I still struggle at times, I know that over the past few years I have gained those skills to help better my public speaking.

As an education major, I know that I will be a leader of my classroom at some point in the near future. At the same time, I also know that on a daily basis I will be speaking in public (or my classroom). My students will hopefully look up to me as someone that is a reliable, responsible source that they can come to when in need. I have learned that it takes a lot to be a leader including diligence, responsibility and organization.  Even though this internship is not directly working in a classroom or related to my major, I have found that all of the skills that I have gained through my internship can be applied to my future in teaching.

What advice would you give other students about internships?

As a leader on campus, I have come to the conclusion that no matter where you go, know that there is a good chance that someone will see the actions that you make, whether they be good or bad.

I would tell other students who are applying for internships to make good decisions when outside of the workplace. By outside of the workplace, I am not necessarily saying at the bars or at a party, but anywhere. As we all know, Facebook and Twitter are huge parts of our society right now. It is important to be careful about what you post because although you may not be friends with someone, it is possible that a friend of yours is friends with another person who can or may report back information that you thought was private.

Overall, an internship can be a huge step towards your future career. You choose what you want to get out of your internship and personally, I recommend that you get the most out of it! Besides, you can only benefit from getting the most out of it! You may realize that the path you are taking is not for you—but at least you will realize it earlier than later. At the same time, you may realize that you made a good choice and would like to stay with the company you are working for in the future. Therefore, my biggest piece of advice would be to try to get the most out of your internship as possible because it can only benefit you!

What did Katelyn’s supervisor have to say?

Katelyn is always trying to better herself as a student and as a professional. She takes every piece of criticism to heart and is always trying to improve. This is all I can ask for out of an intern I supervise. 

As a Leadership Advisor in the office of Career & Leadership Development, I have had the opportunity to work with several students and rarely do I meet a student who is as passionate about a students’ overall college experience than Katelyn is. Katelyn joined SEAL because she wanted to assist in making UW-Whitewater a great place for all students. Katelyn has consistently shown that she is an advocate for students, which is an important characteristic for someone who is a leader on campus.

Congratulations Katelyn on being selected as UW-Whitewater Intern of the Month for November 2012!

Are you having or have you had an outstanding internship experience like Katelyn? Tell employers, faculty, and, of course, fellow UW-Whitewater students what makes/made your internship experience so great! Be featured in the Intern Spotlight! To learn more, visit the UWW Intern of the Month Program page.

Be sure to check out past featured students’ stories as well!

Intern Spotlight: Nicole Thalacker

Nicole Thalacker

Nicole Thalacker, Senior (May 2013)
Major: Communications, Public Relations Emphasis
Minor: Marketing
Internship: Consumer Relations Intern with the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club



How did you find out about the internship? What interested you in the internship?

I found out about this amazing opportunity via a TeamWork Online account. I had created this account and uploaded my résumé to receive notifications about sports-related internships in the Greater Milwaukee Area. When I was notified about a Consumer Relations Internship with the Milwaukee Brewers, I applied immediately. I found great interest in this internship because it was with a well-established organization that would allow me to practice my Public Relations major and Marketing minor throughout my time there. I also saw the Milwaukee Brewers as an appealing opportunity to experience marketing and media relations through the view of a sports team. I also love the Milwaukee Brewers. It took me approximately six weeks to secure my internship. I went through a process of a phone interview, followed by an in-person interview. I was offered the position close to three weeks after.

What did you do during your internship?

I participated in community, campus and ballpark events as an Ambassador of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club. My key responsibilities included promoting Student Nights at Miller Park, raising awareness of the Brewers on UW-Whitewater’s campus, research projects on sports marketing techniques and working as a team to propose new promotions for the Brewers to execute in future seasons. I had the opportunity to assist our Senior Manager of Advertising and Marketing with social media forums such as Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. I also assisted our Senior Marketing Director with special events and Milwaukee Brewers Player appearances in the community.

What did you learn during your internship? How did this opportunity relate to your career goals?

I learned a great amount not only about the Milwaukee Brewers and sports marketing, but about UW-Whitewater as well. I experienced the “behind-the-scenes” of major promotions and ticket packages and what it is like to collaborate with other organizations such as the Milwaukee Zoo and the Harley-Davidson Museum. I learned many regulations at UW-Whitewater and how I’m able to promote the Milwaukee Brewers while abiding by campus guidelines. I also learned what it is like to work in a professional setting where deadlines have to be met and communication is the key to a successful department.

This opportunity relates to my career goals because I now know that working in sports is an atmosphere I would love to be in. I knew coming into this that either it would be a learning experience and I would love it, or decide it wasn’t the right career path for me.  I’m not completely ruling out other opportunities unrelated to sports, but I see myself in this industry. Things are always changing, new ideas are constantly brewing and the networking is endless.

What advice would you give other students about internships?

The advice I would give to other students about internships is to have them, and once you have them use every opportunity you can to meet as many people in the organization as possible. Employers can look at someone’s résumé who has a 4.0 GPA with no internships, but decide to hire a person who has a 3.0 and internship experience. Students need to put themselves out there because finding jobs in this economy is not always easy. Gaining experience will set you apart from other candidates and show that you’re willing to work. I would also advise students to take ‘no’ as a redirection, not as a rejection. Things work out how they are supposed to work out, so keep trying.

What did Nicole’s supervisor have to say?

Nicole spearheaded our Tumblr and many other social media accounts to raise awareness of the Brewers promotions. She took on several projects, from analyzing MLB team email blast designs to creating a new promotion for the Brewers to implement in the future.

Nicole is constantly presenting new ideas and while she has grown throughout her internship professionally, she is also expanding the knowledge of our marketing team by sharing her ideas and creativity with us.

Congratulations Nicole on being selected as UW-Whitewater Intern of the Month for September 2012!

Are you having or have you had an outstanding internship experience like Nicole? Tell employers, faculty, and, of course, fellow UW-W students what makes/made your internship experience so great! Be featured in the Intern Spotlight! To learn more, visit the UWW Intern of the Month Program page.

Be sure to check out past featured students’ stories as well!