Intern Spotlight: Troy Chadwick ’12

Troy Chadwick

Troy Chadwick, Senior (May 2012)
Major: Integrated Science & Business
Minor: Forensic Science
Internship: Special Agent Intern with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigations

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

I started my search for an internship in the fall of 2010. The entire time I have been at Whitewater, I knew that I wanted to work in the field of criminal justice or forensic science. Much of my elective coursework is in those two areas.

I started my search on the UW-Whitewater Hawk Jobs website. Much of what I found was business related, therefore not what I was looking for. I took it upon myself to find an internship that fit the criteria I had. During a class with Dr. Pete Killoran, I was referred to a website for the American Academy of Forensic Sciences which had links to jobs. While searching through the jobs, I came across a posting from the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ). The Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has an established internship program run by Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Joell Schigur. All the directions on how to apply were listed, and applications were due in January. The first week of March, I received an email stating I had a time to interview. I interviewed for the position and received a call the next day stating that I had been offered an internship in the Milwaukee Field Office, pending a comprehensive background check. I passed the background check and orientation started on June 6, 2011.

Describe your internship experience.

While in the office, I was responsible for assisting a Special Agent with case-related duties. These duties included authoring reports using a case management system, compiling reports to be used for discovery at trial, statistical analysis of drug overdose deaths, and intelligence analysis.

Although we were in the office a lot, we were in the field about two days a week. In the field, we assisted Special Agents with surveillance, intelligence gathering, serving search warrants, and other case-related duties. Some things that I participated in were search warrants of subjects arrested for drug and/or child pornography. I also assisted an agent with a controlled drug buy. Lastly, all nine DCI interns were in Hayward, WI the second week of August to assist multiple agencies with the eradication of a large scale marijuana grow and conspiracy.

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

The most valuable experience I gained this summer was learning how to build a case from start to finish. I did a lot of work this summer with a narcotics agent, and he showed me a lot about how cases start and what you have to do to build a case strong enough to give to the prosecution and get a conviction.

Building a case is the one thing I learned that I will never forget. There are certain techniques very similar to steps of the scientific method that lend themselves to performing investigations. There are also special legal pathways an agent must follow in order to ensure the work (s)he has done will stand up in a court of law.

A very high majority of the agents that work at DCI started off as police officers; even the administrative positions are filled by people who were once officers. The experience I had at DCI has influenced me towards going to the police academy after graduation (but I am not 100 percent sure yet).

What advice would you give other students about internships?

My advice to future students is simple: You need to have a clear choice on what you want to do. You cannot start searching for an internship, or a job for that matter, if you have no idea what you want to do. For me, it was forensic science. Once you have chosen a clear path, you can more effectively search for a company that will be the best fit.

Laura Jacobs in Career & Leadership Development is an invaluable asset to any student trying to find an internship. I had meetings with Laura on more than one occasion where she helped me search through Hawk Jobs and find many other internships and companies I otherwise would not have found alone.

The final piece of advice I would give to perspective interns is to apply to as many internships as possible. I was lucky enough to get the one internship I really wanted, but there were others I applied for that I did not even get a chance to interview for.

Congratulations Troy on being selected as UW-Whitewater Intern of the Month for November 2011!

 

Are you having or have you had an outstanding internship experience like Troy? 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!

Confessions of a Summer Intern: Getting a Virtual Internship

Bored at Work

In her second post, Alysondra Milano shares her tips for finding and securing a virtual internship. Alysondra is currently “virtually” interning with Time at the Table, a nonprofit organization working to promote the reconnection of families around the dinner table. If you missed “meeting” Alysondra, read her introduction post.

In my last post, I went through what virtual internships are and what they can offer you. Let’s go through how to actually get the internship.

Start by searching on websites like you would for any other internship. Some of my favorite places to look include Hawk Jobs and CyberInterns.com. Companies post their internships on these sites and will indicate if they are virtual. Send in your resume but make sure that it is error free since you are applying for a position that will require you to be able to communicate well through writing.

It always helps to connect with something that you like to do. If you are doing work for a cause or brand that you really believe in, it will make it a lot easier to schedule in time to complete your work for them. This is also another great way to find an internship. If you work with a nonprofit or know of a small local company that is having a hard time doing something that you could do from home, offer your services to them.

For example, my [current] internship is in social media. I approached a nonprofit recently about allowing me to do their social media for them. I told them about my experience with Time at the Table (the virtual internship that I have now) and explained how my work there could be applied to their cause. Just ask if you can do the work for free in exchange for college credit and a way to build your resume. The process to get credit is not very hard and takes just a few forms, the consent of an instructor and the consent of the person who will oversee you as an intern.

Also, write, write, write! Since you will not necessarily have a formal interview, most companies ask you to provide them with a writing sample. A great way to have some writing samples on hand is to start blogging. This will keep your writing skills sharp, and blogging may be one thing that the company will expect that you will already be able to do.

Please do your homework as well! When you send your resume, tailor it to the company that you are sending it to. These things may matter even more when they are basing who they will hire off of what they see from your online correspondence. This also shows your attention (or lack thereof) to detail. The company may set up an interview with you (and other candidates) online via Skype. If you know many different platforms, come with ideas tailored to their brand, and know their key messages and values, you will stand out among the competition.

Remember that since you are applying for a position where a brick and mortar presence is not required, that opens the field up to applicants from all over the world – applicants that will be our competition. You would not believe how many people do not follow through on the research portion. I was told after I secured my virtual internship that I was one of only two candidates who applied that took it upon themselves to research the organization and what they stood for. That can make a huge difference and secure you a position over someone who may have more experience, but doesn’t have the follow through that you were able to show!

As long as you show your desire, what services you can provide, and go above and beyond the other candidates, securing that internship will be just the beginning!

Photo Source

Intern Spotlight: Rose Schneider ’12

Rose Schneider 2

Rose Schneider, Junior (May 2012)
Major: International Journalism
Minors: Advertising & Multimedia
Internship: Intern with the Portage County Gazette

What interested you in this internship?

I’m a person who likes to be the best I can be at any given thing. I was interested in the internship position at the Portage County Gazette because I have my career goals set very high. I am an international journalism major and I aspire to work for National Geographic after graduating from Deakin in Melbourne, Australia. I know having every advantage possible is crucial when being compared to another possible candidate for any job but especially when applying for a position at the National Geographic Society.

How did you find out about the internship and approximately how long did it take you to secure it?

I found out about the internship by calling around different newspapers in and around my hometown. I was looking for an opportunity to expand my journalistic knowledge and practice things I had learned in classes at UW-Whitewater

I first contacted the Gazette in February [2010] and they told me to contact them again when the end of the semester got closer. From the time I talked to the managing editor at the end of April, I knew I had the position. Our conversations went very well and I think it was obvious to both of us that I would be a good addition to their staff for the summer.

Describe your internship experience.

The internship at the Portage County Gazette required me to be a flexible and responsible writer. There were days where I would come in and the managing editor would hand me an address and say you have an interview here in 20 minutes. I’d be expected to go to the location, get the story and pictures, then go back to the office and put the story together for that night’s paper.

One of the great things about my internship was that I was given enough leeway to go out and find my own stories. When I was assigned stories, the editor never told me how to approach them or what to look for when going out with a camera and my notebook. There was enough faith placed in me that I was free to attack any event from any angle I chose. I appreciated that more than anything, because I learned so much about myself as a journalist. And because of that freedom, I was able to develop my writing style in new ways.

There were some weeks I would write anywhere from one to three articles for the Gazette. Most of the time, I would shoot my own pictures for my stories and sometimes for other writers’ articles as well. If I shot the picture, I was responsible for writing the cutline to accompany it.

Every week I spent at least five hours reading copy for the paper. I made edits on every section ranging from obituaries to front page news. Performing copyedits was especially helpful because it was a quick way to immerse myself deeper into the world of AP style and familiarize myself with the proper usage of common words and phrases.

Since the beginning of my internship at the Gazette, I’ve written 29 articles, interviewing people from all different professions including police officers, professors, librarians, council members, high school students, dance coaches, and small children, to name a few.

How did this opportunity relate to your career goals?

This opportunity related directly to my career goals because it gave me the opportunity to develop myself further as a journalist. Also, on a personal note, it gave me the chance to prove to myself that I’m a good writer. I believe anytime a person has the opportunity to have an experience that will better themselves that he or she should take advantage of it. My experience was great because I got to work closely with so many different people in the community and by doing so, I put my name out there as a fresh and ambitious writer.

What have you learned from your internship?

  1. Always have your camera and a notepad with you because you never know when you’ll see something that may be breaking news.
  2. Never think you know how the story will turn out because the person you’re doing the article on may break their collar bone in front of you.
  3. Don’t be afraid to call someone back to double-check a fact. They will appreciate the accuracy when the article appears in print.
  4. Do a bit of research on the person you’re interviewing when possible. Generally, people like it when you’re knowledgeable about what they’re passionate about.
  5. Don’t be afraid to harass someone about getting back to you. It’s your article and your butt on the line. Call or email as much as you need to get the story done on time. That person may have accidentally thrown away your number. Twice.
  6. Never be afraid to ask co-workers questions or for feedback. You will learn so much.
  7. Always do your best. You never know when another paper will pick up your story.

What advice would you give to other students about internships?

They’re wonderful. Try to take advantage of as many as you can and build good relationships with your co-workers. What you will learn is invaluable if you’re passionate about what you’re doing.

Have you had an outstanding internship experience like Rose did? Tell employers, faculty, and fellow UW-W students what made your internship experience so great! Be featured in the Intern Spotlight! To learn more, please visit the UW-W Intern of the Month Program information page.

An Internship Isn’t Rocket Science. Or Is It?

Friday afternoon, I had the pleasure of speaking to students in the class Frontiers of Engineering & Physics (Physics 190). The course focuses on career paths and opportunities in engineering and physics. I talked about the changing nature of the workplace and what employers seek in potential employees as well as how to enhance their marketability for internships and jobs.

Physics students could pursue a variety of career paths, from direct science fields – space & earth sciences, environmental science, computer science – to non-technical fields such as law, business, journalism, and science communication. Work could be found in education (K-12 or college/university), the government, in hospitals and medical centers, and even with non-profit organizations.

So what kinds of internship opportunities might a physics major pursue? Here are some examples.

Engineering

  • Abbott offers opportunities in engineering as part of their US Internship Program. Interns might work on instrument development, manufacturing support, and systems design. Abbott’s corporate headquarters is about 40 miles north of Chicago, close to the WI/IL border.
  • Further to the north, find Lockheed Martin in Eagan, MN. At this location, your internship could involve engineering-related work (computer, industrial, electrical, mechanical, or systems) with Maritime Systems & Sensors or Transportation & Security Solutions. Even though you might find opportunities in Minnesota, there are opportunities throughout the US. Interns receive mentoring and coaching from experienced professionals, and they do real work.

Government

  • Argonne National Laboratory is a major research center for the US Department of Energy just outside of Chicago. Argonne offers internships during the fall, spring, and summer in physical/life sciences, math, computer science, and engineering research programs. There are also applied research programs relating to energy, conservation, nanomaterials, and national security. The positions are paid and participants are provided with housing.
  • Want to get away from Wisconsin? Head out to California to intern with another Department of Energy lab, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. They offer 8-10 week summer internships in radiation detection, optical imaging, astrophysics, nuclear physics, high energy density physics, plasma physics and fusion energy for undergraduate or graduate students.

Research

  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) through the US National Science Foundation is a well-know and respected program. Undergraduate researchers work as a team of around 10 at a host institution. Each student works closely with a faculty mentor on a specific research project. Student researchers earn stipends and often receive assistance with housing and travel. REU sites are all over the US, including several UW institutions. Interested students can search for opportunities by discipline, area of research, and/or by state.

Finally, no matter the physics-related path chosen, involvement in UW-Whitewater’s Undergraduate Research Program is an excellent opportunity for experience. Working with a faculty mentor and participating in UW-W’s Undergraduate Research Day, UW System Symposium, and/or the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) also offer ample opportunities to build your network.

Find information on more programs and resources for internships in STEM fields in our Find an Internship section online.

Photo by Hash Milhan

Beginning Your Internship Search

The beginning of a new school year means more students start thinking about internships. I’m both glad and relieved to hear from so many students starting to plan for the upcoming spring semester or for next summer. Internships have become a must for college students, and early planning is key to successfully securing an opportunity.

For those of you new to UW-Whitewater or for those of you just beginning to look into internships, here are some programs and services available to help you along the way:

  • One-on-One Appointments: If you are beginning your internship search, scheduling a consultation with me or one of our other career counselors is an excellent first step. You will be introduced to some resources for finding opportunities and will learn how to use both active and passive strategies for your search.
  • Twitter: Follow me on Twitter – twitter.com/uwwinternships – and learn about opportunities instantly. I also “tweet” about internship resources or tips/advice related to the internship search. Beyond following me, follow employers. There are a lot of organizations and professional on Twitter, so it makes an excellent networking tool.
  • Hawk Jobs: Earlier this summer, we launched our new internship/job management system – Hawk Jobs. When an employer sends us information on an internship opportunity, we post it here. As a current UW-W student, you can access the system with your Net ID and password. For more information, read over the helpful Student Guide or speak with a member of the career staff.
  • Faculty Internship Supervisors: Almost every academic department/major has a faculty member in charge of credited internships. If you are interested in earning credit for an internship experience, you need to talk with one of these individuals. Even if you don’t wish to enroll for credit, these are great individuals to network with. They will know where other students in your field have interned and may know of open opportunities with specific organizations.
  • Resume Dr: One important piece of paper that everyone needs as they apply for internships is a resume. However, the application process for internship opportunities is becoming much more competitive, so an OK resume just won’t cut it anymore. Get a resume “check-up” during our first Resume Dr. series of the new year. Get the list of dates/times from our Career Spotlight Blog.
  • How to Work a Career Fair: One of the resources for finding an internship is a career fair. However, career fairs can be confusing and/or intimidating events. Learn how to be successful at upcoming career fairs by attending our How to Work a Career Fair workshop on Wednesday, September 22 at 5:15pm in Summers Auditorium (UC).
  • Hawk Career Fair & Expo: Once you know how to work a career fair, be sure to attend the campus’ first major fair of the year, the Hawk Career Fair & Expo, on Wednesday, September 29 from noon to 4:00pm in the UC (Hamilton Room and UC Ballroom). We’ll have over 80 employers attend the fair, and many of these organizations have internships to fill. During the fair, drop by the Expo, a series of brief workshops provided by employers attending the fair. Session topics will include How to Work a Career Fair, Conducting Your Job Search (much of the advice should be applicable to an internship search, too), Developing Your Personal Brand, and Professional Networking. Log into Hawk Jobs to see the list of attending organizations.

No UW-W student is alone in his/her search for an internship. While no one will find one for you – nor would you want them to, believe me – there are many faculty and staff on campus to support you as you look and apply for opportunities. We have a wealth of resources online and will provide guidance on all aspects of your journey – from searching for an internship to making the most of one.

Best wishes for a successful internship search!

Photo by J. Stephen Conn