Confessions of a Summer Intern: Bittersweet End to a Fantastic Summer

Hello again!

What a bittersweet ending to a fantastic summer! I never imagined I would leave with such an array of good experiences and memories. I’ve met so many amazing and very accomplished individuals and even lifelong friends. I’ve volunteered many hours for a good cause, learned how to professionally present 15-minute to hour long presentations, and even met the CEO in the elevator.

Those are just the smallest of events that occurred over my internship experience at Rockwell Automation. As I mentioned in my first post, I had eight main projects to work on over the course of my internship, and I decided to discuss three of them.

Staffing, to refresh your memory, is the process of finding qualified applicants, phone screening them, bringing them in for an interview, and finally filling the open position if they answer the interview questions well and they have the appropriate experience/skills. I got to be a part of this process four times this summer and interviewed ten different individuals. I couldn’t believe how many different types of people are looking for employment. I think Rockwell does an excellent job of hosting all-day interviews and review sessions, and they do the best they can to hire the individual who is best qualified for the job and will most greatly benefit the company.

The second project I had was the ‘Retention Database.’ This project was definitely different than all of the others because it required much patience and understanding. In the end, we had to create a ‘dashboard’ of all of the most interesting graphs and findings on how to retain the most sales interns/employees. We used variables such as key college, GPA, caliper test (like a personality test), their interview scores, and many more. There were so many things to compare; the managers couldn’t decide which data they wanted to share! Eventually, I will present this information with another woman who worked with the majority of the data to our Director of HR and the three other managers who started the project. Luckily, I will have some time to prepare, as I have two weeks left.

My Onboarding project is even more unique. Remember, Onboarding is the process when new employees are going to work for their first time. They need to know how the company functions, what to expect, and how to adapt to the new company within the first six months. I am now in the final stages of completing this project. I had to contact 14 sales offices in North America (including Canada) and ask them for their ‘Onboarding Checklist,’ or the list referred to when each of these sales offices is welcoming a new sales engineer. The reason I contacted so many different offices is because I am trying to regulate and universalize one checklist, so that every location can use the same one, and every new employee can gain the same experience as their co-worker working in Dallas or Kansas, or whichever location they get assigned to. Trust me, it is a task. All I have to do after that is conduct a conference call with all of these 14 locations and roll out my new checklist, ask for any issues or concerns, and fix them right away. I believe this checklist will greatly help universalize the Onboarding process and create a more unified staff at all Rockwell locations.

As for networking, I’ve expanded my Rockwell network and met with just about 50 people. I couldn’t stop myself! There are so many different types of people at this company, and they’re so interesting!

In my previous post, I mentioned I had to present an hour long presentation about ‘Managing Generations.’ I prepared well, had concise and interesting information, but there were a variety of unexpected events I had to adapt to quickly. About a week before my presentation, the whole subject of my presentation changed. Initially, it was ‘Managing Four Different Generations in the Workplace,’ but then it was changed to ‘Communicating with Four Different Generations in the Workplace.’ While you might not think there is a huge difference, there is. However, I had some help from my manager and created a precise script so that I wouldn’t feel unorganized or unprepared. Throughout it all, I feel I was pretty successful and assisted interns understand why it is so important to be aware of the different generations that surround them in the workforce. Each of them communicates differently, thinks differently, and brings so much more to the workplace (experience-wise) than we could never imagine.

Though my internship was demanding, I still had a chance to get to know many new interns. Rockwell donates a variety of their time and money to the United Way, so the interns of Milwaukee got to participate in a ‘Day of Caring’ around the city. This was refreshing because we were allowed to leave the office for an afternoon. The group I was assigned to assisted a small charter school called La Causa, just three blocks away from our Rockwell building. Some interns gardened, picked up trash, scrubbed desks and swept the floor, babysat, played with older kids on the playground, while I got to paint.

Our group at La Causa.
Rockwell Intern Day 2011, Group

Here I am with two of my other friends painting in the art room.
Rockwell Intern Day 2011, Art Room

There are only a few things left that I must pull together within these last two weeks. With that being said, I am proud of my accomplishments and I can’t wait to go back to school and test what I’ve learned from my internship in my classes. While college really is the best time in our lives, it really wouldn’t be that bad working for Rockwell everyday. I look forward to graduation and the opportunities that may arise before then.

That’s all I have for you! Thanks for reading!

Hope you all had a wonderful summer!

Read Gabby’s Internship Journey

  1. Meet Gabby Fenzel
  2. Time Flies When You’re Learning So Much

Other Summer Intern Confessions

Erin Quist

Sarah Suter

Alysondra Milano

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 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

Internship Inspiration from the Protests in Wisconsin

Photo by edkohler

What a week for Wisconsin! There are so many internship-related directions I could take the blog – political internships, education-related internships, criminal justice internships…

What I’ve opted to highlight is internships in the media. Local media have been covering the story in Madison since day one. However, after the Democratic Senators fled Wisconsin yesterday, national news outlets have blown up with the story. Obviously, the media – traditional and new – play an important role in our society.

So how can you begin building experience in the field? Here are some ideas:

On the Local Front

  • Newspapers: Some of the state’s major newspapers are options for internships. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lists their various internships – marketing, design, and of course, editorial and reporting – on their jobs website. The Wisconsin State Journal and Capital Times are owned by Capital Newspapers, so opportunities with both can be found on their joint jobs page.
  • Television: The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association has bundled TV internship contacts for many state stations. In addition to the contact person, they provide basic information on responsibilities, pay, and requirements.

** The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is hosting their 2011 Student Seminar on Saturday, March 5 in Middleton. Learn about resume writing, interviewing, appearance, and preparation for the broadcasting field.

On the National Front

  • Newspapers: Obviously, the three major U.S. papers – The Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY, and the New York Times – all have competitive internship programs. However, they would likely provide incredible experience. The Wall Street Journal offers a variety of opportunities, including some abroad, but they do have a fall application deadline for the following summer (so you could start planning for Summer 2012). USA TODAY also has a summer internship application deadline in December, but, on occasion, a student can secure an internship after their initial deadlines. The New York Times, with opportunities obviously based in New York, have a variety of internship options as well.
  • Television: To look for internship opportunities with CNN is to open up opportunities with all Turner Broadcasting System channels, including truTV, TNT, and TBS. Fox News has Fox News Channel University (FNCU). In addition to information on their various internship positions, their site becomes a centralized professional development resource for potential interns and a location to feature work by current and former Fox News interns.

Obviously, this only skims the surface of opportunities in the media. However, I hope it provides motivation and ideas for further exploration.

An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

Photo by lululemon athletica

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting to the Applied Communication in Health & Wellness class on the topic of careers in public health. Public health is a rapidly changing field with growing opportunities. The field is so broad that there’s something for almost everyone.

If you are not familiar with the field of public health, here is a definition from What Is Public Health?, a project of the Association of Schools of Public Health:

Public Health is the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention. Public health professionals analyze the effect on health of genetics, personal choice and the environment in order to develop programs that protect the health of your family and community.

While clinical health is focused on an individual’s health and disease diagnosis and treatment, public health is about the community as a whole.

If you are a current undergrad interested in learning more about or gaining experience in this field, here are some internship ideas:

  • Business and Communications: Finance, human resources, IT, marketing, public relations…these are all functions found in health services environments. Consider a PR internship with a hospital or a sales internship with a pharmaceutical company.
  • Social Sciences and Human Services: Behavioral Science and Health Education are big areas within the field of public health. This area includes coordinating health promotion/prevention programs, doing community outreach, and teaching. University Health & Counseling Services has hosted students in health education and outreach roles. Communications roles are common in this area as well, and students have interned with nonprofit organizations such as the American Heart Association.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM): Trends are indicating huge needs in public health as it relates to STEM fields. Critical shortages of researchers have been identified in chemistry, toxicology, occupational health, environmental epidemiology, and environmental engineering. The demand for biostatisticians is also high. Explore opportunities with federal agencies like the USDA or in private industry with a local company such as Standard Process.

You can find some public health related opportunities under our Nonprofit/Social/Human Services and International internship resource sections. Additionally, check out the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s resource on careers in public health for more ideas of the employers you could explore internship possibilities with.

And stay tuned! I have a fun collaboration coming up in a few weeks that will connect nicely with the topic of public health/health education…

Speaking of collaborations, check out my guest post on the CoBE Report about career fairs. Even though the Multicultural Career Fair has passed, you can use the strategies at future fairs both on campus and off.

Fall Internships with The Escape Teen Center in Fort Atkinson

The Escape Teen Center in Fort Atkinson is seeking students to fill three different internship positions for Fall 2010: Development/Special Events Intern, Public Relations/Marketing Intern, and Program Intern.

About the Escape: The Escape of Fort Atkinson strives to serve the educational, social, recreational, and spiritual needs of the Fort Atkinson area teen by providing a safe place to call their own. Their mission and purpose is defined by their “4Cs:” Connected to Christ. Constructing Character. Conditioning Conduct. Caring for the Community. Their programs serve an average of 40 youth a night during the school year, in both middle school and high school programs.

Position Overviews:

Development/Special Events Intern

The Development Intern is responsible for assisting the Development Director in donor fundraising activities, coordinating fundraising events, grant writing, and soliciting corporate donations. The internship will focus on assisting with the donor breakfast and Community First Night, along with grant writing and other special events and duties. The intern will be expected to attend board meetings, the majority of special events, and staff meetings.

They are looking for a student majoring in or with experience in communications, marketing, event planning, or public relations (preferably).

Public Relations/Marketing Intern

The Public Relations/Marketing Intern is responsible for assisting the Development Director in the promotion of the Escape Teen Center programs and special events. They are also responsible for assisting in ongoing and special marketing campaigns. The internship will also focus on creating newsletters, brochures, and other related collateral. The intern will be expected to attend board meetings, the majority of special events, and staff meetings.

They are looking for a student majoring in or with experience in graphic design, communications, marketing, event planning, or public relations (preferably). Experience with Adobe InDesign/Photoshop also preferred.

Program Intern

The Program Intern’s focus is on planning and implementing various programs and events for the Escape Teen Center’s participants. They are responsible for assisting in overseeing the youth at the center and assuring the center is a safe, welcoming place. They are also responsible for researching and implementing activities as directed by the Program Director.

They are looking for a student majoring in or with experience in psychology, education, youth development, sociology, or social work (preferably). Applicants should be available to work some hours when the center is open:

  • Middle School Program – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 3-6pm
  • High School Program – Tuesdays and Wednesday from 6-9pm; Fridays from 6-10pm

Details for All Three Positions:

All interns must demonstrate an ability to relate to the needs and concerns of youth. Candidates must work effectively with individuals, group, and co-workers. Selected individuals must be committed to youth issues, be creative, self-motivated, and possess the ability to work independently while having the ability to take direction from others and work well in a team setting. The intern must have excellent personal and professional boundaries. Finally, interns must be willing to undergo a background check (required by law).

All positions begin in September 2010. Work hours are 10-35 hours/week, and some hours may be performed from outside of the center. Interns may attend additional meetings and activities as needed.

Interested? Email me, Laura Jacobs, at