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!

Internships for Psychology Students

lol-psycat - clinical psycat

Psychology is a popular field to study and it can lead students down a variety of career paths. For some, studying psychology simply lays the foundation for work outside of the human services realm. For others, pursuing a career the human/social services field is the goal. For those pursuing a career in psychology, graduate school is a necessity, not an option.

However, relevant experience as an undergrad is still important. It can help you decide if a career in psychology is right for you. It can help support your application for graduate study. And of course, it’s an important resume-builder that sets the stage for your career.

The trouble is that finding an “internship” in psychology or counseling while an undergraduate student is a challenge. For the most part, “internships” in the field are for grad students only. So what are you to do?

  • Don’t get hung up on titles! The word “internship” has taken on far too much importance. “Internship” is just another way of saying “career-related experience.” If you look at it from that perspective, the types of opportunities you discover will grow. In fact, many small non-profit organizations offer what many would consider to be internships; they just don’t call them by that name. If you disregard opportunities categorized as “volunteer,” you are eliminating a lot of potentially relevant experiences.
  • Look at community service opportunities. More specifically, seek out long-term volunteer placements. Long-term experiences tend to span a full semester or summer, just like an “internship.” Organizations like the UWW Center for Students with Disabilities and the Whitewater area schools offer longer volunteer assignments. It’s nice for them to have continuity in their volunteers, and it’s great for someone looking for a more in-depth experience. You can find opportunities through the UWW Volunteer Clearinghouse.
  • Don’t completely rule out internship postings. Organizations like Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin, Community Action, and the Boys & Girls Club often post internships on Hawk Jobs. Some organizations post information on their own websites, so see our growing list of field-specific resources for Nonprofits and Human & Social Services.
  • Conduct some employer sourcing, network, or create your own “internship.” Identify organizations you’d like to work with, through basic research or through your network, and reach out directly to discuss the potential of setting up an internship or volunteer assignment.

While your “internship” might be called something different or be found in a slightly different way, the purpose remains the same. Find an opportunity to perform work related to the work you hope to do as a future professional.

Photo by Kelly Garbato

You Have More Experience than You Think

I feel like resumes have taken over my life this semester. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. However, I have done more than a few resume reviews during appointments, via email, and at our Resume Dr. events.

Resumes become frequent guests in my internship search appointments with students. In many instances, this is the first draft EVER of the student’s resume, and it’s often a pre-internship resume (Sometimes I’ll meet with a student who has already had an internship and is going back for more). One of the biggest concerns these students have is fear of a lack of experience.

Never fear! You probably have more experience than you think you have.

So where is all of this experience hiding? Consider the following:

  • Community Service: Extensive volunteer experiences often provide you with the exact skills employers are looking for. It wasn’t a paid job? So what! The important factor is what you actually DIDduring the experience. Take UW-Whitewater’s America Reads program, through which students tutor and work one-on-one with area elementary school children either in the classroom or in after-school reading programs. Particularly for individuals going into human services or education, this is indeed important experience.
  • Student Organization Leadership: UW-Whitewater has a wide variety of student organizations, including professional organizations such as the Forensics Team, Social Work Student Organization, and Student Wisconsin Education Association. Students who step up to take leadership roles with these or other student organizations are often doing work. The treasurer monitors a group’s finances, the secretary is the main communications hub, and the president manages the overall operations. There is a lot of real “work” a student in such a role can describe on his/her resume. Additionally, a group like the American Marketing Association (AMA) participates in a national case competition every year. Playing a role on the case competition team should provide a student with experience in research, report writing, and presenting.
  • Student Government: Students who serve as Senators or in Executive Board positions with Whitewater Student Government (WSG) are building experience in governance, legislative processes, and constituent (i.e. student) outreach. For a student considering a career in government and/or politics, this provides directly related experience. I’m hosting a resume writing workshop for History, Political Science, and Public Policy majors next week. If anyone attending hopes to go into one of these career areas AND happens to be involved in WSG, I’ll be encouraging them to place much more emphasis on their work with student government.

Look at your college activities a little differently to find experiences and skills that you can more strongly market to a potential internship site. While tucking the above experiences into a “Co-Curricular Activities” section on a resume makes sense in some cases (for example, you’re just a regular member of the organization, it was a one-time community service activity, or an organization is purely for fun), other circumstances allow you to highlight important work that you’ve done in a seemingly innocuous part of your college life.

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Photo by sansfaim