Angela Sorkan, Sophomore (May 2014)
Major: Women’s Studies
Minor: Health Promotion
Internship: Shelter/Women’s Advocate Intern with the YWCA of Rock County
How did you find out about the internship? What interested you in the internship?
Last summer, I was enrolled in a Feminist Theories class and my professor forwarded an email from a staff member of the YWCA asking for volunteers in the Domestic Violence Shelter for Women. I emailed the staff member, went in the next week for a volunteer interview, filled out paperwork, and began volunteering in August.
I volunteered all fall semester and thought I would ask about internship opportunities. I emailed the staff member that I met with about volunteering and she forwarded me to one of the directors. I instantly started emailing her with curiosity about being a women’s advocate and asking what I could learn from those who run the shelter. I was curious about the legal side of things, the counseling, the life of the children – I had a lot of enthusiasm to learn. We met for an interview, talked about my background as a Certified Nursing Assistant and about my job working in a group home with individuals that have mental disabilities, and she said I had a lot of skills that would be helpful for working with women in the shelter. She offered me the internship that day in her office. It was honestly a dream come true for me, because this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Describe your internship experience.
I have taken charge of planning a county-wide volunteer recruitment event, booking meeting rooms at four different libraries in Rock County to host our recruitment events as well as putting together fliers to grab the attention of community members. My director and I will be presenting to the public how to become a volunteer and the benefits of volunteering!
I have also put together a tutoring program at the shelter for the children so they can stay caught up in school. I organized the program by using my best resources, my Sigma Sigma Sigma sisters, and we now have two to three girls here Monday through Thursday to help tutor the children in the shelter.
My most recent project is working on the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This is the first time the YWCA has participated in this week, so I am thrilled to be organizing it. It is April 22nd-28th, and we will be focusing on this year’s theme, Extending the Vision, Reaching Every Victim. To participate in this event, we will be going to local places and hanging up resources that were sent by the National Center for Victims of Crime. This is what they aim for us to do, to reach out and spread resources. Also, I will be giving a presentation to all staff and families in the shelter on April 10th followed by tie-dying shirts here in the shelter for the staff, mothers, and children to wear for NCVR week.
Aside from that, I am here to help all staff with any projects they need help with. I am serving as a women’s advocate so when community members walk in with a crisis, I am here to assist. I plan fun-filled days for the women, such as a women’s dinner that I organized on March 10th with the women of the Asbury Church. We ordered Chinese take-out and had a volunteer watch their children so the women could have a night all to themselves!
I am serving as an intern here to help wherever needed, and I enjoy doing so.
What have you learned during your internship experience? How did this opportunity relate to your career goals?
This opportunity has made it absolutely clear to me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. There is no better feeling than walking out of this building everyday and thinking, “Today, I helped somebody, I made a difference.” I can see how much of a difference it has made helping tutor this kids who have been taken in and out of school several times a year. They need our help.
This internship has given me the opportunity to manage projects that I would have considered fearfully until now. I am gladly making phone calls and asking major companies for donations for projects that will benefit the women and children in this shelter. I will absolutely call the library to book a room for a volunteer event, because our volunteers here mean so much to us. This internship has taught me so much responsibility.
The most important thing this internship has showed me is that there are good people out there. People who are willing to donate their time, their money, their materialistic items, lend an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on. People who want to step up and eliminate racism, domestic violence, teen dating violence, cyber-bullying etc. There are so many good-hearted people that want to raise awareness and make a change, and that is incredibly eye-opening.
What advice would you give other students about internships?
GO FOR IT! If it’s appealing to you, go for it. Never hesitate to send that email or call someone asking about an internship opportunity. It could be life changing!
Don’t let unpaid internships NOT be an option. I couldn’t imagine if I had turned down this opportunity. Most of the time you can get school credit for it – We all know we aren’t getting paid to go to class, so if you aren’t getting paid for an internship, it shouldn’t automatically eliminate it as an option.
Look into several options and contact several people about internships. Just because you ask about one, doesn’t mean you’re tied to it. Make sure you are finding the right one for you. You want to find the one that makes you excited to wake up in the morning and go!
What did Angela’s supervisor have to say?
I have received very positive feedback from Angela, the mothers, and our Child-Family Advocate on the vast improvements the children have made in very little time from Angela’s efforts.
Angela has definitely become a valuable part of our team
Congratulations Angela on being selected as UW-Whitewater Intern of the Month for May 2012!
Are you having or have you had an outstanding internship experience like Angela? 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!