Intern Spotlight: Angela Sorkan ’14

Angela Sorkan

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!

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

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.

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

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