Intern Spotlight: Nicole Thalacker

Nicole Thalacker

Nicole Thalacker, Senior (May 2013)
Major: Communications, Public Relations Emphasis
Minor: Marketing
Internship: Consumer Relations Intern with the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club



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

I found out about this amazing opportunity via a TeamWork Online account. I had created this account and uploaded my résumé to receive notifications about sports-related internships in the Greater Milwaukee Area. When I was notified about a Consumer Relations Internship with the Milwaukee Brewers, I applied immediately. I found great interest in this internship because it was with a well-established organization that would allow me to practice my Public Relations major and Marketing minor throughout my time there. I also saw the Milwaukee Brewers as an appealing opportunity to experience marketing and media relations through the view of a sports team. I also love the Milwaukee Brewers. It took me approximately six weeks to secure my internship. I went through a process of a phone interview, followed by an in-person interview. I was offered the position close to three weeks after.

What did you do during your internship?

I participated in community, campus and ballpark events as an Ambassador of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club. My key responsibilities included promoting Student Nights at Miller Park, raising awareness of the Brewers on UW-Whitewater’s campus, research projects on sports marketing techniques and working as a team to propose new promotions for the Brewers to execute in future seasons. I had the opportunity to assist our Senior Manager of Advertising and Marketing with social media forums such as Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. I also assisted our Senior Marketing Director with special events and Milwaukee Brewers Player appearances in the community.

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

I learned a great amount not only about the Milwaukee Brewers and sports marketing, but about UW-Whitewater as well. I experienced the “behind-the-scenes” of major promotions and ticket packages and what it is like to collaborate with other organizations such as the Milwaukee Zoo and the Harley-Davidson Museum. I learned many regulations at UW-Whitewater and how I’m able to promote the Milwaukee Brewers while abiding by campus guidelines. I also learned what it is like to work in a professional setting where deadlines have to be met and communication is the key to a successful department.

This opportunity relates to my career goals because I now know that working in sports is an atmosphere I would love to be in. I knew coming into this that either it would be a learning experience and I would love it, or decide it wasn’t the right career path for me.  I’m not completely ruling out other opportunities unrelated to sports, but I see myself in this industry. Things are always changing, new ideas are constantly brewing and the networking is endless.

What advice would you give other students about internships?

The advice I would give to other students about internships is to have them, and once you have them use every opportunity you can to meet as many people in the organization as possible. Employers can look at someone’s résumé who has a 4.0 GPA with no internships, but decide to hire a person who has a 3.0 and internship experience. Students need to put themselves out there because finding jobs in this economy is not always easy. Gaining experience will set you apart from other candidates and show that you’re willing to work. I would also advise students to take ‘no’ as a redirection, not as a rejection. Things work out how they are supposed to work out, so keep trying.

What did Nicole’s supervisor have to say?

Nicole spearheaded our Tumblr and many other social media accounts to raise awareness of the Brewers promotions. She took on several projects, from analyzing MLB team email blast designs to creating a new promotion for the Brewers to implement in the future.

Nicole is constantly presenting new ideas and while she has grown throughout her internship professionally, she is also expanding the knowledge of our marketing team by sharing her ideas and creativity with us.

Congratulations Nicole on being selected as UW-Whitewater Intern of the Month for September 2012!

Are you having or have you had an outstanding internship experience like Nicole? 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: Reflections of a (Virtual) Intern

Alysondra Milano

For my final post, I’d like to take some time on what my experience has been working with Time at the Table as a virtual intern. Interning for them has been one of the best internship experiences I have ever had, even though I do most of my work independently. With a virtual internship, you are given freedom to be creative on a project and your superiors will expect you to do good work. This type of internship is not one where you will be bringing your bosses coffee. They have real expectations of what you can accomplish, and they want quality work.

I have written many things that have been distributed on a national level. In all of my other internships, they are only distributed locally since their focus is only the surrounding area. As a public relations student, this gives me a better chance of getting my work out in another major city rather than just the ones close to home. I can share my ideas and get feedback quickly, so the editing process is usually a lot faster as well.

One thing that has been hard sometimes is to find time to do my projects. I have found that if I do not schedule them as if I had to be at an actual building for work, I put things off. I try to plan out a few hours each week now to work on my projects for the week. Because of this, some other interns have left this organization because they could not keep up with the demands.

In other internships, I have sat in the offices for hours, waiting for them to give me something to do (even though I asked for additional work constantly). At times, I felt that I was not valued in my office because I was not given that extra creative space to write as I saw fit for the project at hand. With this position, you have to have the dedication to sit down and really produce quality work.

Time at the Table has given me the opportunity to fly out to Baltimore, MD to work on their workshops. This type of travel and exposure is something I likely could not have done with a local nonprofit.

I will say that not all local internships are a bad thing. I also created a virtual volunteer social media position with Valley of the Kings animal sanctuary in Sharon, WI. These small (and possibly self-created) internships are a great way to get a foot in the door and have something to add to your resume. I use each internship as a learning experience. Don’t be afraid to start small and work your way up to larger scale projects. As long as you keep your focus and stay on top of your work, the bigger internships you are looking for will come! All it takes is some practice and patience, and maybe a virtual internship or two.

Read Alysondra’s Internship Journey

  1. Meet Alysondra Milano
  2. Getting a Virtual Internship

Other Summer Intern Confessions

Gabby Fenzel

Erin Quist

Sarah Suter


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

Confessions of a Summer Intern: Meet Alysondra Milano

Alysondra Milano

Alysondra Milano is a Communications/Public Relations Major with a minor in Advertising at UW-Whitewater. She is active on campus through her role as President of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority and through her job in the Global Business Resource Center. Alysondra will be graduating in May 2012.

Virtual internships are still foreign to most people. When I tell people that my internship is virtual and that I have never physically met my boss, it can be confusing. Some people even think that I made it up! To share my advice, I must also share the experiences that I have had as a virtual intern.

I am a virtual intern for a nonprofit called Time at the Table. The main focus is to promote healthy eating to families and to reconnect them around the dinner table. It’s all about bringing them together in conversation to make stronger, healthier lives for all of the families that we are able to touch. They have major presence in Brooklyn and in a town in South Dakota.

What is my role in this? I run their social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I write newsletters, put together press releases, send out texts via an automated text messaging service, and help to monitor the website. The best part? I can do this all from home. There is no need for me to physically commute since everything can be done from my laptop and shared with my boss through emails.

That is the only different between a virtual and a “traditional” internship. I could drive to a building, work on a computer there, and then drive home. My other option is to stay home and save myself some gas money while helping out a cause that I otherwise would not be able to because I cannot drive to Brooklyn to sit and be online in their offices. The choice for me was obvious. Virtual internships benefit the organization because they do not have to have all local talent. Time at the Table has interns everywhere from Florida to Wisconsin who are motivated and good at what they do. We are all able to work together with the use of technology. We have Skype meetings every other week so that we can all relay what we have been working on and make sure we are meeting deadlines.

Virtual internships still require a lot of work. You have to have discipline to stick to your schedule and get your work out on time. I chose to be a virtual intern because of the flexibility it allows me to have. I do not have to commute anywhere so it is saving me money while I learn the skills that I would learn in any other office. Independence is another perk of the virtual realm as I can go online whenever I choose. And I can’t lie – not having to dress up every day for work is a definite perk that I am taking full advantage of!

Next week, meet Gabby Fenzel in the 2011 Confessions of a Summer Intern series!