Intern Spotlight: Michael Van Den Bosch ’08

A new feature on the UW-Whitewater Student Internships Blog is the Intern Spotlight. UW-W students are doing great things as interns and have important stories to share. The Intern Spotlight will provide insight into the internships UW-W students and alumni have completed. Featured individuals share their internship stories and provide advice to current and future interns.

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Our first featured intern is Michael Van Den Bosch ’08. Michael completed a Research & Program Managment Internship with the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA) from April to December 2008. After his internship, he was hired on as the Director of Business Development for WCEDA.

Describe your internship experience.

I did a great deal of research, analysis and report writing for WCEDA. Some of the research that I did involved searching for new legislation coming out of Madison, WI and Washington, DC and determining the effects it would have on local businesses. I also did a considerable amount of research on grant and business incentive programs through federal and state departments.

Since the organization was only a few years old when I started my internship, I also found myself working on a marketing plan, reviewing and writing business plans for clients, forecasting future staffing and financial needs, and providing the technical expertise for the organization.

What was the greatest benefit of this internship?

The greatest benefit of this internship was the wide range of areas that the internship covered. Since I was able to dabble in management, marketing, operations, finance and IT, I was able to see what areas suit me best and plan my career around them.

What advice would you give to current or future interns on how to be successful in an internship?

Be willing to speak up. The company that I was interning with was fairly young, and they had no idea of the wide range of skills that I possessed as a student. Also, letting them know my limitations gave them a benchmark to measure my success when I exited the program. As students, you study the many different ways companies operate and that type of knowledge coupled with a fresh perspective is valuable to any employer.

Other thoughts or advice?

As an intern, try to learn as much about the company and how it operates as possible. Doing things that are outside your “Job Description” shows them that you are versatile and worth holding onto. Companies generally are not going to spend extra money training someone new to do the same things that you already know to do.

 

If you have an interesting internship story to tell and you would like to be considered for an Intern Spotlight feature, please email a brief synopsis of your experience to me at MorrowL@uww.edu.

 

Photo by cmcgphotography (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmcgphotography/ / CC BY 2.0)

Is There a Future Health Professional in the House?

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It seems like everyone is getting sick. I was out sick for the better part of the past week, as were several of my co-workers. Colds and the flu are making their rounds.

Do you want to work in healthcare or a health-related field? If so, what kinds of internships or career-related experiences might you find? As an undergraduate, direct patient experience can be difficult to come by due to liability issues. However, related experience is super important for learning more about the field, building your resume and/or qualifications for a professional school application, and demonstrating to future employers/professional schools that you are serious about the field.

Depending on the health field and/or professional school programs you are considering, specific amounts of health-related experience might be necessary. Even if it’s not a requirement, you should still gain substantial experience both to test your interest and to demonstrate a concern for others – an important characteristic for those in a health profession. Remember that the quality, not just quantity, of experience is important, too. A quality health-related experience is one in which you can see healthcare being provided.

Here are some ideas for gaining related work experience in a health profession while still an undergraduate:

  • Community Service – Volunteering is a great way to gain experience in a health-related environment. Check out UW-Whitewater’s Volunteer Opportunity Clearinghouse. You can find opportunities in Walworth, Jefferson and Rock counties as well as in the Milwaukee and Madison areas. While you are not providing direct patient care, you are often working with patients or clients in some capacity. You might be working in a hospital providing assitance to patients as they wait, or you might be doing activities with nursing home residents. It’s this people-directed attitude that is becoming more in demand of those in the health professions. Volunteering demonstrates this focus and provides valuable opportunities to develop strong communication skills, another attribute becoming increasingly important among healthcare workers. 
  • Paid Positions – While they require special training and certification, it is possible to obtain paid jobs in a health field while still a student. Such jobs include:
    • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
    • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
    • X-Ray or Lab Technologist
    • Phlebotomist
    • Home Health Aid/Care giver
  • Health Education Programs – Some agencies might hire students to serve as health educators. UW-Whitewater University Health & Counseling Services will often host interns to work in health education. Work experiences you may have in such a role include developing brochures or displays; co-facilitating health education programs in the residence halls or for student organizations; writing articles for the RP, Healthy U newsletter, or website; and/or developing and staffing an outreach booth. Much of the work involves a great deal of research into a health-related topic which you then teach to your peers or other clients.
  • National or International Experiences – There is no better way to spend your summer than using it to gain career-related experience. Consider participating in a work experience program outside of Wisconsin or even outside of the US.
  • Research Experience – While research experience is seldom required for admission to a professional school program, it is still extremely valuable. Research experience allows you to develop important skills, and it also reflects intellectual curiousity and motivation. You are also developing your network by working with a faculty member. A letter of recommendation from someone you know as both an instructor AND as a research supervisor can be a great asset to a professional school application.

I am finally back on the mend, and I hope the same goes for you if the cold or flu bugs have gotten to you, too. Stay healthy!

 

Some Resources:

UW-Whitewater Volunteer Opportunity Clearinghouse

UW-Whitewater UHCS Internship Opportunities

Co-Op/Internship Opportunities for Pre-Med Students

Internships in Medicine/Public Health

Internships/Scholarships in Health Professions

Health Careers – International Experience

Internships/Research Experiences in the Biological Sciences (UW-W)

UW-Whitewater Undergraduate Research Program

 

Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com (http://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/ / CC BY 2.0)

No Summer Internship Yet? It Might Not Be Too Late…

Summer break is about a month away. Have you secured a summer internship yet? While time is quickly running out, there are still opportunities out there. To make sure you gain that crucial career-related experience this summer, it is important to be proactive and flexible.

Last week, we saw 16 new internship opportunities added to HawkQuest. This included internships in conservation, marketing, IT, sales, auditing, and finance. The opportunities are located throughout Wisconsin – including Madison, Waukesha, Mukwonago, and Watertown – and in Minnesota.

A terrific opportunity was added to the Hawk Internship Program. The Wisconsin Innovation Service Center (WISC) on the UW-Whitewater campus is looking to fill 8-10 positions for Product & Market Research interns. The Product & Market Research position provides excellent real-world experience working with business clients in Wisconsin and across the United States. Plus, WISC will moving to Hyland Hall – wouldn’t it be exciting to work in the new building?!

What if none of the aforementioned internships fit your interests? What if you aren’t finding any advertised opportunities in your field? This is where being proactive comes in. Do some research, starting with the city or town where you plan on being for the summer, and discover the businesses and organizations in that community. One resource for doing this is the local Chamber of Commerce. The University Library also supports useful resources, such as LexisNexis Academic. Using LexisNexis, you can build a company list and find company information. Figure out which employers could provide you with the experience you want, then develop a plan for approaching them. Some of the most interesting internships I’ve heard about from students have been self-designed opportunities. It is entirely possible to create your own internship, but it takes careful planning, a fair amount of research, and a measure of assertion. If you think this is a strategy you’d like to employ, schedule an appointment with me.

I’ve heard through the grapevine that summer internships have been slightly down this year, some areas being hit harder than others, and that’s not a huge surprise. Some universities are reporting declines in summer internships in accounting and advertising, while others are reporting positive news for fields such as marketing, human services, and government. People are also talking about a boom in opportunities with small businesses. Small businesses want and need the help, and interns are an affordable means of getting that help. Make sure some small businesses make it into your outreach list.

Next week, I’ll write about what you can do if an “internship” doesn’t happen. Internships aren’t the only way to gain career-related work experience, and it’s a good idea to be flexible in regards to the types of opportunities you’ll consider.

Internships with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

In an earlier post, I mentioned attending an internship event with the Milwaukee 7 Water Council. At the program, I learned about the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s (MMSD) internship program. MMSD internships are paid and are available in a wide range of areas: IT, Human Resources, Laboratory Tech, Outreach (PR), Program/Business Analysis, and Water Quality Research. There are a lot of opportunities in the water industry!

The MMSD internship program has been around for a number of years and is a high-quality, well-structured program. If you’re interested in learning more about the internships and/or applying, go to the MMSD Summer Internships website.

Environmental Research-Based Internships in Hawaii

How does this sound – summer internship in Hawaii?! If I were an undergraduate with an interest in environmental science, I would be all over this!

The Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES) is a grouping of three internship programs for undergraduates interested in environmental careers and study. Interns participate in an 11-week paid internship on environmental research, resource management, and/or environmental education. Of particular interest to UW-Whitewater students would be the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) component of the program. This REU program is on Tropical Conservation Biology. It is aimed at students with limited or no research background. This is a stipend-based, credited internship; housing and some travel are provided.

The application deadline has been extended until Friday, February 27. If you are interested in learning more about or applying for this opportunity, go to the PIPES website.