From the Archives… Resource Spotlight: Idealist

Originally published April 13, 2009

It’s been awhile since I highlighted a resource for your internship search; it’s about time I changed that. The first resource that I touched on was [Hawk Jobs], UW-Whitewater’s internship/job database. In this post, I want to highlight Idealist, a project of the nonprofit organization Action Without Borders.

Nonprofit organizations, charities, NGOs, government agencies, and universities all use Idealist to post internships. You can search for internship opportunities based on organizations’ area of focus, ranging from children and youth to economic development. The internships listed are located all across the United States and around the globe, with the bulk of opportunities located in the US. You can even perform an advanced search for opportunities and subscribe to an RSS feed of that search. You can then use a feed reader to get updates on new items that meet your search terms.

You can also find volunteer opportunities on Idealist. Volunteer work can be just as valuable as an internship, and it might be the primary way to obtain relevant experience as an undergraduate in some fields (ex. human services).

As I mentioned before, in addition to finding domestic opportunities, you can search for internships and volunteer work all over the world. International experience not only has the potential to be great life experience, but it also enhances your marketability come time to find a full-time job after graduation. A new resource on Idealist is their International Volunteerism Resource Center (IVRC) where they provide information to help you make informed decisions about volunteering abroad. And since the idea of an internship doesn’t always exist in the same way in other countries, volunteering abroad can be an ideal way to gain international work experience. You can also access Idealist in 11 different languages, so you can practice your Spanish language comprehension if you’d like. Maybe I’ll challenge myself to use the site in French from now on.

Idealist is not only a search resource, but it’s an interactive website where organizations and individuals can connect, exchange information and ideas, and learn more about community action. They [support info centers] for a variety of [topics], such as Graduate School and Nonprofit Careers. You can also [connect with Idealist through social media:]


Idealist is in the list of General Internship Search Resources on our Student Internships site.

Confessions of a Summer Intern: Bittersweet End to a Fantastic Summer

Hello again!

What a bittersweet ending to a fantastic summer! I never imagined I would leave with such an array of good experiences and memories. I’ve met so many amazing and very accomplished individuals and even lifelong friends. I’ve volunteered many hours for a good cause, learned how to professionally present 15-minute to hour long presentations, and even met the CEO in the elevator.

Those are just the smallest of events that occurred over my internship experience at Rockwell Automation. As I mentioned in my first post, I had eight main projects to work on over the course of my internship, and I decided to discuss three of them.

Staffing, to refresh your memory, is the process of finding qualified applicants, phone screening them, bringing them in for an interview, and finally filling the open position if they answer the interview questions well and they have the appropriate experience/skills. I got to be a part of this process four times this summer and interviewed ten different individuals. I couldn’t believe how many different types of people are looking for employment. I think Rockwell does an excellent job of hosting all-day interviews and review sessions, and they do the best they can to hire the individual who is best qualified for the job and will most greatly benefit the company.

The second project I had was the ‘Retention Database.’ This project was definitely different than all of the others because it required much patience and understanding. In the end, we had to create a ‘dashboard’ of all of the most interesting graphs and findings on how to retain the most sales interns/employees. We used variables such as key college, GPA, caliper test (like a personality test), their interview scores, and many more. There were so many things to compare; the managers couldn’t decide which data they wanted to share! Eventually, I will present this information with another woman who worked with the majority of the data to our Director of HR and the three other managers who started the project. Luckily, I will have some time to prepare, as I have two weeks left.

My Onboarding project is even more unique. Remember, Onboarding is the process when new employees are going to work for their first time. They need to know how the company functions, what to expect, and how to adapt to the new company within the first six months. I am now in the final stages of completing this project. I had to contact 14 sales offices in North America (including Canada) and ask them for their ‘Onboarding Checklist,’ or the list referred to when each of these sales offices is welcoming a new sales engineer. The reason I contacted so many different offices is because I am trying to regulate and universalize one checklist, so that every location can use the same one, and every new employee can gain the same experience as their co-worker working in Dallas or Kansas, or whichever location they get assigned to. Trust me, it is a task. All I have to do after that is conduct a conference call with all of these 14 locations and roll out my new checklist, ask for any issues or concerns, and fix them right away. I believe this checklist will greatly help universalize the Onboarding process and create a more unified staff at all Rockwell locations.

As for networking, I’ve expanded my Rockwell network and met with just about 50 people. I couldn’t stop myself! There are so many different types of people at this company, and they’re so interesting!

In my previous post, I mentioned I had to present an hour long presentation about ‘Managing Generations.’ I prepared well, had concise and interesting information, but there were a variety of unexpected events I had to adapt to quickly. About a week before my presentation, the whole subject of my presentation changed. Initially, it was ‘Managing Four Different Generations in the Workplace,’ but then it was changed to ‘Communicating with Four Different Generations in the Workplace.’ While you might not think there is a huge difference, there is. However, I had some help from my manager and created a precise script so that I wouldn’t feel unorganized or unprepared. Throughout it all, I feel I was pretty successful and assisted interns understand why it is so important to be aware of the different generations that surround them in the workforce. Each of them communicates differently, thinks differently, and brings so much more to the workplace (experience-wise) than we could never imagine.

Though my internship was demanding, I still had a chance to get to know many new interns. Rockwell donates a variety of their time and money to the United Way, so the interns of Milwaukee got to participate in a ‘Day of Caring’ around the city. This was refreshing because we were allowed to leave the office for an afternoon. The group I was assigned to assisted a small charter school called La Causa, just three blocks away from our Rockwell building. Some interns gardened, picked up trash, scrubbed desks and swept the floor, babysat, played with older kids on the playground, while I got to paint.

Our group at La Causa.
Rockwell Intern Day 2011, Group

Here I am with two of my other friends painting in the art room.
Rockwell Intern Day 2011, Art Room

There are only a few things left that I must pull together within these last two weeks. With that being said, I am proud of my accomplishments and I can’t wait to go back to school and test what I’ve learned from my internship in my classes. While college really is the best time in our lives, it really wouldn’t be that bad working for Rockwell everyday. I look forward to graduation and the opportunities that may arise before then.

That’s all I have for you! Thanks for reading!

Hope you all had a wonderful summer!

Read Gabby’s Internship Journey

  1. Meet Gabby Fenzel
  2. Time Flies When You’re Learning So Much

Other Summer Intern Confessions

Erin Quist

Sarah Suter

Alysondra Milano

Last-Minute Internship Search: Volunteering

Dead End - mid

We have hit the end of the spring semester and the last of my last-minute internship search posts. Before delving into the final strategy, here is the run-down of the previous ones, in case you missed any:

If you can’t find an internship, if nothing you find or try works out, or if the basic seasonal job you get just is what it is, add some volunteer or community service work to your summer schedule. I have come across too many students who shortchange their community service experiences, believing that they aren’t as valuable as paid gigs. If this is you, you couldn’t be more wrong.

I wrote about this very topic in a recent post for the Student Branding Blog. Read it here: “Serve Your Community, Serve Your Brand.”

In addition to finding career-related volunteer work, seek opportunities for informational interviews or job shadowing. Put your employer sourcing and networking skills to good use – identify and reach out to professionals in your field. Check out the following resources for more tips and ideas:

The UWW Internships Blog will be on hiatus for a couple of weeks. New posts will return in June for a new round of the “Confessions of a Summer Intern” series. Be sure to check it out as a new crop of UW-Whitewater students take on internships in Wisconsin, in cyber-space, and across the world. Should be exciting!

Photo by Benny Lin

Internship Link Roundup for the Week of February 14

Preparing for an Internship or Volunteer Experience

Join Career & Leadership Development on Tuesday, November 16 from 1:10-2:00pm for “Preparing for an Internship or Volunteer Position.” This panel discussion will highlight how to apply, prepare for and survive an internship or volunteer experience.

Our panelists are from local agencies and organizations with successful programs as well as current students and alumni who successfully navigated the internship process. Speakers include:

  • Kevin Brunner, City Manager for the City of Whitewater
  • Ann Dudzek, Big Brother Big Sisters
  • Danielle Calkins, alumna and former intern turned permanent employee at Reader’s Digest
  • Ellen Hatfield, UW-W graduate assistant in Career & Leadership Development

This is the perfect time to begin preparing for your summer internship search. We hope you join us for this informative program.

Preparing for an Internship or Volunteer Experience
Tuesday, November 16
University Center, Hamilton Room