What is an internship?
An internship is an opportunity for a student to work in an organization and acquire "hands-on" training. The internship, typically ten hours a week of work during a semester, allows the student to apply knowledge and skills that they have read about or talked about in class, further strengthening their own professional development. About half of the internships are paid, typically in the range of $7-$10 an hour. While a significant number of interns are not paid, the benefits of being able to participate in a professional setting, to gain resume-building experience, and to discover whether or not one enjoys that kind of work far outweigh the small income foregone.
What about credits? Does the internship fulfill any requirements?
Students may do several internships during their college career. Internships may be taken for 3-12 credits, with 50 hours of work required for each credit hour of internship. Most students sign up for 3 credits. Only 3 credits are counted toward fulfilling major or minor requirements. Thus, if a student enrolls for a 3-credit internship, he/she should plan on 150 hours at the sponsoring organization, spending about 10 hours per week at the organization that semester. Internships may be taken in the fall, spring or summer semesters. Internships taken in the summer semester may count for fall semester credits (see the internship coordinator for details). Occasionally, students may continue the internship into the following semester and enroll for additional credits.
What types of internships are available?
Students have obtained internships in city, county and state agencies, including Brown County and the Department of Natural Resources. They have worked for non-profit organizations such as the United Way and St. Vincent Hospital. Students have worked on-campus in Admissions, the Sports Center, and other offices. They have worked for a variety of private corporations, including Wisconsin Public Service, Robert E. Lee and Associates, and Foth and Van Dyke. They have worked out in the field as well as in small and large offices.
Students in Urban and Regional Studies have placed undergraduate students with numerous organizations in northeast Wisconsin, including the Bay-Lakes Planning Commission, Brown County Planning Department, De Pere Planning Department, Green Bay Planning Department, Green Bay Housing Department, Green Bay Transportation Department, On Broadway, Inc., Oneida Tribe of Indians, and The United Way of Brown County.
Every July, Dr. Marcelo Cruz leads a group of students on an international internship experience in Ecuador. The program provides opportunities for students to hone technical and writing skills, interact with professionals in the field while doing real and meaningful work, and finally puts students outside of their comfort zone where they must understand and learn about themselves. Dr. Cruz says he grows from each experience and learns something from each and every participant. He is constantly looking for strong recruits for this continuing program.
In short, the array of internship possibilities is large, and students who persevere should be able to find a position in an organization that appeals to them. To investigate the possibilities, visit the PEA Internship Coordinator or go online to: http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/connections/internships.asp.
Another source of information on internships and jobs for those interested in "organizing, engaging, and mobilizing people" can be found at Grassroots Solutions: www.grassrootssolutions.com/.
Who can do an internship? Do I have to meet certain pre-requirements?
To do an internship with the PEA Department, students must be registered as a major or minor in environmental policy and planning, public administration, political science or economics. The student also must have a junior or senior class rank and at least a 2.75 grade point average. Three courses within the major must be completed prior to the internship.
Besides working at the organization, are there any other course requirements?
- Interns are expected to keep track of their hours, documenting the amount of time spent on the internship and the duties performed.
- Interns are expected to contact the Internship Coordinator about two weeks into the internship, and monthly thereafter to let the coordinator know how things are going.
- In addition to the work performed at the sponsoring organization, interns are expected to complete EITHER a final 8-10 page paper or a weekly reflection journal, due at the end of the semester.
- Interns are encouraged to participate in an internship forum that occurs at the end of the semester.
How are internships graded?
Grades are determined on the quality of the student's work performance, as assessed by the intern supervisor, and the quality of the final report and other materials, as assessed by the faculty internship coordinator. The evaluation asks the internship supervisor to assess the intern's reliability and punctuality, job effort and quality of work, as well as to assign a grade for the intern. Get the form here: Supervisor Evaluation Form
What are the steps involved in obtaining an internship?
- The key to establishing an internship is to start early -- preferably the semester before the student wants to register for the internship. Meet with the Internship Coordinator to prepare a strategy to locate the appropriate kind of opportunity. The coordinator can help you get started.
- Prepare a cover letter and a resume, and send it to a possible sponsoring organization. The cover letter should express your interest in an internship; the resume should highlight relevant work and academic experience. Successful interns approach the process as though they were looking for a job.
- Once an internship position is identified, and verbal agreement on an acceptable arrangement has been made, a Proposal Form is completed by the PEA Internship Coordinator. The Proposal Form describes the location and duration of the internship, any compensation that may be available, as well as the duties that the intern will perform for the organization. The student then takes the Proposal Form, gets the appropriate signatures, and registers for the internship credits.
Who can I talk to about internship possibilities?
Any PEA faculty can supervise an internship. The Internship Coordinator is:
Associate Professor and Internship Coordinator
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Department of Public and Environmental Affairs
2420 Nicolet Drive, MAC B331
Green Bay, WI 54311