Internships are an effective way for students to prepare themselves for a career through immersion in hands-on professional experiences that develop their skills. Sometimes, internships even launch students right into employment. Two senior English majors, Hannah Metry (Education) and Diana Breza (Rhetorics of Science, Technology, and Culture), share how they turned their internship experiences into employment reality.
Eager to expand her experiences at UWEC, Hannah Metry recalls her interest in an English Department internship at the end of her junior year, and how she pursued the application process by meeting with internship director Dr. Jenny Shaddock. “I reached out and told her what I was looking for, a (hopefully) paid position that would give me a chance to use my English major in some way,” she explains. “We had a meeting in her office and she shared the famous English internship packet with me, and we scoured it for interesting positions that were available that I thought would be a good fit.”
The fit Hannah found was an hourly, paid position as a Transition Technician for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) in McIntyre Library, in which she supports faculty in CETL and across campus in the process of transitioning from D2L to Canvas. Hannah elaborates on the responsibilities of the position, sharing, “Transition Technicians work one-on-one with faculty to modify and re-organize their courses and help them learn more about Canvas and its features. We also work in D2L frequently, moving course materials to our new system.”
Hannah explains how she is developing her technological, writing, and communication skills through this experience. She highlights that her favorite part of the job is making guides that provide step-by-step instructions on how to do a variety of tasks in Canvas, and adds how she has begun making instructional videos as well. “As someone who does not consider myself particularly tech-savvy, the computer skills that I have been able to develop with this job have been particularly exciting for me,” she says.
Likewise, she emphasizes the frequency with which she communicates with co-workers, supervisors, CETL staff, and campus faculty who come to her for help, and how this has prepared her as a future educator. “Knowing how to communicate with others and learn as I go will both be very valuable soft skills as a teacher, and so will being able to share information and directions in different ways,” she states.
Summing up how her internship-turned-job experience has prepared her professionally for the future, Hannah describes that knowing when to take initiative and explore new skills will be beneficial for her as an educator. “There is a lot of emphasis placed on continually educating oneself as teaching methodologies and practices change so that we can best support the students in our classroom,” she explains, “so I am going to continue to do my best to go looking for ways to gain new skills that may be useful in the future.”
Whereas Hannah found employment through investigating English Department internship opportunities, Diana Breza will be seeing her internship experience at Jamf turn into an employment reality after she graduates this semester and begins working full-time for the company, where she interned this summer and fall. “Jamf is a company committed to helping people and organizations succeed with Apple,” she explains. “We create software that helps organizations manage the Apple devices that they use.”
Diana highlights the responsibilities of her internship, one of which involves writing, editing, and maintaining documentation, including an administrator’s guide, knowledge base articles, technical papers, and user interface text. “Two other responsibilities I had were to research information I needed to write about and collaborate with other departments to ensure that the information that I wrote was technically accurate and relevant,” she adds.
Describing how these responsibilities have significantly developed her technical writing and collaboration abilities, she acknowledges that her experience as an intern at Jamf will aid her immensely when she becomes a full-time employee. Sharing how she has always wanted to pursue technical writing after graduation, she recalls the steps she took this summer to attain a full-time position. “I started a conversation with my manager when they opened a job during July for a full-time Technical Writer 1 position.” Diana continues, “Because they wanted to hire someone right away, I couldn’t apply.” Nonetheless, Diana showed her interest in working at Jamf after graduation, and around mid-August, she was offered a full-time job.
Diana explains how the skills she has learned as an intern will transfer well to her full-time position, since, at Jamf, she was never ‘just an intern.’ “At Jamf, they want their interns to have an experience where they work on important projects,” she says. “[M]y mentors wanted me to gain an understanding of Jamf’s main product (Jamf Pro), learn skills necessary to be an effective technical writer, and work on projects that interested me.” Having already participated in the activities and responsibilities of a full-time technical writer, Diana is set to make the internship-turned-employment transition with ease.