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One Student’s English Internship with the McNair Program

| Anneka Shaver

Madeline Lunzer

Many students wonder how to fit everything they want to achieve during their university experience into four years. Madeline Lunzer, senior Communications major and Creative Writing minor at UWEC, has managed to complete a major and minor along with an English Internship in Writing all in under four years. Over the past semester she has enjoyed the opportunity to put her editing skills to the test as a paid intern for the Ronald McNair program on campus.

The McNair program, named in honor of astronaut Ronald McNair, aims to assist students from underrepresented populations in achieving their goals of attending graduate school. Specifically, its objective each semester is to help students find mentors, and publish research papers and projects that will aid them in accomplishing this. The program arrived at Eau Claire in 2000 and currently there are around forty McNair scholars on campus.

Madeline’s work as an intern for the program can vary. Some days she has the freedom to edit papers in the comfort of her own home while on others, she has scheduled one-on-one meetings with scholars from the program where she helps them edit everything from paper abstracts to resumes and personal statements. She says, “Anything they need help editing, I’m there for.” She cited her creative writing workshop classes within the English department as integral to her success as an intern, giving her prior experience in editing her peer’s work.

McNair Program

One cool thing about this internship for her is that she gets to work with students from many different disciplines spanning art, science, math, history and more. Despite having no background knowledge in the content of many of the research papers she edits, she highlights that her job is to make sure the information flows well, that there are no grammar mistakes, and that things are well-organized. Furthermore, she cites her communications classes as preparing her well for communicating with students from a variety of disciplines and for making connections with people whose interests and personalities are different from her own.

In speaking to her desire to pursue an English internship on campus, she emphasized her interest in writing, also stating, “The people in the English department are so welcoming, accepting, and helpful, so I knew I wanted to experience working with people from the department.” Then, referencing her interest in the McNair internship specifically, she states, “I thought it would be a good way to challenge myself and foster my writing and editing skills. Additionally, I thought it would be a good fit for my communications background, because in my role I have to find a way to level the playing field so that I can understand and work efficiently with people from different disciplines from my own.”

Madeline has found the internship to be impactful in her life due to the connections she’s made with her supervisors, Matt Evans, program Director, Ka Vang, program Associate Director, and the students she works with. What she hopes to take away from her internship is knowing that she can collaborate with a variety of different people under tight deadlines. She says, “Knowing I can do that efficiently and well I think is going to be a benefit in both my classes and eventual career, along with the connections I’ve made and where those could eventually go.” Overall, she remarks of her internship, “It let me realize how many opportunities there are for an English student. You’re not just limited to a few things, like being a writer for the rest of your life, there’s so many options for where you can go. No matter what, employers are always, always going to want a strong writer, and regardless of what field I go into I know the skills I’ve learned through this internship will have drastically made a positive impact.”

Already, she has seen her work for the program come to fruition, having been hired to continue on as an intern for the fall 2018 semester, which will be her last here at Eau Claire. Her hope for her second semester as an intern is that she’ll be able to work with more of the McNair scholars. Additionally, this summer she will be interning as a volunteer coordinator for Uptown Association in Minneapolis. Needless to say Madeline’s internship already has been and will continue to be a powerful asset to her resume.

You can find more information on the McNair program at UW-Eau Claire on their website, https://www.uwec.edu/mcnair/ and can find more information about the English department internships on the English department website, https://www.uwec.edu/academics/college-arts-sciences/departments-programs/english/.