Our students launch higher, sooner

Our Letters & Science Career Initiative is unique among large public research universities. We aspire to help every one of our L&S undergraduate students — not just the extra-motivated or well-connected few — chart his or her path to success.

We knew that students and their parents were hearing that the liberal arts was a “luxury," and that they’d be better off studying fields where the job market is “hot” right now.  

But we also knew that wasn’t what employers were saying.

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Students say

“The Taking Initiative course offered me a great perspective on my future and directly related to me. Loved this course and would highly recommend to everyone."

The first step is "Taking Initiative"

Some students charge toward the future. Others meander. Some plod steadily along. A new course meets L&S students wherever they are and helps them make the most of their time here. InterLS 210: Taking Initiative is designed for second-year students. Along with developing an "elevator speech" for meeting with employers, students identify their unique strengths, enjoy small group sections, work with alumni mentors and nail down the basics of career prep. 

Faculty + Advisors + Alumni + Employers

Each has an important role in the Letters & Science Career Initiative. Generous mentoring, accessible advising, thoughtful teaching and critical thinking about the future all add up to success.

Dedicated Faculty

Dedicated Faculty

Faculty support is key to this effort. Professor Greg Downey teaches InterLS-210: Taking Initiative and InterLS 260: Internships for Credit. 

 “Our career-prep courses help students solidify their goals and aspirations, and make connections between their academic experience and the real world.”

Faculty Resources

Committed Alumni

Committed Alumni

Jill Soloway, (B.A., Communication Arts) is a Hollywood writer and director who generously shares her story here. Watch more L&S alumni via the Badger to Badger: Steps That Matter video series. Sharing advice, mentoring for the Taking Initiative course, and helping students learn to network are ways alumni can help students prepare for the future.  

Alumni get involved

Knowledgeable Advisors

Knowledgeable Advisors

Leslie Kohlberg is a 20-year L&S advising expert who tells students: “Your first year is not the time to be figuring out your entire life. You’re simply expected to figure out your next best step. And insights will follow."

L&S Advising



Jim Vincent from American Family Insurance met students at the opening of the first-ever careers residence: Career Kickstart, in Ogg Hall.  Am-Fam and other companies are key supporters of the LSCI.

Employer Sponsorship

L&S Career Initiative News

Career Initiative in Action

Focusing Early on Career Path

Rebekah Paré is an object lesson in the career path of a liberal arts major. She was a graduate student in German and musicology at UW-Madison when she got a job putting her teaching experience to work helping advise students on their career paths. Something clicked.

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UW gets $360,501 Career-Ready Internship Grant

A grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corp. is anticipated to support 205 new paid internships during the 2015-2018 academic years. Internships are critical to career prep, but many students can't afford an unpaid stint with an organization. This grant will help.

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Surveys show L&S alumni flourishing

Data from two comprehensive surveys, conducted as part of the L&S Career Initiative (LSCI), show L&S alumni are reaping the benefits of those widely-applicable skills after graduation. Nearly 90 percent of respondents are employed full-time, attending graduate school or both. This beats the national average by almost 20%. 

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Forward Fund

The LSCI is fully funded by alumni and friends, including our corporate sponsors. To keep creating fantastic opportunities for our students, we need your support! 

The Forward Fund was created to sustain and grow the L&S Career Initiative.