The internship advantage

L&S students find experience in the working world a powerful launchpad to successful careers.

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Photo by Sarah Morton, College of Letters & Science.

By any account, Grace Corry has an impressive resume. The triple major graduated this May with degrees in Political Science, International Studies and French. She’s spent hours volunteering, and she’s committed to a career that prompts positive change.

Yet there’s something else that sets the student from Shorewood, Wisconsin, apart from the crowd: her internships.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of internships. They let students test out career paths, gain valuable skills and make connections in the field. This experience matters. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a full 95 percent of employers consider it a factor in hiring decisions.

What’s more, the organization also reports that slightly more than half of internships become full-time jobs, meaning a cool summer gig could very well become that first step on the career path after graduation. But as Corry can tell you, it takes some work to get there.

In the fall of her junior year, Corry began researching internship opportunities. Inspired by her parents and older sister who work in the nonprofit sector, she set her sights on positions with community involvement in the description.

“I’ve seen how fulfilling it can be to give back in your job,” she says.

An internship within American Family Insurance’s Community Investment Department piqued Corry’s interest. She interviewed in November, started in late May and decided to stay on a full year.

It's training you to go out into the real world. Seeing actual results of your work in a company or the community, that's really cool. 

As one of roughly 70 interns at American Family, Corry participated in lunch-and-learn sessions and got to help her department partner with United Way of Dane County on a major conference.

The internship gave her firsthand insights into the working world, as well as confidence as she starts her first job this summer — working in the nonprofit arm of a business management software company in Chicago.

While Corry understands that students already pack a lot into their schedules, she says they would be wise to make time for an internship. 

“It’s training you to go out into the real world,” she says. “Seeing actual results of your work in a company or in the community, that’s really cool.”

L&S Badger Internship Program

Recognizing the importance of internships in students’ career preparation, the college recently launched the L&S Badger Internship Program. It is a holistic program that supports the student’s entire internship experience: identifying opportunities, applying and interviewing, scholarships, support during the internship and reflection about the experience. The program is open to all L&S students.

Get involved with internships

Help L&S diversify and grow our internship opportunities. Together we can increase the number of Badgers working for your organization. 

Visit careers.ls.wisc.edu to learn more.

Key sponsors

The College of Letters & Science aims to be the go-to source for top talent acquisition. Thank you to the following employers who have partnered with the college on the L&S Career Initiative:

Altria • American Family Insurance • Epic Systems Corporation • Cintas • Covance • Enterprise • Qualtrics