Madelyn Chambers' Internship Experience
- Author: Kristen Darby
- Author: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019
Madelyn Chambers, from Elizabethtown, KY, and a Professional Writing junior at WKU, recently completed an internship with Dr. Rob Hale, the Head of the English Department. During her internship, Madelyn reformatted and updated all of the current English Alumni profiles, and wrote several new ones.
Madelyn was able to work directly with English faculty while developing skills she learned in the classroom, adding another level to her education. With a varied list of placements for interns, the goal of the WKU English Department Internship Program is to offer students the opportunity to grow and develop their skills before graduation, and to provide work experience and guidance from department faculty. In Madelyn’s case, the internship was successful.
“I realized this [internship] was what I should do, because it factors into my Professional Writing major and Journalism Writing minor,” said Madelyn, “It's really been a journey for me to improve my journalism skills, to learn how to best represent the department, and how to find someone's character and not just the answers that you want to hear about them. It's been really cool to get to know the people in the English Department.”
Though Madelyn is still developing her professional writing and journalism skills, the work she completed for the department was excellent. “She was great; she was very organized, very self-motivated, very much a self-starter, very professional,” said Dr. Hale. “She did a lot of great work in a short amount of time. “
The internship program encourages independence in a low-risk environment before entering the work force. “Her main strength is that she’s so independent, she can take criticism, in the best sense, and she could get the job done without having to be monitored,” said Dr. Hale. “Independence is a skill we would like interns to have.” Madelyn had similarly positive things to say about her mentor. “Working with Dr. Hale was really fantastic. He was a very supportive mentor. I was able to email him and ask him questions, but he was also very hands-off. He allowed me to figure out things on my own and just check in with him when I needed to.”
During her semester-long internship, Madelyn created a standard format for the alumni profiles on the English Department’s website. “The profiles all have the same look, with the same font sizes, organization, everything, so you could look at them and see that this is our department brand. No matter who wrote it, they would look like they came from the same place.” Madelyn reformatted all fifty-six alumni profiles to fit the template she created and wrote sixteen new additions. Madelyn described the process as “an adventure,” as she also had the responsibility of interviewing all of the new alumni and contacting the older alumni to update the existing profiles. She also added entries to WKU’s English Department Style Guide, regulating the grammar and syntax used in official department publications. The opportunity to create her own standard for the English Department’s alumni profiles, as well as adding additions to the department’s style guide, ties in with Madelyn’s Professional Writing major. Madelyn was able to experience the work she planned to do after graduation.
During her internship, Madelyn grew as a person, as well as a writer and journalist. After working with Dr. Hale and department faculty, her confidence in her abilities is much higher. “I definitely came out of my shell as an introvert,” said Madelyn, “I learned that I can hold my own against people who know a lot more than me and that I have value to offer the workplace. Having that confidence to talk to people who have so much more life experience than me, but still want to tell their story through me, was really helpful, and I think it helped me grow quite a lot.”
Dr. Hale finds the internship program to be an invaluable opportunity for students of all majors. “It’s a great way to take the learning in the classroom and apply it in a practical setting,” said Dr. Hale, “I strongly recommend that for all of our majors, for Creative Writing, for Professional Writing, for Literature, for English for Secondary Teachers. It’s a great way to get some practical experience, so you can learn how to apply the great learning you did in class to a work setting.”
For students who are concerned that they may not be ready for an internship, Madelyn offered a piece of advice. “Don't think that you're not prepared to do it, because the whole purpose of applying is to learn something new. I was a bit afraid to apply because I was afraid I wouldn't be prepared to do what was asked of me, but it really is a learning experience.”
For more information on the English Department’s Internship program, visit our website or contact Dr. Angela Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.