Updates from the English Department Office of Undergraduate Studies
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A note from the director...
 
   
 
 
 
 

Dear Students:

We hope you're now settling into classes and all is going well.

We are excited to include a lot of information on internships in this week's issue. And, we are sad to hear of the deaths of actress/activist Cicely Tyson and author Charles Saunders. Many of you may know of Tyson's work. Saunders was less well-known. He created action heroes that broke the precedent of having most heroes portrayed in fiction being white. Through his series, Imaro, Saunders portrayed a Black hero that did not conform to the idea of the "Black struggle" that many editors demanded from Black writers at the time. While Charles Saunders may not have gained the fame of some better-known authors, he nevertheless made a lasting impact on the literary world. 

Scroll down for more exciting news:

  • Internships? Internships!
  • UGS Journalist Olivia Baginski Talks Internships with English Major Abigail Kremer
  • New Feature: Job of the Week by UGS Journalist Sara Johnson
  • DePaul's MA in Journalism Program
  • Website Survey
  • Scholarships, Fellowships, etc.
  • Calls for Writing, etc.
  • Upcoming UGS Events

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!

Sincerely,

Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies
rreames@uic.edu

 
   
 
 
Internships and Jobs
 
 
 

Ever wonder what working in a PR firm or for local government or for the US Department of Energy would be like? What about a job with the CIA, working as an interpreter or seeing what medical school is like before you even apply? Think you are interested in a specific career path but not certain? Don't know where to begin in terms of post-college life? Doing an internship this semester may be the answer. Much more than entry-level positions, internships give you a sense of a career path

LAS's Internship Program not only tells you what internships are available but offers pop-up advising on resumes, job fairs (check out the Part-time and Internship Job Fair on Thursday, January 28, 2021 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm) and help with Handshake, the career management system used by UIC and other colleges and universities. Below is a list of just some of the internships available and here is a link to LAS' Internship Program. 

 
   
 
 
Speaking of Internships...
 
 
 
 
Hear from Veteran Intern Abigail Kremer
 
Olivia Baginski

UGS Newsletter journalist Olivia Baginski caught up with English major Abigail Kremer to find out what interning really involves and what some of the benefits are. 

Where did you intern?
I've had four internships technically. My first internship was through Americorps the summer after my freshman year. There I worked as a mentor for a children's theater camp. This wasn't your stereotypical office internship, so I won't focus on it too much, but I think it was important to bring up. There are a few internships out there that are outside office settings, which can be really fun if you need a more dynamic working environment. My next internship was at Chicago Tenants Rights Law as a law clerk intern. Next, I worked at Aflac as an Office Assistant Intern. Lastly, I worked remote at the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) as a Communication Intern.

What did you do each day as an intern? 
As an intern at Chicago Tenants Rights Law, I worked at the front desk. I did a few different things, like answering some of the less important emails that didn't have super sensitive information on cases. My most important tasks were answering the phones, completing intake appointments, and generating a court schedule for the attorney. 

At Aflac, I basically maintained the organization in the office. The office's primary office aide had moved, and they needed someone to maintain the system that she had previously kept going. Basically, I went through old paperwork, and asked the brokers where they wanted certain important documents. Before the pandemic started, I had begun taking up more important tasks, like maintaining spread sheets and filling out paperwork, but the office had to shut down once the pandemic started.

In what ways did being an English major prepare you for your internships?
I wouldn't have gotten my internships at the ELPC or Chicago Tenants Rights Law if it hadn't been for my English major. I got my internship at the ELPC through Dr. Rachel Havrelock's class. Prof. Havrelock basically gauged what our interests were during class, and then we were placed into internships at the end of the year. I'd read about some of the work that the ELPC did, so getting to intern with them was kind of like interning with a superhero.

In general, all of the professional writing courses I have taken in English have directly related to the office work I've done in my internships. Communicating clearly and efficiently in writing is an invaluable skill, whether it is in writing emails or resumes or cover letters.

What was the interview process like?
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, no matter how well you prepare. However, I always made sure that I followed the advice Career Services and Professor Linda Landis Andrews gave. My experience with the interviews was always pleasant. They typically ask what you're studying in school, what your interests are, and what you want to do after college. I always made sure to do a little bit of research on the company beforehand, because most interviewers will ask what drew you to the company. Most interviewers are looking for an intern who will be a good fit for the company. For the places that I have gotten turned down from, I understood why I was. In some cases, the position looked like a good fit in the job description, but during the interview I learned about some parts of the internships that just didn't fit me as a person.

What skills did your internship teach you? And what was your biggest takeaway from the experience?
My internships really just taught me how to interact with people in office environments. I'd like to think I am a social person, but it takes me a while to adjust to new environments. My first time in a real office almost felt like a worldly experience in some ways. There are different social cues in an office space, and there's no other way to learn those social cues without real-world practice. I think the other most important skill that I took with me was asking for help. When you're an intern, you're expected to ask questions and make mistakes: that's part of the job. But it's hard to ask questions sometimes, especially when you want to prove yourself to the workplace. So yeah, learning how to ask questions is a super valuable skill that I take with me wherever I go now. 

How will the internship experience help you after graduating from UIC?
I think these internships will help me in job hunting and resume building. I know what jobs I am interested in now, what jobs I will do if I have to, and what jobs I really enjoy, so I won't have to waste as much time in interviews for jobs that don't really suit me. Additionally, because I have work experience on my resume, I'm confident that I will at least get asked to come in for an interview. I know that internships don't guarantee a job, but it shows employers that you aren't completely new to work settings, and that may be enough to at least be considered. 

Most importantly, I've developed a network outside of my university. If I want to look for work for Aflac insurance brokers, I can put my employer's names as my reference, and since most insurance brokers know each other, I will have an advantage for getting the job just because I already have a connection to the industry. The same line of thought goes for eviction law firms and environmental agencies. The people I've worked for don't exclusively exist within that one company: they have connections outside their place of work, and even if I can't apply for a job within a company I've already interned at, chances are that someone knows another company that is hiring. I learned in my internship class that one of the best ways to get a job is to be referred to the job by someone known within the company, so I have high hopes for my job prospects post-graduation.  

 
   
 
 
Job of the Week
 
 
 
 
A Weekly Tour of On-campus Employment
 
Sara Johnson

In our new weekly feature, UGS Newsletter journalist Sara Johnson covers on-campus jobs.

Thinking about getting a job? Maybe you’ve considered it, but being a student is already a large commitment, and commuting takes time, energy, and money. If this sounds like you, look no further! Join us here for weekly coverage of on-campus jobs available to students. Each week will feature a different job with the information you need to apply. The job description will accompany a student-employee's account of their personal experience working that position.

This week’s job is lifeguarding.

If you know how to swim, this is the job for you. The only other prerequisite is a lifeguard certification. If you’re not already certified, don’t worry, the aquatics department offers certification classes at a 50% discount for UIC students.

The lifeguard pay is $12.20 per hour. Some requirements to maintain the position include: an aquatic staff in-service meeting for one hour every other week and attendance at 2-3 one-hour workshops/meetings throughout the semester. You do not have to work a certain number of hours beyond these requirements. Students may work up to 7.5 hours each day, with a maximum of 20 hours a week for international students and 30 hours a week for domestic students.

Meet Jackie Velasquez, a junior majoring in nursing at UIC. She has been lifeguarding at the Student Recreation Facility (SRF) for three years, and it has been a significant part of her college experience. Like most, Jackie has responsibilities such as bills, so the lifeguard position has been a major help. Not only that, but there are opportunities for growth within the aquatics department. Jackie holds two other positions at the pool as Lifeguard Instructor and Water Safety Instructor.

UIC is largely made up of commuters, so it can be hard to meet new people. Through lifeguarding, Jackie has been able to meet many different people at all levels of education. Another benefit Jackie appreciates is its convenient location. Although classes are online this semester, Jackie found it helpful to have classes and work in one place.

Jackie says lifeguarding has helped her move closer to her career goals. As a nursing major, having lifeguarding on her resume has shown that she is certified in CPR, and has excellent leadership and communication skills. Jackie highlighted the fact that each semester this position also requires an hour-long paid career development session. That’s a paid hour of career training!

When asked if she would recommend lifeguarding to a friend, Jackie responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes, definitely!” She went on to add that it’s a fun way to make money, and that the pool is currently in need of lifeguards. Ready to give it a shot? To apply, fill out the student-employment application at: https://recreation.uic.edu/employment/

 
   
 
 
Take Our Survey!
 
 
 
 

In order to better serve students, we are updating our website. You can help us by taking a short survey and letting us know what you need from our website.

 
   
 
 
Interested in Journalism?
 
 
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 12:00 pm
 
 
 
 

Are you considering a career in journalism? Just wondering what graduate work in journalism is like? Join us at noon on February 3, 2021 when Rick Brown visits to talk about DePaul University's Graduate Journalism Program

Zoom link: https://depaul.zoom.us/j/93292434Image441?pwd=KzgyRHRxMjJMK1JwTDl0Zkc2UEZUdz09

About Rick Brown
Rick Brown is a television journalism instructor at the DePaul University College of Communication in Chicago. He also works as a freelance field producer for the NBC Network News Midwest Bureau.

Before coming to DePaul, Brown was the primary field producer for NBC News in New England. He traveled throughout the northeast covering stories like the World Trade Center disaster in New York, the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal in Boston, the fatal night club fire in Rhode Island, and the New Hampshire primary.

Earlier in his career, Brown was the news director at WITI-TV in Milwaukee and a field producer and bureau manager for CBS Network News in Chicago.

 
   
 
 
Scholarships, Fellowships and Jobs
 
 
   
 
 
Elite Lawyer Offers Scholarship
 
 

Elite Lawyer, a directory and rating service that recognizes high-achieving attorneys who have made significant contributions to their communities and the legal professionm, is offering a $500 scholarship for the Spring 2021 semester to support college students who have a similar passion for making a difference in their communities. Applications are open to students who:

  •  Are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at an accredited U.S. college or university
  • Are continuing their education through at least the Spring 2021 semester
  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Have a current GPA of at least 3.0

Applicants must submit either an original 500-word essay or 2-minute video presentation answering the question: “What positive change are you working to bring to your community in the new year?” The deadline to apply is February 14, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. CST. Click on https://www.elitelawyer.com/elite-lawyer-scholarship for additional information.

 
   
 
 
Calls for Writers, etc.
 
 
   
 
 
Black Lawrence Press Seeks Submissions
 
 
 
 

Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels: Myths, Legends, and Other Lies You've Been Told about Black Women revisits notions of Black womanhood to include the ways in which Black women's perceived strength can function as a dangerous denial of Black women's humanity. This collection addresses the stigma of this extraordinary endurance in professional and personal spaces, the Black church, in interpersonal partnerships, and within the justice arena, while also giving voice and value to Black women's experiences as the backbone of the Black family and community.

Black Lawrence Press is now accepting submissions for a new anthology of essays. Writers and scholars living in the United States and abroad are invited to submit essays of between 700-5000 words for the anthology on any of the following broad themes. (Other themes will be considered.)

  1. Black Women and Justice
  2. Black Women and Self-Care
  3. Black Women and Spirituality
  4. Black Women at Work and at Home
  5. Black Women and Sex (and Sexuality)

Essays can be creative or academic. However, essays have to be accessible since the anthology is for a general audience.

Drs. Jan Boulware, Rondrea Mathis, Clarissa West-White, and Kideste Yusef of Bethune-Cookman University will serve as editors.

Submissions will be accepted between through June 30, 2021. Contributors will receive a copy of the anthology as payment.

Previously published essays are welcome. Please contact Dr. Clarissa West-White at whitec@cookman.edu with questions.

 
 
   
 
 
Intern or Volunteer with PIRG
 
 

Get Involved!

Join Illinois PIRG this semester to make a difference on issues that you care about. Apply now to learn more about internship programs.

This past fall, students across the state worked to prepare our campus for the elections coming up in elections. As the largest and most diverse demographic in the country, we needed to make sure our voices are heard. Through meetings with the Civic Engagement office, student government, and other key people on campus, we were able to spread the word to students about the importance of voting and help our peers register to vote. Through these efforts and those of countless other organizations and individuals, youth voting was at historically high levels.

Our top priority this semester is to tackle climate change and our systematic reliance on fossil fuels by passing statewide legislation for 100% Renewable Energy.  We'll be working completely virtually! From gathering petitions and other grassroots product to hosting meetings with our legislators, we need to act fast to prevent the worst effects of climate change and make IL a leader in the Midwest.

IllinoisPIRG is a statewide student-run non-profit that works to protect the public interest and recruit and train student activists. Partnered with other state chapters, we have a 45-year track record of making social change in the US through our organizing efforts on college campuses across the state.

IllinoisPIRG interns learn valuable organizing skills, like building a team of volunteers, taking on leadership within a campaign, organizing events on campus, lobbying elected officials, and working with the media. In addition to building skills and adding to a resume, our interns work to create tangible policy changes on behalf of the public interest. Interns work between 5-10hrs per week.

Too busy for an internship but still want to help? You can still fill out this form to volunteer.

For more information, visit our internship application page & apply today! You may also email Max Ciarlone at mciarlone@illinoispirgstudents.org.

 
   
 
 
Other Upcoming UGS Events
 
 
Mark Your Calendar for these Upcoming Events:
  • Career Workshop
    February 17, 2021 from 3:00 - 4:00 pm
    Join this workshop to learn how to get a jumpstart on getting a job
    Click here for Zoom link

 

  • Open Mic 
    March 31, 2021 from 4:00-5:00 pm
    Share your creative work and hear your peers' creative work
    Click here for Zoom link  

 

  • Grad School Workshop
    April 14, 2021 from 4:00-5:00 pm
    Current grad students talk about what grad school is really like and how to get into the program of your dreams
    Click here for Zoom link

 

  • Thesis Presentations
    April 30, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Hear what students in ENGL 398 and ENGL 399 have been working on all semester
    Click here for Zoom link
 
   
 
 
Finally ...
 
 

Do you have questions or feel like chatting with UGS? Email english@uic.edu to schedule an appointment. 

 
   
 
 
 
 
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