Tag Archives: internships

Levi Todd on Interning at The Poetry Center of Chicago

Ball State student Levi Todd recounts the incredible opportunities he had interning at The Poetry Center of Chicago. Levi worked at The Poetry Center, an office located in downtown Chicago, where he served as Social Media and Programming Intern for this organization. 

Like any college student, I’ve gotten pretty familiar with my career elevator speech that I can pull out when returning home, meeting new people, and for general small talk. It sounds like this: “I want to work for a literacy nonprofit that offers creative writing education to youth.” I’ve also gotten pretty familiar with people’s responses to this. Most often it’s a concealed grimace, like they’re holding back from saying “Oh, you poor thing.” Other times it’s people flat-out asking, “So you’re okay with not making any money?”

I’m not sure who started it, but there seems to be a false notion of working in the nonprofit sector. I think most people’s conception of a nonprofit organization is flickering lights in a church basement, where the staff is foregoing their third paycheck so that the children they serve can receive a library. We consider nonprofit workers to be doing good work, but not “successful” by our traditional definitions.

Whenever I meet these cynics, I want to introduce them to the Chicago Literacy Alliance. The CLA is a collective of 90+ nonprofit organizations devoted to various aspects of literacy. The organizations share resources and information to set up a city-wide alliance with the common goal of bettering Chicago’s literacy. Each organization does something different–Infiniteach creates technology that allows businesses and organizations to make their spaces more accessible to those with autism. Injustice Watch exposes institutional injustice and better equips journalists to write about inequality and social change. The organization I interned for, The Poetry Center of Chicago, gets public school students reading and writing poetry, and creates paid professional opportunities for Chicago poets.

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Paid Internships Available At Midwest Writers Workshop 2015

Every summer, Ball State hosts agents, authors, editors, and other publishing specialists at the annual Midwest Writer’s Workshop (MWW). The workshop is held from July 23-25, just three short days, and you (yes, we mean you) can play a big part in its success!

For current students in English, including the graduating class of 2015, MWW has eight paid internship opportunities. You’ll gain valuable experience, a great line on your resume, and a chance to network in your field.

Did we mention it’s paid?

Some extra summer spending money never hurt anyone, right?

Let’s sum it up so far:

  • a paid internship ($9/hr, 34 hours, to be exact), happening over the course of three days (no long term commitment that might interrupt your summer plans)
  • a chance to meet, mingle, and work with influential people in the industry, a networking opportunity you won’t see very often
  • an opportunity to significantly improve your resume with one single job

Here’s the application: MWW Internship Application 2015

Applications are due by April 8. Directions regarding submitting your application are explained on the form.

If you’re not convinced, check out their website, along with this video featuring people from workshops in the past. This is truly a great opportunity. Take advantage of this while you can!

The MWW intern team in 2013: Sarah Hollowell, Ashley Ford, Madison Jones, John Carter, Mo Smith, Rebekah Hobbs, Sara Rust, Jackson Eflin, Kameron McBride, and Kiley Neal.

The MWW intern team in 2013: Sarah Hollowell, Ashley Ford, Madison Jones, John Carter, Mo Smith, Rebekah Hobbs, Sara Rust, Jackson Eflin, Kameron McBride, and Kiley Neal.


Are you ready to take the next step?

The Career Center wants you to be ready for all aspects of your job search, so get ahead of the curve by participating in these upcoming events and offerings.

These are for both undergraduate and graduate students in English.

Wednesday and Thursday, February 4 and 5


  • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Art and Journalism Building Atrium
  • Come have your résumé reviewed by employers and Career Coaches to ensure that you have the very best document you can put forward for an internship or job.

Wednesday, February 11

Cardinal Job Fair

  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Worthen Arena
  • The event brings to campus a wide range of employers that want to connect with students and alumni for internships and full-time employment.
  • Here’s the Employer Guidebook. Check it out!

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Johna Picco: “Don’t go to graduate school without funding,” and other sound advice

Time to tune in, English majors, for another round of excellent advice from Johna Picco. Below, she gives us four amazing tips on graduate school, internships, and Life After The English Major.

Photo provided by Johna Picco.

Photo provided by Johna Picco.

So, what’s up, Johna?

It’s been nearly four years (how?!) since my initial blog post and not only have the years flown by but they’ve also brought about a great deal of change.

Since we last spoke, I’ve left my job at the American Medical Association, applied to and attended graduate school at the University of Illinois, interned at various archives and secured full-time employment (as of October 29th!) as an assistant curator of special collections at The Filson Historical Society.

Yikes. When I write it all out like that, not only does it sound hectic but also ridiculously pretentious. Well, I assure you that it wasn’t all that hectic and that my aim for this post is definitely not to boast about myself but rather share my latest experiences on where an English degree can lead.

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Kelly Stacy Blogs About His Experience in the New York Arts Program!

Last year, English creative writing professor Cathy Day introduced the New York Arts Program to a small group of her past students. Although Ball State University and the NYAP were not officially partnered, the two institutions worked together to allow one student into the program which sends students to live and intern in New York City for one semester. In exchange, the student gains 16 credit hours for his/her respective school. This past spring, Ball State alumnus Kelly Stacy was accepted into the internship program through which he interned at two poetry institutions. Below, Kelly recounts his experience in New York City and discusses the value of such a unique program. Additionally, before continuing to Kelly’s post, be sure to see the flyer below for upcoming informational meetings about the NYAP, which is now officially partnered with Ball State University!

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Apply For Dr. Rai Peterson’s Immersive Learning Course at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library


A new Provost’s Immersive Seminar has just been added to the Spring/Summer schedule: Internship at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

This is a 12-hour course, requiring registration in two 400-level English courses and two 400-level marketing courses; all prerequisites will be waived for students accepted to this seminar. Students will read 13 books by Kurt Vonnegut, a biography of the author, and a collection of critical essays about his work.  Each student will participate in collaboratively writing a 5-year marketing plan for the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library and will be assigned to one of the following working groups:

  • Archival research and digital humanities database development
  • Film archive and oral history filming project
  • Product design for the KVML gift shop
  • Traveling museum design and fabrication

Students will be mentored by English and marketing faculty as well as Community Partners including the Indianapolis Museum of Art; the Indianapolis Historical Society; WFYI Television; Creative Street Media Group; Floyd and Stanich, Inc.; Eye on Art; Seven Stories Press; Hamilton Exhibits; and Lilly Library, IU, Bloomington.

Sorry but only students who are able to take two English and two marketing courses during both Spring and Summer semesters in 2012 need apply.  Applications are available from Dr. Rai Peterson, Department of English: rai@bsu.edu

The Washington Center

Photo courtesy of TWC.edu

I recently attended an information session on The Washington Center, organized by Dr. Barbara Stedman, Director of National and International Scholarships and Honors Fellow. I am grateful to Dr. Stedman for the chance to learn about TWC, and most importantly, to pass the information on to others who may benefit from TWC’s programs, which have the potential to be nothing short of life changing.

As TWC puts it, “Leaders are built from the inside out. They’re made, not born.” TWC is a nonprofit academic internship program based out of Washington, D.C. that offers internship programs, as well as academic courses and seminars. TWC mainly functions to connect college students with civic, governmental, and business leaders. They work with hundreds of colleges and universities, a considerable number of public and private host organizations (or internship sites), and over 40,000 alumni.

Here is the list of TWC’s main internship programs:

  • Advocacy, Service, and Arts
  • Business and Management
  • Cordova/Fernos Congressional Internship
  • Ford Motor Company Global Scholars
  • Global Trade and Regional
  • International Affairs
  • Law and Criminal Justice
  • Media and Communication
  • Political Leadership
  • Science, Technology and Society

Because they are located in Washington, D.C., TWC has contacts in nearly every U.S. government organization in the area, as well as contacts beyond the governmental realm. One program I believe could yield experiences particularly useful to English majors is their Media and Communication Program, which includes the fields of communication, print and broadcast journalism, public relations, advertising, and social media.

Social media, in particular, is a field businesses and organizations are especially looking for people to handle. It has become public knowledge that social media can be a great source for advertising, and is gaining more interest every day. Many business owners do not know much about managing social media, but have been paying attention to such trends. Since younger people tend to have more of a beat on this arena, this is who these business owners are going to in order to get a leg up when it comes to their reach, and activity, on the internet.

Here is a short sample list of organizations TWC connects interns with:

  • White House Office of Media Affairs
  • National Public Radio
  • CNN
  • Peace Corps
  • Bread for the World Institute
  • The Smithsonian Institution
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Center for Public Integrity
  • CBS News
  • Women for Women International
  • Fair Trade Federation

Internships are a great way to not only prepare for careers in the real world, but also help to learn how to effectively apply for jobs. If you pursue and internship with TWC, you will be required to create a portfolio, including the following elements:

  • Résumé and cover letter
  • Individual development plan
  • Internship defense letter
  • Analyses of selected lectures
  • Civic engagement project reflection
  • Informational interview and other writing or work assignments specific to your program

As I believe we have shown with our “Life After the English Major” posts, ALL career tracks are in need of good writers, or effective communicators, and so each internship is a viable opportunity for an English major. The great reward of internships is the firsthand work experience it provides, something 45% of employers look for when hiring. I think the worth of the internships TWC offers is made obvious by the list of organizations it works with. For more information on TWC, feel free to visit their website here, or email them at info@twc.edu. A brochure will be available in RB 295 as well. We will always strive to connect students with opportunities such as those TWC provides, so keep watching, BSU!


Jeremy Bauer

Guest Post: Sam Edwards on her internships at the Statehouse and Sarabande Books, Inc.

Sam Edwards (left)

To not be waiting tables anymore.  When State Auditor Tim Berry spoke to my intern class mere weeks ago, he began impromptu crowd-picking—‘Why did you do this internship??’ (Yes, with two question marks).  This was going to be my answer: to not be waiting tables anymore.  Despite my ambitious peers’ responses about their burning passion to know state government better and their devotion for politics, I was ready to be honest.  Lucky for the other interns (and probably more lucky for me), Auditor Berry never picked me.  However, I was picked for this internship out of a very large pool of political science, criminal justice, and international relations majors.  And yet, I majored in English.

The internship’s official title is Legislative Intern.  Since the beginning of 2011, I spend five days a week inside of that luminous building in front of Lucas Oil Stadium called the Statehouse.  I work for two senators, assisting with everything from constituent correspondence (via e-mail, letters, and phone calls), to committee coverage, to racing my senator’s computer from one marble-tiled floor to another.  You see, I had no particular political ambitions, to say the least.  But now that I find myself here—in a fine-looking suit—I’m entirely enamored with it.  And I know my writing background, including all the effort I put into it during my four-year stay at Hotel Ball State, had everything to do with why I have this internship.

My specialty was Creative Writing, but I spent just as much time and probably more passion on my literature classes.  Thus, by graduation in May of last year, I had done every type of writing imaginable, and it has truly paid off.  My present job requires me to be able to understand and utilize each type of writing I learned at Ball State.  I write thank you letters, letters of recommendation, letters of support for other bills, letters to constituents on smoking ban bills, taxes in Illinois, education reform, and on and on.  The Legislative Assistant that I work directly under is thrilled that I am writing-savvy.  She no longer checks my letters, but passes them right on for senator approval.  I have seen through this experience that not everyone speaks the delicate language of writing, yet it is oh-so-valued.

In the bigger picture, I know this is a lasting love affair with my English major.  I will be returning to my roots in the fall with an internship at Sarabande Books, Inc., a small independent publishing press in Louisville, KY.  After that, I want to continue to be a nomad, wandering different avenues of careers and locations.  I am quite confident (perhaps, partly because I’m still wearing my awesome suit) that my English major will take me wherever I want to go next.  There will always be employers who need skilled writers to communicate their awesomeness to the public/clients.  Erego, a job.

Allow yourself to be swept away by the major.  You won’t regret it.

*Sam Edwards is our second alumnus to receive an internship from Sarabande Books, Inc. Check out alumnus Evan Himelick’s post on his experience with the press here.

Welcome back! Guest Post: Johna Picco on tips to getting internships and careers in publishing and marketing

Welcome back, BSU! We hope you’ve had a great break, and are keeping warm and safe in the present tundra that is Indiana. This semester we will be keeping you updated on all English Department events, as well as continuing to feature posts from alumni, students, and faculty. We are excited to start the new year and hope you all share the sentiment. To kick off the new year, we have our first guest post of 2011 from alumnus Johna Picco. Johna tells us about her experiences interning at various presses, leading to her job as marketing coordinator for books and products at the American Medical Association, and also takes times to share some tips on how to get great internships like hers.


Johna Picco

Growing up, it was drilled into my head that through hard work and determination, I could do anything. Yet, when graduation and the real world, with its failing economy, came a-callin’, it was my Dad’s polite inquiry about what I planned to do with an English degree that got me thinking. It was undoubtedly an inquiry mingled with concern and skepticism, and I was a bit worried myself.

The first thing I needed to do was to think about what I wanted to do. My initial plan of going to graduate school to obtain a Masters in Library and Information Science (LIS) was nixed when I realized that the lack of funding for public libraries was too frustrating to fight all my life. Then, I heard about a web site called Book Jobs.com, which features literary jobs and internships in everything from publishing to IT. This was my light-bulb moment—or light bulb website.

I applied to numerous publishing internships and was hired as a marketing/publicity intern at The MIT Press and Candlewick Press. So, I left college a semester early, packed my bags, and moved 900 miles across the country to Boston, Massachusetts. My employment at The MIT Press progressed from intern to temp, and finally to full-time employee. And in the meantime, I had also acquired an internship at Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

As an acquisitions assistant at The MIT Press for a little over a one year, I realized that I missed my family and the Midwest, and so, I quit my job. Everyone thought I was nuts, what in this awful economy and all. Luckily, after only five weeks of searching and applying, I found myself hired as the marketing coordinator for the books and products department at the American Medical Association in Chicago.

A lot of people wonder how I’ve done it, and to that I have this to say: with a lot of help, a lot of work, and openness to change (and travel!). Along with the aforementioned, I have a list of ten things that have helped me along the way.

1. Take advantage of professional development and writing classes.

I cannot tell you how many people I’ve met post-college who don’t know how to write a cover letter or résumé. There are plenty of opportunities both on and off campus available to help you sell yourself to a future employer—take advantage of them! I learned this early on: what you take from college is what you put in. No one is going to hold your hand, but they will be there to help you—if you ask.

2. Get involved.

Knowing how to create a cover letter and resume is all well and good, but if you have nothing to put on it, well, that might be a problem. I speak from intern-hiring experience when I say that you need to be involved in college.

3. Listen to your intuition.

Inside everyone is that little voice telling us when something isn’t right. Mine happened to escape in the form of a panic attack during a journalism lecture. Something about what I was studying (journalism) and what I was interested in (literature) just wasn’t lining up. So, instead of staying unhappy and safe, I took the scarier route and switched majors halfway through my college career.

4. Internships, internships, internships!

How do I gain experience when every job I apply for requires experience?!

Most people, myself included, have at one point or another faced this frustrating reality. Solution? Internships! Partake in as many as possible. They don’t have to be exotic or located in some far away location. They don’t even have to be related to your end goal. But they will give you invaluable insight into the workforce, corporate culture, and what to expect when someday you land your first ‘real’or, what I like to call, big-girl job.

5. Get your resume into the ‘maybe’ pile.

I was taught that before you make it to the ‘yes’ pile, you need to find yourself in the ‘maybe’ pile. How? You make your résumé pop. No, I am not talking about the use of color or scented paper—that’s just weird, trust me. I am talking about a well-designed and well-thought résumé. I’m fortunate to possess some basic design talents and the Adobe Creative Suite, but if you don’t have one, or either of those, fear not! Why? Because you go to Ball State, and Ball State is teeming with loads of uber-talented designers who are more than happy to swap their design skills for your keen editorial skills.

6. Network.

In my opinion (for what it’s worth), this is the hardest thing on my rambling list. I consider myself a very social person, but even I have a pretty hard time ‘networking.’ That was until I changed my way of looking at it. Networking doesn’t have to be cheesy and awkward. It can be as simple as talking to someone and telling them about yourself and what you’re looking to do. For instance: I recently attended a wedding and by way of normal chit-chat, found myself being introduced to my date’s cousin, Bob, who worked at Candy Co. as a marketing director. Before I knew it, I was walking away with several business cards and an interview. Moral of the story: networking = talking.

7. It’s a small world—and everything (and everyone) is connected.

My internship at The MITP was a result of my work experiences and activities in college. My temp position was a result of my internships. My full-time job came about because I was a temp and on and on it goes. This same rule applies for people. The workforce is a very small world—do not burn bridges, it will come back to haunt you. On the flipside, if you make good impressions, those too will follow.

8. Identify your weaknesses.

Everyone has things they don’t excel in. The key is to identify what those weaknesses are and devote time to work on them. Your weaknesses tend to be an interview topic, so being knowledgeable about them serves useful on several levels.

9. Learn to ask for and accept help.

In my experience, people are much more willing to lend a helping hand than one would imagine—you simply have to ask. People like to help, simple as that. Just don’t take it for granted or forget to return the favor. And even more important: thank you notes (particularly the handwritten, sent with postage sort)— they go a long way.

10. Get scared.

Some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve encountered have also been some of the most terrifying. Moving nearly 1,000 miles from home and knowing just three people in Boston was scary, but I certainly learned a lot about myself. Quitting my job in one of the worst economies since the Depression and moving back in with my folks was extremely terrifying, but they were also two of the best, and most needed, months of my life. With risk comes reward.

Guest Post: Evan Himelick writes about using his English major and Digital Publishing minor in his internship with Sarabande Books

Evan Himelick

Instead of resorting to selling insurance while trying to apply for grad school after I graduated, I figured I should continue my education with a more hands-on approach. An internship seemed the perfect fit, and having graduated with a GPA that was certainly nothing to brag about, I saw an obligation to prove that those grades didn’t necessarily reflect my work ethic but rather my poor test-taking abilities.

I applied for internships at a slew of newspapers, magazines and publishers, and for six weeks I made myself send out at least two applications per day. I wasn’t positive where I wanted to be, but I knew I wanted to be surrounded by words, lines of text, page numbers, and alluring graphics. After graduation, I was granted that and more as I accepted an internship with Sarabande Books, a nonprofit literary press in Louisville, Kentucky.

In September after my graduation, I started work with Sarabande and haven’t really looked back. It’s proved to be a fantastic opportunity that has not only surrounded me by brilliant, passionate people, but also allowed me to utilize my Ball State major in English and minor in Digital Publishing.

My English major comes in handy in most of the tasks you’d assume: copy editing text for our catalog, writing rejection letters, typing stories that are out of print, responding to e-mails, working with promotional materials and the occasional blog post. In my classes for my minor, I worked with digital photography and manipulation, graphic design, and pre-press printing processes (packaging files for printers). I think the Digital Publishing minor helped me stand out from the average English department graduate by giving me an additional set of skills.

I’m very thankful for all the design responsibilities with which Sarabande has trusted me. I’ve had the opportunity to design flyers such as the one for our Flo Gault Student Poetry Competition. I designed folded cube advertisements for our monthly Sarabande Reading Series and was able to incorporate pieces of art from personal friends. I’ve done work with promotional postcards for amazing poets like Rick Bursky and made bookmarks for writers like Lydia Davis to distribute at readings and even this year’s AWP conference in Washington D.C.

I’ve been really inspired by the work done in and around Sarabande. I’ve been introduced to influential people in the Louisville writing scene, met with amazing authors like Kiki Petrosino, had dinner with the likes of Jason Schneiderman and Jennifer Kronovet, and participated in very rewarding activities like our recent poetry workshop with the Kentucky School for the Blind.

My other, more basic, responsibilities go by very quickly and often provide the most chances for the interactions that I’ll cherish after leaving the Sarabandistas. Mailing book galleys, sending out contributor copies, and signing donation letters give me a chance to sit side-by-side and pick the brains of the marketing genius Caroline Casey, our fearless Editor-in-Chief Sarah Gorham, my go-to wizard Meg Bowden and our design demigod Kirby Gann. It is quite the excellent trade-off for a day’s work.

My days off from my internship are quite different. To make a bit of side money, I’ve been substitute teaching all grades and disciplines in a few local counties. It is certainly respectable work and very emotionally satisfying but boy, is it a rough job. I manage to sweat through two layers of deodorant each day as I’m challenged by 13-year-olds that tower over me and insist on drawing attention to my likeness with Scooby Doo’s pal Shaggy. I struggle with keeping curse words from erupting from my mouth and finding time to slip away to the bathroom. It all pays off, though, hearing kids get settled in their seats and turn to their friends to ask, “Have you had Mr. H as a sub before? He’s cool.” I’ve come to relish small victories like these.

I prefer working with print over teaching; although teaching is definitely my back-up plan. I just hope that I can learn all I can from individuals like Kirby Gann and the other Sarabandistas and eventually further my education in the general realm of typesetting, design and all things print.

Sarabande graciously offered me a short-term position as Submissions Manager following the end of my internship, and that, combined with being able to substitute teach more days of the week, should allow me to compile some more money as well as work experience. I’m contemplating a move to Chicago to look for work and still considering applying to grad schools, but we’ll see what the future holds. Fingers crossed.


On a side note to my fellow writers, Sarabande’s open submission period is during the month of September—more than enough time to clean up some of those rough edges before submitting! I thought I’d also mention two upcoming national contests held by Sarabande, open for submissions January 1- February 16. These contests are The Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry and The Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, the guidelines for which can be found at their respective links.

I would encourage anyone interested in an internship to apply to Sarabande. I believe the position has been filled for the Spring semester, but they’re always accepting applications.  Information on that can be found here.

Best of luck to all of you in whatever you choose to pursue!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at Lehimelick@gmail.com.