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Posts Tagged ‘Intern’

Milwaukee County Poverty in 2012 by Census tract

My name is Jeff Zongolowicz and I am currently a senior at Marquette University and will be graduating in May with degrees in Social Welfare and Justice and Economics.  Over the past few months I have had the great experience of interning for the IMPACT Planning Council.  I decided to intern at IMPACT Planning Council after a professor of mine told me about the opportunity; I realized that it would be a great opportunity to be able to apply both my economics and social welfare and justice backgrounds to real world issues.

During my internship, I have gained valuable experience in data collection and analysis, mapping, focus groups, and some technical writing.  I worked extensively with Census data for the Milwaukee area and compiled data sets that will be useful for a wide variety of projects in the future. The data has been especially useful in creating maps (such as the one displayed here) of Milwaukee that provide valuable insight into the areas of the city where resources should be invested.   The census data I analyzed is being used for several projects already:

  • Evaluation of the Summer Reading project
  • Analysis of demand surrounding several commercial corridors
  • Sharing data with a funder who is looking to see geographically whether their grants are effecting the lower income areas in the city of Milwaukee

One project I have worked extensively on is with LISC, and preparing demographic data surrounding several commercial corridors in Milwaukee. The goal of the LISC Corridor project is to support economic growth in several corridors around Milwaukee.  The project has been interesting because the corridors have a wide variety of economic characteristics. Some are located in high income areas and others in low income areas. They vary greatly in their size and number of businesses.  The differences create a range of unique challenges that each corridor must overcome to achieve economic growth and sustainability.

My main contribution to the Corridor project has been a market analysis for several Business Improvement Districts (BIDS)  and business corridors around Milwaukee.  We combined data from the American Community Survey and Census to calculate the demand for goods and services in each neighborhood surrounding the commercial corridors, as well as the supply of those goods and services in each BID and corridor. After that data was calculated a supply-demand gap analysis was done to determine which types of new businesses each BID has the capacity to support.

In addition to working with large pools of data, I also had the opportunity to collect information directly from people by being able attend a focus group as a note taker. This allowed me to add variety to the role I have had as an intern and also gave me the opportunity to work with some qualitative data in addition quantitative data that has been my focus.  The focus group was conducted for Children’s Hospital which focuses on health in Milwaukee Public schools.  The experience allowed me to better understand the value of qualitative data.  Without the qualitative data gained from these focus groups it becomes easy to misinterpret the quantitative data.  Often times outliers in quantitative data can be easily attributed to something found in the qualitative data, however, if the qualitative data isn’t available the outliers can be wrongly attributed to incorrect causes.

As a whole my internship experience at IMPACT has been valuable in developing my skills and giving me insight into the type of work I would like to do following graduation.  Through my internship here I have become interested in the field of evaluation and come to appreciate its value in promoting efficient and valuable outcomes in communities. I have especially enjoyed the variety of work I have been able to do which has allowed me to gain a feel for the unique range of challenges in the evaluation field.

As my time at IMPACT comes to an end I am excited to continue pursuing a future in the evaluation industry and I expect my experiences here at IMPACT will prove valuable going forward.  I hope to be able to continue to work with communities in the future to be able to promote outcomes that are beneficial to the long-term future of everyone involved.

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The path that led me towards interning at IMPACT Planning Council is one of serendipity.  As one job opportunity ended and the next seemed doubtful, I ended up at the Marquette University Job Fair, not expecting much of anything at all. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I met Lori Boesel of IMPACT at the job fair, and learned about this internship opportunity.

Let me start from the beginning.  I, Claire Seigworth, graduated from Marquette University two years ago with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Spanish Literature.  During my first job after graduation, I learned more about the field of monitoring and evaluation and realized that this really interested me.

 

Intern Claire in front of artwork by AWE.

Intern Claire in front of artwork by AWE.

During my time at IMPACT, I learned various skills and used new tools including:

Tableau, Survey Monkey and Donor Snap. I also joined the 21st century by learning how to tweet.  While seemingly disparate, these tools taught me different ways to convey important information.  Especially nowadays, information is power and how people communicate is as important as what people say.  Programs such as Donor Snap, Excel, and Survey Monkey are about how to collect and use information internally.  Equally important is how to share the information in a concise and engaging way, which is one of the main lessons I during my internship.

However, as communication and information sharing are increasingly digital and globalized, there is something to be said about in-person communication and relationships.  Reflecting upon my experience here, what really stands out to my about my internship was the way the staff went out of their way to welcome and embrace me, and the time they took out of their schedules to teach me new skills.  As the intern, the pressure is on me to be useful to organization in which I am interning, and from this perspective, it is easy to forget that they want to be useful to me.

I know that my experience here will lead me to a new set of opportunities that I cannot even imagine at this point.  I have worked in various positions and in different countries, and what I have learned is that what really makes a deeper impact beyond all the obvious things gained from internships and jobs, is the relationships that are built. Of course the essential skills, methodologies, and services in the field are needed to achieve the stated purpose and goals.  However, from the perspective of someone starting a career in the social services field, success is being able to work together to reach a common purpose.  I am excited to head to my next position in El Salvador and take these lessons with me.

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The American Evaluation Association has chosen IMPACT Planning Council as a site for its Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program that provides paid internship and training opportunities during the academic year. The GEDI program works to engage and support students from groups traditionally under-represented in the field of evaluation. The goals of the GEDI Program are to:

  • Expand the pool of graduate students of color and from other under-represented groups who have extended their research capacities to evaluation.
  • Stimulate evaluation thinking concerning under-represented communities and culturally responsive evaluation.
  • Deepen the evaluation profession’s capacity to work in racially, ethnically and culturally diverse settings.

Interns may come from a variety of disciplines including public health, education, political science, anthropology, psychology, sociology, social work, and the natural sciences. Their commonality is a strong background in research skills, an interest in extending their capacities to the field of evaluation, and a commitment to thinking deeply about culturally responsive evaluation practice.

Breadth of Experience:  At IMPACT Planning Council, the GEDI intern will experience the breadth and depth of evaluation, from planning, to execution, to reporting. The intern will be exposed to the range of obligations of an evaluation professional. Interns will be integrated into IMPACT Planning Council, with the majority of time devoted to activities befitting an evaluation professional, albeit a novice one.

Culturally Responsive Evaluation: The GEDI program incorporates Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE) methods throughout the program.  IMPACT Planning Council believes that culture and context are inherent considerations in all evaluation and look to the GEDI intern to provide continuing education to both our staff and our clients on issues of culture and context and their role in evaluation practice.

Work Hours:The Intern will work approximately 2 days per week,mid‐September through mid‐June with the exception of the weeks during which the intern has a training obligation as part of the internship (see next section), and holidays/vacations as negotiated between the Intern and IMPACT Planning Council. 

Travel and Flexibility:  The Intern will be expected to attend four separate training programs:

1.   Approximately 5 days in August, before starting the internship

2.   Approximately 1 week in October for the AEA annual conference

3.   Approximately 4 days in the winter for the GEDI winter retreat

4.   Approximately 4 days in June for the AEA Summer Evaluation Institute

In addition,if the intern is attending university classes, the work schedule will be flexed in order to accommodate these obligations.

Payment:The GEDI intern will be awarded an$8,000stipendovertheinternshipcycle.  In addition, all costs for the intern to attend AEA‐arranged training,mentoring,travel,and registration for all components of the GEDI program will be covered. 

To apply:  All interested candidates should review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) before applying.  To apply, download the GEDI Application and return all requested materials via email as described on that document on or before Friday, June 6, 2014

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