Pedestrians walk up and down Bascom Hill as others enter the red doors of the Education Building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during autumn on Oct. 20, 2017.(Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

The 2nd Annual Symposium on College Internship Research will be on October 23-24 in Madison, Wisconsin!

The theme of this year’s symposium is “Internships & 21st century skills: Exploring issues of language, equity and quality."

Symposium flyer


College internships can be valuable experiential learning opportunities where students gain experience, professional contacts, and 21st century competencies. Yet few venues exist for scholars, practitioners, policymakers, employers and students to learn from the multi-disciplinary research community and from one another about these crucial topics. 

Evidence is also growing that the quality of internship programs is mixed, that opportunities may be inaccessible to low-income and working students, and that some organizations lack the resources and expertise to implement high-quality programs.  While internships have the potential to cultivate the so-called 21st century competencies – such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving – few have examined whether this is in fact true and how programs should be designed in order to focus on these skills.  Finally, an issue plaguing both research and practice is that of language, with competing definitions and cultural constructions of both internships and 21st century competencies.

We invite researchers, career services and student affairs professionals, employers, advocates, college students, and legislators to attend this year’s symposium.  Come ready to learn and partner with your colleagues and:

The program will feature 3 tracks that run throughout the panels, breakouts, and workshops: Strategies for college-employer partnerships, Designing effective learning spaces for 21st skills, and Inequalities in the intern economy: Geography, major, and race/ethnicity.

Registration price is $85.

Who should attend the symposium?

Speakers and Panelists include:

Co-Sponsored by WISCAPE and UW System



Tentative Schedule

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

8:00am-ongoing: Registration

8:30am-8:40am: Introduction to UW-Madison (TBD)

8:40am-8:55am: Welcoming remarks and context for the symposium: Dr. Matthew Hora (Director, CCWT, UW-Madison)

8:55am-9:00am: Student voice and experience #1

9:00am-10:00am: Research Talk #1: Internship access:  Addressing barriers to participation and outcomes of paid/unpaid internships (Matt Wolfgram/Zi Chen UW-Madison-CCWT, Andrew Crain, University of Georgia – Institute of Higher Education)

10:00am-10:15am: Coffee Break

10:15am-1:15am: Panel #1: Engaging and supporting students of color & 1st generation students in internships (Christian Corrales, University of Texas-El Paso; Darryl Ann Watkins, United Negro College Fund – Career Pathways Initiative; H. Victoria Pryor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Jennifer Buelow Fischer, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh)

11:15am-12:00pm: Research Talk #2: Exploring patterns in employer demand for interns (Carrie Shandra, Stony Brook University; John Nunley, UW-La Crosse)

12:00pm-12:30pm: Lunch

12:30pm-1:30pm: Lunch and Keynote: On communication in the disciplines: Dr. April Kedrowicz (North Carolina State University)

1:00pm-1:05pm: Student voice and experience #2

1:05pm-2:00pm: Panel #2: Integrating 21st century skills in STEM learning outside of the classroom: communication centers, undergraduate research, and makerspaces: (Audrey Boklage; University of Texas-Austin; Amy Gaffney, Hamilton College; Patrick Killion, University of Maryland-College Park; Ben Zwickl, Rochester Institute of Technology)

2:00pm-2:15pm: Break

2:15pm-2:20pm: Student voice and experience #3

2:20pm-3:00pm: Breakouts #1

3:15pm-4:00pm: Practitioner Talk #3: Designing for-credit internship courses: (Theresa Castor, University of Wisconsin-Parkside; Cynthia Simon, University of Nebraska; Katie Dunn, University of Michigan)

4:00pm-6:00pm: Networking reception

Thursday, October 24, 2019

8:30-9:30am: Panel #3: Engaging employers: Strategies for building effective partnerships (Christian Corrales, University of Texas – El Paso; Steve Jahn, Momentum West; Lana Veres, University of Baltimore, employers TBD)

9:30am-9:35am: Student voice and experience #4

9:40am-10:30am: Research Talk #4: Impacts of internships on student careers (Alexandre Frennette, Vanderbilt University; Cindy Ann Kilgo, University of Alabama)

10:30am-10:45am: Break

10:45am-11:45am: Breakouts #2

11:45am-12:15pm: Lunch Buffet

12:15pm-1:15pm: Keynote: Dr. Ross Perlin

1:15pm-1:30pm: Closing remarks: Dr. Matthew Hora (Director, CCWT, UW-Madison)

1:30pm-3:00pm: Working group sessions (1 to discuss research agenda; 1 to discuss institutional policy)


A block of rooms has been reserved at

  • The Edgewater Hotel Reservations
  • Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton Madison Downtown, group name  Internship Research Symposium Reservations

  • Symposium Registration

    Event Summary: First Annual Symposium on College Internship Research
    Symposium program

    Past Symposia

    Friday, September 28th, 8:30am – 6:00pm
    Pyle Center Vandeberg Auditorium, 121
    UW-Madison Campus

    Symposium Event Summary Report
    2018 Internship Symposium Slides

    Symposium Videos

    Matt Hora Introduction
    Elizabeth Zachry
    Patrick McHugh 
    John Nunley
    Student Panel
    Research Panel
    Janice Kenyatta & Tim Alft 
    Employer Panel
    Audience members discussing with each other

    The goals of the inaugural College Internship Symposium are as follows:

    Mr. Jesse Outen (bottom)
facilitates a session on the impact of internships on firstgeneration minority students.

    Janice Kenyatta shares insights on designing and
implementing internship programs.


    Speakers who will be discussing findings from their recent research on internships include:

    Carrie Shandra (Sociology, University of Stony Brook)  - Implications of offering course credit for internships
    John Nunley (Economics, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse) – Employer demand for internships
    Patrick McHugh (Business and Management – George Washington University) – Comparative analysis of French and US internship characteristics and outcomes
    Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow (Senior Associate – MDRC) – Evaluation of the Great Lakes Career Ready Internship Program
    Janice Kenyatta (Internship Manager, Northampton Community College)

    Panels at the Symposium will also highlight the voices of students and employers who have recently been involved with internship programs, the value of translational or applied research to make empirical findings actionable and useable, and recommendations for future research, policy, and practice.

    Audience: We aim to reach a wide range of individuals and organizations that are engaged in designing, implementing, and supporting college internship programs that include:

    Symposium spoonsor logos

    Co-sponsors: Interdisciplinary Training Program in the Educational Sciences (ITP) at UW-Madison, WI Internship Initiative (WI DWD), SuccessWorks (UW-Madison, College of Letters & Sciences).