College of Letters and Science, University of Wisconsin- Madison

Internship Location: Madison WI

Organization Type: Nonprofit

Policy Areas:  Education/Data Management

This summer I was a graduate intern with UW Madison’s Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) program. Specifically, I worked with the College of Letters and Science who advised almost 3,000 students during the summer of 2021. While the program usually takes place on campus, this year everything was done online for safety, which presented many unique challenges. The main goal of SOAR for my unit was to ensure each student enrolled in a fall schedule and was informed about campus resources to set them up for success at our institution. A typical graduate intern focuses a majority of their time advising first year students and working to create a personalized fall schedule. However, I was also a member of the Administrative Team for the program. Therefore, I spent about half of my time creating, analyzing, and communicating data to our advising unit. The data management portion of my work was largely done on Microsoft Excel, but some analysis was done through STATA. The goal of this analysis was to track the number of students moving through the SOAR program and ensure they were advised by the correct unit. This internship helped me learn a lot about public program management and evaluation, as SOAR is one of the largest and most important programs run by the university. Through my additional projects on the Administrative Team, I also improved my quantitative skills, which will be beneficial for my future career in policy analysis.