Public and Professional Writing Program, 4/09
by Marlee Gallagher
In his final year at Pitt, Dan Stiker managed to work two internships in addition to his coursework and a full-time job. As a Public Service major, Dan applied for the PPW certificate because the courses (specifically Grant and Proposal Writing) would be very helpful for a job in the nonprofit sector.
Dan’s first internship was with the PPW program. He acquired this internship through the PPW mailing list. His second internship was with the Working Class Studies Association Conference at Pitt. He acquired this internship from an email sent by Pam O’Brien requesting help with the Conference. Conveniently, these two internships overlapped in several areas, which was good because Dan was able to spend a lot of time on both without neglecting any of his work.
Dan worked nearly full-time at his internships, so he was able to complete several projects. He explained, “I saw my internships as more project driven than having a routine.” His major project with PPW included redoing the database and entering information for current and previous PPW interns as well as PPW alumni. At the Working Class Studies internship, Dan kept the website current and attended planning meetings.
Website and internet work is extremely important to the professional writing world, so learning these skills at an internship is essential. Dan also explained that networking is critical to professional writing. He said, “During the Conference, I networked with many different people from all over the country. I chose the Working Class Studies [Conference] for the networking opportunity.”
These internships and courses in PPW have helped Dan become a better and more productive writer. He said this will certainly make him more “marketable” when searching for a job. He also stated that, “It is always easier to like what you do for a job,” which shows the importance of internships because they can help students find careers that are a good fit. Dan also noted that the people you work for or with can majorly influence how much you enjoy your job. Since Dan worked mostly with PPW directors Jean Grace and Pam O’Brien, he expressed that it wasn’t very difficult to like his job.
Dan also recognized an improvement in his employment portfolio as a result of his work in the PPW program. He said his major overall improvements include “more contacts, better writing and more examples for my portfolio.” Dan is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at Pitt. He hopes to acquire more internships and “real world” experience while earning this degree.