For two years, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries have partnered with the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) to host students participating in the DoIT Tech Academy. As part of efforts to align with UW–Madison’s Diversity Framework, Information Technology Academy (ITA) is a pre-college initiative with the goal of increasing enrollment rates of diverse students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. ITA programs serve students in the communities of Madison, Lac du Flambeau, and Oneida.
Jessica Newman, who co-supervises one of the library modules with fellow librarian Heather Shimon, noted, “This is our second year hosting an ITA intern at Steenbock Library. ITA is a fantastic program, and we are so glad to be able to support it. The internship is very rewarding—we have the opportunity to mentor a student with an interest in information technology and teach some aspects of being an information specialist, and we benefit from the student’s talent and skills in creating graphic design content for our library.”
Featured Student: Nyla Eltahir, Junior at West High School. She grew up in Madison; loves art, music, and theater. Eltahir shared her thoughts and experience in the program with us.
1. ITA is a pre-college program focused on preparing students of color or financially disadvantaged backgrounds for college. We spend a lot of time learning about and familiarizing ourselves with different forms of technology. We all were accepted into the program in 8th grade after writing an essay, submitting a letter of recommendation from a teacher, and going through an interview. We meet every other Saturday during all four years of high school, as well as participate in summer camps and classes, including an internship our junior year!
2. I was a graphic design intern. My job included planning and designing materials for outreach and marketing, event photography, graphic design for library marketing and signage, and consulting with staff.
3. This internship was my first work experience. I was challenged in a way that I had never been before, not only because I was new to the working world, but also because it was the first time that I actually needed to apply my technology skills to something outside of ITA.
4. I would say that my internship with Steenbock has been my most rewarding experience during my time with ITA. I got to use the knowledge that I had learned in my tech classes.
5. This experience helped to inform me about academic library systems and what they have to offer to the students.
6. I felt so accomplished every time I completed a project and it was approved. It was such a rewarding experience to be contributing to the Libraries.
7. I hope this experience will help me find what I might want from a future career. I was shown a real-world example of how coworkers interact. I got to experience the dynamics of the library staff.
8. I would tell students to definitely take the opportunity to do an internship, any internship, if it is presented to you.