What is Research Park? From their website: “The Research Park at the University of Illinois provides an environment where technology-based businesses can work with faculty and students to take advantage of opportunities for collaborative research and easy access to University labs, equipment and services.” It’s a cluster of buildings housing companies that want to draw on the talent and expertise available at the U of I. Many employers choose to locate there because the proximity to the university gives them access to student interns. The Research Park internship program pays well and offers a number of additional networking and professional development perks.
How far away is Research Park? It’s right next to the State Farm Center. 1 S/N Yellowhopper buses go there from right outside the English Building.
But I’m an English major! Shouldn’t I be looking for internships that involve writing or editing? Every industry, including tech and pharmaceuticals, needs employees who can solve problems with words. The Research Park openings that we circulate to our students require the excellent communication skills you develop as an English or creative writing major. These positions will help you grow professionally in ways that you can apply to any line of work you want to go into.
Do I need to be enrolled in an internship class to get an internship? No: get the internship first, then figure out if you need a class. Most of these internships are paid, so getting academic credit for them through a class isn’t required (though you are welcome to enroll in the Internship Seminar if you wish—email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Do I really have a shot at any of these internships? They don’t say they’re looking for English or Creative Writing majors. Yes. Employers are less interested in what you’re majoring in than what you can do. Before you rule out a position, look carefully at the list of qualifications and see how they connect with your skills and strengths. When a job involves communication skills, English/CW is ALWAYS a “related field.” And English/CW majors do get hired!
I have some of the qualifications they’re looking for but not all. Should I apply anyway? YES. The ideal candidate that employers are looking for rarely exists. If you have most of the desired qualifications, you may well be the close approximation they’ll end up hiring.