University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456,

November 15, 1999 Contact: Margaret McCarthy (312) 996-8279,


The UIC English Department is one of the first winners of the Woodrow Wilson Innovation Awards. The department received $10,000 for its Graduate Internship Program that develops apprenticeships outside of academia for students.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation created the award to showcase projects that broaden career opportunities for humanities Ph.Ds.

"We hope that the projects recognized by the Innovation Awards will serve as models for other institutions," wrote WWNFF President Robert Weisbuch announcing UIC's award.

The UIC English Department has successfully implemented an Undergraduate Internship Program for the past 15 years. Last spring, the department completed a successful pilot program for gradate students. The Woodrow Wilson grant will enable UIC's English Department to enhance the graduate program.

"The Graduate Internship Program's goal is to develop apprenticeships that allow students to contribute their educated perspectives, interpretive expertise, and research skills in settings outside the academy while gaining valuable experience," said Internship Director Gail Lukasik. "The program will help redefine -- for students and the public -- the domains in which Ph.Ds are employable."

Approximately eight students per semester will participate in the program while completing their graduate work.

"As a result of the internship, I know I have the ability to work in a professional workplace," said Daniel Blaney-Koen, a Ph.D. candidate in creative writing who interned at the American Medical Association during the pilot program. "A Ph.D. may open certain unknown doors for me in the future, but it does not create professional writing samples or experiences."

As part of the program, an Advisory Panel of business leaders and UIC alumni will mentor graduate student interns, inform the Internship Director about new placement possibilities, and act as ambassadors for the program in their professional community.

"Internships enable humanities graduate students to discover that their knowledge and skills are valuable and valued in the non-academic world," said Don Marshall, professor and head of UIC's English Department. "Graduate interns also provide that world the advantages of a humanities perspective."

Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to excellence in education through the identification of critical needs and the development of effective national programs to address them. Its programs include fellowships for graduate study, professional development for teachers, educational opportunities for women and minorities, relating the academy to society, and national service.

With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area. UIC is home to the largest medical school in the United States and is one of only 88 national Research I universities. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the area.


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