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Part 1 - internship series (Columbia River Gorge Commission)

This is Part 1 of my series. If you attended my brief presentation for SI@Work last week you will have seen my slides and my portfolio online. Here they are for reference: Slideshare.net - SI Internships.

I began my first semester at SI trying to uncover the true reasons of why I came back to school and then trying to figure out how those fit into the structure of school and more importantly, the life of an "information professional." While I realize we all at SI have an obligation to help the world come to terms with the meaning of "information professional," I'll spare the masses for now. Plain and simple, I wanted a new direction and I knew that it was going to have something to do with helping the public.

I joined the CiC seminar and student group to gain more exposure to organizations that cared about information services, resources, and access, and were helping communities and society in new ways. These ranged from foundations like Kellogg and Hewlett to nonprofits like NPower and the Acumen Fund to social enterprises like Google.org to businesses like Xigi.net and the Global Business Network. It was exciting to learn how so many different organizations were attacking similar problems together (often in collaboration) but from different angles. I searched all over the internet, scouring links to see what I might find. Coming from Dutch descendants, I was considering work in the Netherlands. As luck had it, Professor Paul Resnick introduced me to a man near Amsterdam that was working on a startup for hosting public podcasting. After a number of conversations and an offer to leave school early to build a proof of concept, I declined and went another direction. The last two months of my second semester meant more to me than the potentially exciting and frustrating work of lifting a startup off the ground. I pressed on.

I ended up finding another opportunity through a fellow classmate who had been through a program in Portland, OR the previous summer. He urged me to apply and I did. I applied to the internship program through Portland State University's Hatfield School of Government.

After being accepted into both their Sustainability Corps and eGov programs, I began my first of several conversations with the program director, George Beard. Over the month of April, George worked through my interests with me, brought numerous internship offers to the table, and eventually sold me on the program. He set me up with a regional governing body between Washington and Oregon called the Columbia River Gorge Commission. After a couple of discussions with their director, Jill Arens, I decided it was a great offer and I should take the opportunity to work and live in such a fantastic setting. My internship turned out to be a mix of three PSU programs: Oregon Performance Intern, Sustainability, and eGov. It sounded perfect for an SI student.

In Part 2 of this series I'll weigh in on perfection in an internship and how that just doesn't happen. Stay tuned-

Posted by pkleymee at October 10, 2007 10:41 PM

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