Victor Wong used to want to be a computer programmer.
That was in the late 1980s, when he worked on campus as a staff research associate. But when he applied for campus job openings in computer programming, his "hobbyist" credentials in programming were not enough. More qualified candidates were selected.
Then Wong heard about the campus' Staff Internship Program, under which a campus employee, with the support of his or her supervisor, takes a part- or full-time leave from his home department to work on a critical project with a mentor.
Wong applied and was selected for an internship as a programmer analyst in the College of Engineering.
"My internship gave me the experience and background I needed to apply for programming positions," Wong recalls. With new experience and skills under his belt, Wong was soon hired as a programmer in the School of Education, where he currently works in Education Media Computer Services.
"Mentors, departments and the institution also benefit from internships," says Chris Murchison, program analyst for the Staff Internship Program and himself a former intern.
"Important projects are completed or advanced, institutional wisdom is transferred and crucial work is accomplished for the campus."
The first such internship was initiated in 1986 by Alice Taylor, then an electron microscopist, who learned budgeting and financial procedures from a mentor and went on to become a budget analyst.
Eight years and over 90 internships later, the program is going strong. Staff can compete for advertised internship positions, or can initiate an internship by finding a mentor and funding to support a project.
Over 80 percent of interns have met their career goals within one year of completing their internships.
"My internship was a chance to pull together many of my different interests and skills and practice them in a safe environment," recalls Katherine Mitchell, who initiated an internship as a senior administrative analyst.
Staff will have the opportunity to compete for seven new internships this spring. Learn more at a meeting Thursday, Feb. 20, noon to 1 p.m. (at the George Gund Theater of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 1625 Durant Ave.) Mentor presentations will be followed by questions and answers.
For information on the program, call 642-7058 or email email@example.com.