Taking Initiative: Career Course Highlights

Inter-LS 210: Taking Initiative, the career development course taught by Professor Greg Downey, helps students reflect on their strengths, degrees and the valuable skills they are acquiring here at UW-Madison. This experience builds our students’ confidence that regardless of their major, they have the opportunity to achieve great things after graduation.

An overwhelming majority of students enrolled in Taking Initiative during 2017-2018 report the course prepares them with essential career readiness skills and competencies, including:

– Maintaining and continually improve a resume: 99%
– Managing a LinkedIn profile: 97.6%
– Conducting an informational interview: 95.1%
– Utilizing campus resources to assist with career planning: 93.2%
– Finding and apply for an internship, volunteer, or research experience: 90.7%

95.7% of students left the course feeling effective or very effective at describing the value of a liberal arts education to an employer or a fellow student.

95% would recommend the course to another student.

“For a few years, I’ve wanted to get into undergraduate research. After revising my resume based on the professional feedback I received in this class, I felt infinitely more confident in it and was ready to send it out to professors in research groups. I emailed six professors and got four responses within two days. Now, I am currently shadowing a post-doctoral student in my top choice of research groups–which will lead to an undergraduate research position this summer!”

2015 – 2018 Student Snapshot:

1,319 Letters & Science students have enrolled in LS-210 since spring, 2015.

Top Majors:

Communication Arts
Computer Science

Academic Level:

Undergraduates: 96.4%
Graduate and Professional Students: 3.6%


Female: 55.1%
Male: 44.9%

Race and Ethnicity:

White: 68.2%
International Students: 13.4%
Asian: 7.7%
Hispanic/Latino: 5.2%
Black/African American: 3.8%
American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.7%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.6%
Unknown: 0.5%

At-Risk Populations:

Academic Probation: 9.8%
Targeted Minority: 11.9%

“I am going to be the only intern working at Sephora’s HQ in San Francisco this summer. I actually got the job by approaching the VP of Branding and Merchandising at a conference and giving her my elevator speech. Sephora generally doesn’t even have an internship program, but they were so impressed with my experience and resume they made a position just for me! I’m very thankful I took this course.”

Learn more about Inter-LS 210: Taking Initiative.