Creating Opportunity for All L&S Students

A message from Dean John Karl Scholz:

Since opening our doors nearly two years ago, SuccessWorks has served students from all backgrounds. But one of the things that we are particularly excited about is that we are able to provide many of the benefits that some receive by simply by being part of a “connected” family. In short, SuccessWorks closes the opportunity gap.

SuccessWorks served over 10,000 students last academic year, but we know it’s not just about how many students we impact, it’s also about who we reach, and what specific impact we make in their lives. Thanks to your support, we’re working to ensure that every L&S student can take advantage of the resources, professional networks and the self-confidence we know are essential for success after graduation.

That’s why many of our services are designed specifically to support students from historically underrepresented backgrounds and those who are first to attend college in their family.  

Here’s a look at how your support has helped SuccessWorks serve these students.

Empowering You Conference & Multicultural Career and Internship Fair

When we’re talking about reaching students from a student body of over 16,000, collaboration is key. That’s why, for two important events each year, SuccessWorks partners with the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) and the Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO).

The annual Empowering You Conference is tailored to underrepresented and first-generation students in their second year, giving them a jump-start on connecting their academic work and interests to internships, careers and other opportunities after graduation.

Complementing the conference, our Multicultural Career & Internship Fair gives students a chance to make valuable connections with over 30 employers. These employers send diverse recruiters—many of whom are also Badger alumni—to connect with our equally diverse student body in a smaller, more personal setting than our larger career fairs.

SuccessWorks Internship Fund

Through support from friends like you, we offer students $1,000-$5,000 to help cover the cost of summer internships, many of which are unpaid or in places with a high cost of living.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, the Internship Fund awarded $109,000 to L&S students:


55 students from 26 majors awarded funds
25 students of color
8 first-generation students
All students demonstrated financial need


We continue to make progress raising funds to support students’ internship experiences, with an ultimate goal of awarding $250,000 to 125+ students per year.

Career Closet

If you’ve visited SuccessWorks, you’ve probably had a chance to learn about the Career Closet, our go-to source for students who may be financially unable to acquire the appropriate professional attire they need for interviews, internships and jobs.

Walking into the Career Closet is a wonderful experience. Students are greeted by racks upon racks of suits, dress shirts, blazers, slacks, and even ties, belts and other essential accessories. Students can stop by the Career Closet whenever SuccessWorks is open, or they can pick out items at our annual Career Closet Shopping Spree event.

Student use of the Career Closet really took off in 2018-2019: 

328 students served
1028 articles of clothing claimed by students


Because the College of Letters & Science is home to the most diverse student body at UW-Madison, serving students from underrepresented backgrounds isn’t just about offering a few regular programs. This is ongoing work that integrates into every facet of what we do.

With our growth, we have increased the diversity of our staff to be more welcoming to students. Amy Yang, our Career & Internship Specialist for the Tech, Data & Analytics Career Community, also serves as liaison to the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE), an inclusive community of academic support for L&S students who have been historically under-represented in higher education. Amy herself is a CAE graduate, and she provides on-site career advising to CAE students.

Finally, our staff working group on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is helping to guide SuccessWorks strategic planning, programming and professional development strategies to ensure we’re closing opportunity gaps for our students across the board, and well into the future.

New Beginnings

As I transition to the role of Provost on August 5, it gives me great satisfaction knowing Interim Dean Eric Wilcots will continue to make SuccessWorks a top priority for the College of Letters & Science.

This initiative and program have been incredibly meaningful to me, and I am so grateful for your support. In my new role as Provost, I am eager to continue following the extraordinary progress being made by the SuccessWorks team, led by Executive Director Rebekah Paré.

Thank you for being part of this major transformation of career services in the College of Letters & Science. I hope you will continue your support of our students in the months and years ahead. It is making a big difference.

On, Wisconsin!

John Karl Scholz
Dean and Nellie June Gray Professor of Economics
College of Letters & Science