Wisconsin Idea Internship Program

The Wisconsin Idea Internship Program (WIIP) is a talent development pipeline initiative sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension and the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement (DDEEA). WIIP offers paid summer internship opportunities and is open to current undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree-granting program in any School or College at UW-Madison. This program is intended to holistically develop the professional skills and interests of current students, provide them with opportunities to contribute to our organization’s programs and activities, and encourage them to explore potential career paths in Extension.

Extension and DDEEA’s partnership provides funding for up to 20 successful internship proposals. Internships take place during the summer months between June and August. Interns can earn up to $8000 over the course of the summer. As part of the experience, interns are mentored by Extension professionals and participate in a variety of high-impact, cohort-based activities.

Program Objectives

The WIIP has two strategic objectives: 

1) To create meaningful employment opportunities that help interns… 

    • Build professional skills, talents, and assets that prepare them for future employment and career paths, both within and beyond Extension 
    • Connect with, and contribute to Extension-sponsored programs, services, projects, and research efforts around the state 
    • Explore how university-based research and traditional forms of knowledge are applied to serve and benefit the needs and interests of Wisconsin communities 
    • Understand the important function of Extension both in Wisconsin, and its place at other U.S. Land-Grant Universities (LGUs) 

2) To attract and develop candidates whose background, skills, and assets enrich Extension as a diverse and inclusive workplace. This includes, but is not exclusively limited to, strategic encouragement and recruitment of applications from: 

    • Persons from racially, ethnically, linguistically minoritized communities 
    • Members of tribal nations who reside on or near tribal lands 
    • Persons with diverse abilities 
    • Persons with veteran status 
    • Returning adult students and persons with non-traditional student backgrounds  
    • Areas of study and careers where women have been historically underrepresented (e.g. science, technology, engineering, and math [STEM], and others)  

Proposal Criteria & Evaluation

The WIIP steering committee’s evaluation and selection of funded internships will be guided by the following questions: 

  1. Is the proposal submitted by a Division of Extension employee? (This is a requirement for proposals funded by Extension) 
  2. Does the internship proposal align with the strategic objectives of the WIIP? 
  3. Does the proposal clearly identify an existing or emerging issue/need in Extension? 
    • If so, in what ways will this position, and its respective duties, help address the issue/need? 
  4. How or what ways does the proposal offer the intern opportunities that deepen their understanding of Extension as an organization, and our programs, services, projects, and research activities?  
  5. If funded, how could this internship opportunity holistically support and advance an intern’s professional experience, goals, skills, talents, and assets? In other words, what are the range of benefits this type of position has to offer an intern? 


Extension professionals are encouraged to submit a position proposal. The deadline for full consideration is Friday, December 30, 2022.

WIIP 2023 Request for Proposals Document

Proposal submission form (in Qualtrics)

Any questions related to this initiative or the process can be directed to Michele Curran, Recruitment & Onboarding Specialist, (curran5@wisc.edu) or Dominic Ledesma, Chief Diversity Officer & Director of the Office of Access, Inclusion, and Compliance (oaic@extension.wisc.edu).