MAPSS | Externship Program

As one part of our effort to redesign career services for our students, the Department has partnered with Alumni and Organizational Partners to support student externships with alumni in various fields and across Chicagoland. These externships will enable students to engage with accomplished alumni and learn more about fields of interest. Engaging with alumni in their current organizations provides students with crucial information that will help them confirm the viability of a potential career track. For that reason, please apply to the externship that aligns with a plausible career track for you in either the short or long term.

The scope of the externship experience will be determined by and with the alum after selection, but will range from a day of shadowing and conversation within the organization to full participation in a short-term project. The exact dates of the externship depend on the alum and organization. However, externships will take place the week of Spring Break. Pre-set dates if applicable are noted under each description.

How to Apply

To apply to an externship, please submit a resume and a pitch (limited to 200 words) via Career Services Online (CSO). You may search “externships” or use the keyword “ME20” to find the opportunities. The pitch should highlight why this organization or career track is important to you and how you see your current skills and interests aligning with the industry or organization.  Why do you potentially want to work in this industry? What does this firm do that is particularly attractive to you? What decision will the externship help you make?

Note: At the top of your pitch include your name, disciplinary focus, desired externship and desired dates if applicable. You may only apply to three externships. Additionally, at the bottom of your pitch, please rank your top five externship choices. Given the competitiveness for these experiences and the tremendous commitment by our alumni to accommodate current students, if selected you must participate.

  • Applications are due Monday, February 17th at 11:59pm
  • Announcements will be made by March 1st

Contact Shelly Robinson with any questions: slrobins@uchicago.edu.


2020 Opportunities


Biological Sciences Division Institutional Review Board | UChicago

Dates: March 23-27

Location: UChicago Hyde Park Campus

Project: Community Feedback Focus Group: Informed Consent The University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division IRB will be conducting focus groups in the local, south-side Chicago community to solicit feedback on the informed consent process for clinical research. This is an opportunity to take part in the facilitation of meaningful discussion and dialogue with community members on matters of interest and concern pertaining to biomedical research. Externs will have the opportunity to synthesize the results of these conversations into themes that will be utilized to assess and improve study participant experience with biomedical research at the University of Chicago. This opportunity will also allow externs to spend a day shadowing UChicago BSD IRB Administrative staff (including alumni of the MAPSS program!) and learn more about the IRB process, research administration, the research regulatory landscape, and issues of applied ethics. Individuals with experience in ethnographic methods, qualitative content analysis, or conducting focus groups/interviews are encouraged to apply. 

On-Site Contact & MAPSS Alumni Sponsor: Jeremy LaVigne is a Senior IRB Administrator at the University of Chicago and a MAPSS alumnus (2013). For more information about the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division IRB, please visit: https://biologicalsciences.uchicago.edu/irb-home


Office of Clinical Research | UChicago

Dates: March 23-27

Location: UChicago Hyde Park Campus

Project: Survey Opportunities The University of Chicago’s Office of Clinical Research (OCR) frequently conducts surveys in the biomedical research community for educational and quality improvement purposes. This is an opportunity for individuals with hands-on survey experience, or completion of relevant survey methods coursework, to apply their skills and experience in the creation, launch, and/or analysis of survey results that will impact the UChicago biomedical research community.

On-Site Contact & MAPSS Alumni Sponsor: Jeremy LaVigne is a Senior IRB Administrator at the University of Chicago and a MAPSS alumnus (2013). For more information about the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division IRB, please visit: https://biologicalsciences.uchicago.edu/irb-home


Greenrood Holdings LLC | Business / Entrepreneurship

Dates | TBD
Location: Chicago, IL

Project: Start-up Analysis  / Industry Research In 2018, MAPSS alumni John Rood sold the test prep business he had grown for 8 years to an investment firm; a year later, he left the day-to-day operation of that business in search of the next project. This is an opportunity to join with him as he analyzes businesses and industries in search of the right opportunity for his investment or creation of a new startup. The focus will be in the education and career re-training space. Over the course of the week, you will conduct industry research, participate in phone interviews, and generate reports on possible opportunities. This is a good opportunity for students interested in entrepreneurship, industry research, and general business practices; this will be especially good practice for students looking to transition from academic careers into the business world. 

On-site Contact & MAPSS Alumni Sponsor: John Rood is managing partner at Greenrood holdings. He was co-founder and CEO of Next Step Test Preparation, which grew from local tutoring company to a major player in MCAT test prep; Next Step was sold to private equity in 2018. Previously, Rood was Consultant at Kuczmarski Innovation, a boutique product development consultancy. He was MAPSS 2006. 


Wonderlic, Inc. | Consulting, Research and Development

Dates | March 23-27

Location: Vernon Hills, IL

Project: Writing / Researching White Papers Wonderlic, Inc. is the industry leader in pre-hire selection assessment. We measure cognitive ability, personality, and motivation for the purpose of matching the right person to the right job. Our rigorously developed assessments provide our clients with unsurpassed prediction of job candidates’ job performance. The MAPSS extern(s) will have an opportunity to spend up to a week with us over spring break. During this time, the extern(s) will learn about our applied setting/industry for IO Psychology and produce a work product. Specifically, externs will get an overview of Wonderlic, our products and services, attend department meetings (for Consulting and R&D), and get to know how other departments function (e.g., Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence, Client Success). Externs will contribute to the Consulting Department’s efforts on writing a set of IO Psychology “white papers” (a 1-2 page paper, not overly academic nor in-depth, content/research sources will be provided). Extern(s) can select their topic for their white paper from a long list of IO topics. These papers will be published on the Wonderlic website. Extern(s) can list this experience on a resume or CV, as serving as a subject matter expert on their selected white paper topic, and having their writing published by Wonderlic.

On-site Contact: Amie Mansfield, Director of Assessment, started with Wonderlic in the Fall of 2019. Amie has worked in the field of IO Psychology/Pre-Hiring Selection and Employee Development for 25 years. Her expertise is in constructing reliable and valid psychological assessments and leveraging innovative technologies into the science of measurement. She holds an MEd and PhD from Boston College. 

MAPSS Alumni Sponsor: None, though connection to MAPSS was made via Sam Phelps, Executive Recruiter, Newcastle Associates, Inc. www.newcastleassoc.com For more information about Wonderlic, please visit our website at http://www.wonderlic.com


Technomic a Winsight Company | Market Research & Consulting

Dates | March 23-27

Location: Chicago, IL

Project: Technomic is a Chicago-based market research and consulting firm specializing in the foodservice industry. Founded in 1966, Technomic has produced in-depth research focused on the foodservice industry, and provides insights into consumer, industry and menu trends in the U.S. and 25 countries around the world. In 2015, Technomic was acquired by Winsight, a leading media and events company in the food and beverage space. Technomic now operates as in independent research business within the Winsight’s portfolio of companies. Technomic’s office is located in on the Chicago River in the Chicago’s Loop. https://www.technomic.com. The MAPSS extern will have an opportunity to spend up to a week with us over spring break, and duties will entail research instrument design from required objectives as well as report development and key findings and recommendations on a foodservice industry topic.

On-site Contact & Sponsoring MAPSS Alumni: Allison Grace, Manager, Research & Insights, is a 2017 graduate of the MAPSS program at the University of Chicago, where she concentrated in behavioral psychology. Following the program, Allison started at Technomic as a research analyst on the firm’s custom research team, where she has focuses on segmentation, pricing strategy and menu optimization, among others. As Manager of Consumer and Industry Insights, Allison draws on social science methods to design and execute custom consumer research and deliver insights to address a wide variety of foodservice business interests. 


Bold Insight | UX Project

Dates | March 23-27

Location: Chicago, IL

Project: Bold Insight is a full-service user experience (UX) research agency specializing in large-scale and global research. Whether it is to design a safer and easier-to-use medical device, a more efficient and less frustrating call center experience, or new features of an autonomous-driving car, our insight helps product development and commercialization teams deliver a better experience for their users. Visit boldinsight.com for more info about our services, our team, and our culture. For this externship, Bold Insight is inviting 4-8 MAPSS students from any discipline to learn UX basics and collaborate on a week-long internal project evaluating the digital gap: how online services compare to in-person experiences.

On-site Contact & Sponsoring MAPSS Alumni: Kelsey Pagorek is a User Experience Researcher at Bold Insight. She graduated from the MAPSS program in 2019 with a concentration in Psychology and has over 5 years of experience working with human subjects to study topics in cognitive neuroscience.


Survey Lab | UChicago | Non-profit Research

Dates | March 23-27

Location: UChicago Hyde Park Campus

Project: The Survey Lab is a research center in the Division of Social Sciences.  We have a dual mission:  to collect social scientific data and to train students in data collection methods.  We collect data for academic researchers, professors on and off campus, and nonprofit organizations in a variety of areas including childcare, health, hunger, sexuality, education and the arts.  Our research is conducted through a number of modes - field work, phone interviews, and mail and web surveys. This externship would be a good opportunity for individuals interested in social science research and looking for an opportunity to observe and participate in live research projects.  During this externship, you will shadow Survey Lab staff members throughout the week and receive training in standardized survey interviewing and data collection methods.  We have several current and former MAPSS students that work at the Survey Lab and we would also be happy to discuss life after MAPSS, applications for your degree, etc. To learn more about the University of Chicago Survey Lab, visit our website at https://surveylab.uchicago.edu.

On-site Contact & Sponsoring MAPSS Alumni: Hillary Hanson, Assistant Director at Survey Lab, began working as an Operations Manager for the Survey Lab in 2011. She earned her MA in social science from the University of Chicago and her BS in psychology from Iowa State University. Hillary specializes in planning, staffing, training, and monitoring progress for large field studies. In addition to her work at the Survey Lab, Hillary enjoys yoga, cooking, and planning her next travel adventure.


The Executives’ Club of Chicago | Research/History

Dates: March 23-27

Location: Chicago, IL

Project: Marketing & Communications The Executives’ Club is Chicago’s premier membership and business forum. For more than one hundred years, The Club has been a valued resource for Chicago’s business leaders - connecting members, and providing opportunities for strategic relationship development, access to intellectual exchange and world class speakers, and enhanced exposure to the global business community. Through its Global Leaders, Women's Leadership, Chicago CEO Series and other programming, The Club brings together business, civic and academic leaders from all industries to discuss strategies that address challenges and opportunities affecting Chicago and the world. For more information on The Club, visit www.ExecutivesClub.org.   Students will assist The Club’s marketing and communications team in a project researching the history of The Executives’ Club.  The Club was founded in 1911, while being over 100 years old we only know the last 35 years of our history.  The project will be heavily focused on history and archival research, the ideal candidate will have strong language abilities.  The work will be a mix searching through our physical archives as online research in hopes to discover more information on our founders and the early years of The Executives’ Club.  We are hoping to develop a stronger understanding of our anecdotal history, and are hoping that the extern(s) will be able to help begin and build out the structure of the project.

On-Site Contact:  Eva Penar, Chief Content and Communications Officer, is responsible for all content, communications, marketing and public relations at The Club.  Prior to joining The Club, Eva spent over 10 years at The Chicago Community Trust as Director of Marketing and Communications. Prior to The Trust, she was part of the launch team behind Time Out Chicago and also worked at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum.

MAPSS Alumni Sponsor:  Margaret Mueller is President and CEO of The Executives’ Club of Chicago and a MAPSS alumna as well as a member of the University of Chicago Alumni Board as the Social Sciences Division Liaison.


Morningstar | Independent Investment Research

Dates: March 23-27

Location: Chicago, IL

Project: Investor Success Research Morningstar is a global independent investment research firm dedicated to pursuing ways to combine investment data and research with design and technology to help solve investors' problems. We are fiercely independent thinkers who look at investments with unshakeable standards, and we are driven to deliver high-quality, comprehensive, and timely data. Our global financial database is one of the largest, but the real power of Morningstar is in the standards we apply to ensuring its quality and transparency. We simplify financial data and research by using elegant design to communicate complicated ideas to our end clients. We believe that through the work each employee does here, we are truly building a brighter future for investors. The 2 MAPSS externs will join us in pursuing our mission to empower investor success through individually researching a topic of their choice using the tools and resources we have here as a research firm and creating a brief presentation on their findings at the end of the week. We are seeking students who are passionate about gaining knowledge and applying it and would someday like to be researchers. An interest in investing is highly encouraged!

On-site Contact: Kaitlin Segner, Operations Specialist

Project Supervisor: Stan Treger is a Senior Behavioral Scientist at Morningstar, where he conducts research on the psychology of retirement. He has been with the company since 2019. Stan has published over a dozen peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in his areas of expertise: social psychology and social interactions. Prior to Morningstar, Stan was an Assistant Teaching Professor at Syracuse University, where he taught courses in Social Psychology and Personality Psychology and conducted original experimental research. He holds a BA in Psychology from Northern Illinois University, a dual MS in Social and Quantitative Psychology from Illinois State University, and a PhD in Psychological Science from DePaul University. When not conducting research, Stan is enjoying a good cup of coffee, playing his bass guitar, or exploring his favorite city: Chicago.

MAPSS Alumni Sponsor: Scott Cooley is the former Chief Financial Officer of Morningstar with experience in finance, operations, investment analysis, mergers and acquisitions, internal controls, corporate communications, sales, and government relations. He was an employee at Morningstar for 20 years, 6 of which he was the CFO and 1.5 of which he was the Director of Policy Research. During his time at Morningstar, he earned a degree from UChicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences and is currently a doctoral student in the political science department. For more information about Morningstar, please visit our website: https://www-prd.morningstar.com/company?CustId=&CLogin=&CType=&CName=