Business Center

Intern Success Story: Jennifer “Jen” Uebelher

By Tiffani Madle, Process Improvement Intern

June 18, 2018

Jennifer Uebelher

Jennifer Uebelher

Transportation Commission Liaison in the CDOT Office of Policy and Government Relations (OPGR)

Landing an internship in the Office of Process Improvement (OPI) at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) was a new and exciting opportunity for Jen. It was exactly what she was looking for to start her new desired career path. Jen began her internship with the OPI in May of 2016 and almost a year later, she applied for and was offered a permanent position in another department with CDOT. Prior to Jen’s internship with CDOT, she attended CSU Global where she completed two master’s degrees, one in management and one in organizational leadership with a specialty in change management and strategic innovation.

A New Career

Before Jen began her internship with CDOT, she worked as a dedicated social worker for eight years in Delaware. There weren’t many hands-on opportunities with Jen’s online degree program, so when she came across the job description for the OPI internship, she knew it would give her the hands-on experience she needed: “I felt that the OPI internship was exactly what I needed in order to get hands-on experience. I wanted to get into an organization like CDOT (the large government organization) that could really show me different things about change and change management. I felt like the internship was the second half of my degree program if you will. To me, it felt like that was the complimentary program to go with the degrees.”

Jen chose to mainly focus on change management (CM) during her internship. Ultimately, Jen became involved in some special CM projects and strategic projects, including the leadership forum where she worked closely with Michelle Malloy: “I worked as Michelle’s program management assistant if you will. I was able to help her with a lot of the back-end logistical planning and then during the days of the forums, I helped with volunteer management and coordination of what everybody was doing. I was able to help run things behind the scenes. It was a lot of fun and it was a lot of work. It was eye-opening to run something that big for an agency like CDOT.”

The Road to Success

Immediately after Jen completed her internship with the OPI, she competed for and was offered a position as the Transportation Commission Liaison in the CDOT Office of Policy and Government Relations (OPGR). When asked how her internship prepared her for this position, she stated, “The OPI internship was the perfect lead-in because a lot of what I do in my current position, for the most part, is something that I did as an intern. I was able to leverage my skills to help ease the process of what I do now.” Jen also attributes her success to the networking opportunities she encountered during her internship. Not only did she get the chance to interact with the executive team on a regular basis, but she also did some “sit-withs,” which involves an intern meeting with someone within CDOT’s organization, whom they feel works in an area that they would like to possibly pursue in the future. Jen states that the “sit-with’s were very helpful because I was able to meet a lot of people and learn about potential opportunities.”

Valuable Advice for Future Interns

Interns may face many day-to-day challenges over the course of their internship and it’s important to think about ways to overcome those challenges. Jen definitely experienced some challenges of her own in her time as an intern from technology issues to finding ways to sustain new processes. Jen discovered that interns should “speak up and ask for what you want or what you’re interested in because people here might just let you do it.” Interns should “take whatever opportunities they can, making them, creating them, and have fun doing them.” It’s up to you to create your own success and make the best out of your internship experience with CDOT and that’s just what Jen did.