Undergraduate Student Spotlights

Alex Franke

Hometown: West Bend, WI

Year in School: Senior

Interests/Hobbies: Politics, History, Hiking, Golfing

Involvements/Employment/Activities: Wisconsin State Senate Sergeant at Arm’s Office, Former Treasurer of UW-Wishmakers on Campus, UWPD Advisory Council, Cadet in the US Army Reserves

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is the Wisconsin Discovery Center. When it was open, the center was a great place to work and study. The sound of the waterfalls and the sight of trees with leaves, even in Wisconsin winters, is incredibly refreshing and relaxing.

Why did you decide to attend UW-Madison?

I decided to go to UW-Madison because ironically I was directly accepted into the Engineering School (obviously that didn’t work out). However, I knew I might not want to be an engineer so Madison also was a good choice because it had a well-rounded curriculum full of many majors. I also really liked the Army ROTC program they had and it was always my goal to become an officer. Badger Football was also a great plus!

What resources have you found most helpful when you have struggled in a class?

Office hours are definitely the most important resource when struggling with course material. At first, I didn’t go to office hours much and preferred to learn from the book or other resources, but one on one (or with a small group) with the professor definitely makes a difference. Each professor has their own teaching and grading style and it’s important to learn their methods.

If you have any other majors or certificates in addition to Econ, how did you decide to add Econ or add another major/certificate?

Since Econ has lots of standard L&S credits outside the mandatory Econ classes that are needed for graduation, I figured I would take up Political Science as a second major. I could do this without taking any extra classes as well as most classes fit the L&S criteria. Politics and Economics fit hand in hand and it’s important to supplement them by taking both majors.

Where did you intern, and did you have a good experience? Why or why not?

I took a job as a Senate Messenger at the State Capitol where I learned more about the state government and met different elected officials including Governor Tony Evers, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and others. Through this experience, I was able to apply to intern with Representative Jesse James. As an intern, I managed constituent contacts which included financial problems and researched different laws and the costs of implementing them. I worked on bills including Act 47, which eliminated late fees for veterans, and was signed into law in the 2019 session. Both of these experiences provided skills and relationships that will help me beyond graduation.

What advice do you have for students seeking an internship?

My advice for students seeking internships is don’t take the first thing that you find. Make sure you look at all of your options and weigh how much actual experience you will get vs how much busywork it is. That being said, don’t turn something down because it’s a lot of filing. Instead, use Handshake, use the internship boards, reach out to peers and mentors, and apply to as many places as you can. An internship that you pick could turn into a career.