New Communications Intern Brings Passion for Outdoors and Writing to the WIS

Image of Bethany Prochnow


What drew you to apply to intern for the Wisconsin Idea Seminar? Who wouldn’t want to work for an immersive tour that shows off the cultural, educational, industrial, social, and political realities of Wisconsin? I love my home state, and the thought of being able to share it with others really excites me! Additionally, there are so many wonderful things in Wisconsin that I am unfamiliar with, so being able to learn about new areas is very appealing, too. I wanted to combine both of my majors (Environmental Studies and Life Sciences Communication), and this internship allows me to do just that.

What are you looking forward to most in this position? This might be the obvious answer, but the tour itself in May! I absolutely cannot wait to participate in the 2019 River Tour. Of course, I will be going along to work, but I am also looking forward to experiencing Wisconsin through this unique lens. It will be interesting to see how people from different corners of the state collaborate with the University. Hearing, seeing, and interacting with the individuals, organizations, and communities will truly be an unforgettable week. I am also excited to improve my communication skills and network with new people. 
Image of Bethany in Amsterdam

We understand that you studied abroad last semester. What inspired you to do thatI have always liked to travel, so I knew that I would go abroad at some point in college. Originally, I wanted to go to a Spanish-speaking country so that I would have at least some clue of what was going on. However, I ended up deciding to go to the Netherlands! I studied at Wageningen University and Research, which is the number one agricultural school in the world. It was an absolutely amazing experience. Plus, it worked out that I was able to visit ten additional countries throughout Europe during my time there. I also wrote a blog for the International Academic Program while I was abroad – you can read it here!

When you were abroad, what were your favorite things to say about Wisconsin? Well, not many Europeans have ever heard of Wisconsin. Usually I would describe it by saying it was ‘in the middle of the States, north of Chicago’ or ‘ it has lots of trees and lakes’. The Netherlands is oddly similar, with their cows and cheese, so Dutch people could kind of picture Wisconsin. Seeing as I am from a small town in Wisconsin, I would tell them that for fun we drive around in pickup trucks and go fishing. Impressively enough, a few people actually knew about the Packers and our ‘cheeseheads’ when I would talk about American football!

Image of Bethany with sturgeon

What are some of your favorite things about Wisconsin? That’s difficult. Seriously, it is impossible to choose between our lakes, corn, Culvers, brats, cows, Packers, cheese (curds), muskies, Dells, supper clubs, cranberries, Badgers, rivers, beer, fish fries, and everything else that we have to offer. But if I had to pick I would say that I love Wisconsin most for its sense of community and pride. Whether it be a neighbor helping to shovel a driveway with three feet of snow or thousands of Brewers fans all tailgating together at Miller Park, Wisconsin people are always friendly. This can explicitly be seen if you have ever been out of the state and met a fellow Wisconsinite (I met a bartender in Barcelona, Spain who was from Milwaukee!). Of course, the state’s natural areas and many quirky traditions that we have are huge favorites of mine as well.

What are some of your favorite activities in Wisconsin? I love to be outdoors! Usually, I am hiking, fishing, or camping. My parents live near Devil’s Lake State Park, so I am there nearly every day in the summer. I will hike the bluffs and read a book while watching the sun set, and my friends and I grill out and hammock along the lake. When I have time, I fish on the Wisconsin River with my uncle or on the lakes and dams with my friends. Many weekends, you can find me camping around the state with my family. I also like to go on adventures, frequently exploring State Parks and natural areas such as Parfrey’s Glen, Mirror Lake, Big Falls, Pewit’s Nest, Roche-A-Cri, and Timm’s Hill. I am currently combining my love for the state with my academics, by writing a blog about climate change in Wisconsin!


Hello, Wisconsin! Stories of the Wisconsin Idea is a profile series that highlights the remarkable ways Wisconsin Idea Seminar alumni, collaborators, and others are animated by the Wisconsin Idea on and off campus.