Here We Do: Students of Internship Plus (WQ22)

We know that not every student can afford to take an unpaid internship, which influenced our decision to establish the Internship Plus Program. This program awards up to $2,500 in financial assistance to students who have an unpaid internship opportunity and demonstrate financial need. Through this program, many students, like the ones below, have been able to gain important experience in their field of interest. Hear about it from them:

Haley Colegate interned at Arts of Life

My experience as an intern at Arts of Life consisted primarily of socializing with and assisting the artists in studio, as well as teaching weekly art history talks for virtual programming.

Choosing my favorite aspect of my internship is incredibly difficult, though I would have to say that forming relationships with the artists was definitely the most rewarding! For instance, one of the artists, Susan, sang to me a song that she had written about me, which brought a huge smile to my face. I have learned so much about each of their families, their passions, their pets—really anything that they wanted to share with me, I was happy to listen.

However, it was also hard at times. Sometimes artists would share very sensitive and upsetting events from their past with me. On one hand, I felt honored that they entrusted me with such information. However, I couldn’t help but be saddened by what I was told. When these sorts of topics came up, it helped test my skills with trauma responses and how to provide a safe place for artists to share.

As someone who is on track to become a therapist with a specialty in art, this internship at Arts of Life was a perfect fit for me.

I got to see first-hand how the creative process builds relationships, encourages independence, and provides a sense of fulfillment in these artists.

My experiences there also helped me to talk to other facilitators who worked there, many of whom are artists themselves. Meeting new people with similar interests/ career goals as myself is always beneficial.

In terms of advice, I would first recommend only interning at a place that you feel truly passionate about. If you don’t enjoy the work, the value of your experience greatly diminishes. Fortunately, Arts of Life combined two of my passions, which are special needs advocacy and art!

Without my Internship Plus award, I would have had a much more difficult time getting to and from my internship. Arts of Life is located on the west side of town and, without a car, was pretty hard to access by public transit. I am so grateful that I was chosen as a recipient, and I hope that this award will continue for others in the future!

Kendrick Bryant interned for RUN Sports

For my internship, I worked remote from home for a company in New York called RUN Sports. My official role working in the company was a mobile game developer/software engineer, and my work mostly focused on being the programmer for a mobile game.

Some of my responsibilities were handling the user interface, gameplay, and animations. What I enjoyed most about my internship were the people I got the opportunity to work with within the company. Everyone was very dedicated, enthusiastic about the project and remained motivated while working on the project to the end.

Some of my biggest takeaways from this internship were time management. During my internship, me and my group created meetings separate from our boss just so we could stay organized, and we created deadlines for ourselves to make sure we had extra development time. Everyone made sure that we accomplished our tasks ahead of time and this allowed us to have a very smooth development process.

This internship helped me get closer to achieving my career goals as it gave me more experience within the industry, more experience working with other people, and new tools to help me progress in my field.

My advice to other students would be, if you’re searching for an internship, find a project that you’re sure that you’re going to be passionate about. A lot of people get an internship, but then lose their motivation and get burnt out. If you find something that you’re passionate about, there will be less chances of you getting burnt out and bored of the project.

Being an Internship Plus award recipient impacted me positively as my internship was unpaid and required a lot of time and energy which would’ve gone into my part-time job. Receiving this award allowed me to focus more on my internship, my education and my career.

Malena Petronijevic interned at FashionBar Chicago

My internship at FashionBar Chicago in the Water Tower Place has given me the opportunity the gain a better understanding of the technical work a company needs to function efficiently. Not only did I get a finer idea of my management style, but also what I value in a work environment.

I engaged in many different parts of a business including marketing, finance, and management. Over the past few weeks I have been able to book designers for our upcoming April and October fashion shows, access and post on our TikTok and Instagram accounts, and manage mass communication emails. One of the most important and enjoyable learning lessons has been gaining a better understanding of entrepreneurial perspectives and how to eventually build something of my own.

Tony Long, my supervisor and the CEO, has structured all lessons with a common theme of applicability outside of FashionBar Chicago, which I have genuinely appreciated. My biggest takeaway in this internship has been learning about applicable work knowledge. Whether that was email etiquette, developing professional relationships, or setting boundaries, being able to learn about these rules in a work environment was very insightful.

I have also become very proud of my growing confidence inside and outside of the business. FashionBar Chicago, as a business administration major, has allowed me to reflect on what I would and would not want to apply in my management style. I hope that I can continue to explore alternative work environments but now know I work well in smaller teams.

My biggest advice for students seeking internships is to build connections with your business as best as possible. I had the opportunity to volunteer for Chicago Fashion Week back in October and because of my attentiveness then, was able to intern for them! As I continue to grow and constantly express my eagerness to learn, I have even had discussions with my supervisor regarding a potential job offer.

Do not feel afraid to ask questions. Your willingness to learn the industry will be very noticeable and influential. In regards to the Internship Plus award, the award has significantly impacted my financial stability this quarter. In December, prior to the internship, I broke my ankle in a mall shooting by falling down the escalators. Regaining my physical strength while working at an internship for free has been a unique experience! Being able to leave my part-time job was an easier experience with the award. Additionally, receiving the award was an immense honor considering my grade level and experience.

Anonda Tyler interned at Lincoln Park Preschool

My name is Anonda Tyler, better known as Nonie, and to the students I observed and taught Ms. Nonie. On Tuesdays and Thursdays , the school that I did my fieldwork hours at was at the Lincoln Park Preschool.

The school is smack in one of the busy places in the city and is a private school. This school is a dream location to me because it is right across the street from the Lincoln Park Zoo, where we always went to walk when we took the children outside for fresh air. The zoo was perfect to share intimate and angelic experiences that helped me build bonds with students more closely.

The days where I went to visit were during the school day, and typically their hours for school are 9 to 3 o’clock, where they take naps at 1pm, then wait for pick up at 2pm. I stayed from 7 o’clock till 12pm on most days and managed to get over 17 field hours.

The grade I was working with were preschoolers, who were called the 3s and 4s group. I enjoyed most visiting the zoo, and this internship allowed me to appreciate the art of play in teaching and why it is important to include multiple mediums with fine motor skills and gross motor skills activities.

This award impacted me in a good way financially, because it is very hard for my family and I to pay tuition, so it alleviated a lot of stress with worrying about proceeding in this field that I am passionate about due to not always having the resources to support that dream.

How to Grow as an Artist, Businessperson? Become an Entrepreneurial Exhibitor

By: Elisabeth Stanis, DePaul University animation major ‘20

Working as an entrepreneurial exhibitor at comic and anime conventions is one of the most valuable experiences an artist can have. Having sold art at four separate conventions, I can say with certainty that it’s one of the best ways to not only grow as a creator, but as a businessperson as well. Needless to say, in my tenure as an exhibitor, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade that are important to reduce your learning curve and maximize your success.

Keep track of your costs

Taking on the responsibility of a booth at a convention or exhibition is no easy feat. Most events ask that you sign up months in advance and require you to pay a table and convention pass fee that can be hundreds of dollars for larger conventions. Keeping track of expenses—such as material fees and sales revenue—is an important part of staying organized and turning a profit. I personally keep track of sales and commissions in a notebook that serves as my ledger; this is where I write down which items are sold and for how much. By keeping track of my expenses, I am able to examine my sales at a later time; specifically, I can assess which items within my inventory were most popular and determine the types of prints I should further invest in.

Research the market

Similarly, an important part of selling to a wide audience in an open and competitive environment, like a convention, is assessing the market. In the months leading up to a convention, I research the likes, dislikes and behaviors of the expected audience, and allow that data to influence the products I offer.

Know your target demographic

There is a delicate balance of selling items for enough money to turn a profit and at a low enough price to attract buyers. Since I gravitate toward a more colorful, cutesy style when creating convention merchandise, I tend to attract younger customers, usually in the 12-18 age demographic. Therefore, I tend to keep my prices lower and more affordable, as most of my buyers do not have a steady income and have only a fixed amount of money to spend. I offset this by investing in small magnets, boxes, and digital art that I can print more copies of later, instead of, for example, devoting a lot of time to creating acrylic paintings or crafting handmade jewelry.

Working at a convention is by no means easy or cheap; however, it can offer valuable experiences and opportunities to test and grow professional skills. Conventions are a must for artists seeking practice in combining art with business. With a city like Chicago as our classroom, there’s always a convention in town providing you with the perfect space to develop your entrepreneurial and artistic skills. Start exploring, your next adventure may be right here in Chicago at an upcoming convention!