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.

Cover Letters: Media, Communication, Arts & Entertainment

By: Michael Elias, Media, Communication, Arts & Entertainment Career Community Advisor

The idea of customizing a cover letter to each individual position you apply to can feel like a daunting task, particularly if you want to cast a wide net and apply to multiple roles.

For students with an interest in Media, Communication, Arts & Entertainment, cover letter writing can feel especially tedious when, more often than not, a portfolio or demo reel is also required. Your resume highlights your career history, the portfolio/reel provides concrete evidence of your work, and the cover letter can be a space to fill in any relevant gaps that those materials don’t convey.

Advertising, Public Relations, and Digital Marketing

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Professionals in these industries are going to expect some level of creativity in applicant cover letters, even if you’re not applying for copywriting roles. One of the best ways to do this is by grabbing their attention in your opening paragraph, ideally by telling a story. This story might express your enthusiasm for the specific company, highlight relevant skills, and/or emphasize your passion for a relevant cause.

If you’re stuck, review some of the campaigns that firm or agency has developed. Do any of them inspire you? Does your individual writing style match theirs? Are there specific values evident in these campaigns that align with what you want to convey in your work? Any of these can be a strong starting point to tell a relevant story and make a direct connection to the company.

Arts and Arts Administration

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For students seeking opportunities in graphic, photography, and/or studio arts, your creative portfolio will do much of the heavy lifting. Your cover letter, then, can be used to make a case for how your aesthetic sensibility aligns with the studio you’re applying to, and/or what inspires you about the work being done by that particular artist. Behavioral attributes, such as the ability to provide and receive constructive criticism, are worth mentioning as well, particularly if you can provide an example of how you’ve demonstrated these in the past.

If you’re looking to break into arts administration, your task is two-fold.

  1. Make sure you are speaking to relevant attributes outlined in the job description, which may range from advocacy for the arts to building relationships with patrons to event planning to writing funding proposals.
  2. Genuinely and enthusiastically express your passion for the organization you’re applying to. If it’s a children’s museum, talk about your interest in kid-friendly content; if it’s a gallery that specializes in, say, sculpting, describe your passion for the art form. Additional tips and skills for arts cover letters can be found in this post from BalanceCareers.com.

Entertainment and Production

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The entertainment industry can be broadly defined as anything from film/television to music to sports to digital programming. Whether your interests lie in working with a film festival or a music label, you’ll want to spend some time talking about your passion for the projects being produced by these organizations. If there’s an opening with the Chicago Underground Film Festival, express your passion for experimental cinema. If a music label specializes in punk rock, don’t waste time discussing your interest in other genres like country or opera; be sure you’re relating to their unique specialization.

For production roles, the good news is that you can generally keep these short and sweet. Unless you’re applying for a full-time position, many production jobs are going to be temporary or contract-based, and the people who hire for them generally need talent ASAP. After (briefly) summarizing your skills and expertise, use the cover letter to explicitly outline your dates of availability and other practical requirements, such as access to a car, relevant film equipment, etc. These are competitive positions, but a strong demo reel won’t compensate for your inability to arrive on set at the drop of a hat.

Journalism and Publishing

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For many journalism students, strong writing and the ability to tell a story will come naturally and serve them well in cover letter writing. What you don’t want to do is get too long-winded, which can be a challenge when you’ve been trained to write in a particular way. While hiring managers will definitely want to assess your written communication skills, let your writing samples do the heavy lifting here; keep the cover letter short and to the point. For broadcast students, it’s important to demonstrate that you are a visual storyteller and the various platforms you have experience with. Your reels will communicate many of the skills employers are looking for here, but if your samples only emphasize one broadcast medium (e.g. podcasts), use the cover letter to talk about other relevant production skills (e.g. videos, blogs) and other relevant media you may have experience with.

If your interest is in the publishing industry, you’ll find that many of the same tips for arts administration professionals apply here. Specifically, roles in the publishing field may include editing and writing, but also span everything from sales to marketing to legal to accounting. Make sure that you’re highlighting experiences that are directly related to that individual position. If you have a particular passion for the output of the company (be it a publishing house, literary journal, trade publication, etc.), be sure to talk about this, as well.

Conclusion

The above strategies provide insight into industry-specific cover letter tips, but it’s important to be aware of the appropriate structure and format needed for these documents. If you’re writing your first cover letter (or just need a refresher), this online guide provides a great template. Afterward, stop by the Career Center to take advantage of our drop-in resume and cover letter advising service; we’ll help you to become more prepared and confident to take the next step in the application process.

DePaul Diaries: Life as a Freshman Arts Intern

By: Renee Radzom, DePaul University graduate, former University Internship Program (UIP) assistant

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.


As a freshman, your first thoughts generally are not “how do I get my first internship?” but more along the lines of “how do I get myself up to get to my 9 a.m. class on time?” However, there are a lot of benefits from becoming a freshman intern and getting experience in your desired field. Internships in your freshman year can also serve as an exploration into careers that you may be interested in.

Maggie Baker, a DePaul anthropology major, had the opportunity to work at the Life Force Arts Center as a freshman, and really enjoyed the experience. When she began working there, she started as the programming assistant, but Maggie soon worked her way up and started doing tasks for all areas in the art center. She worked on finances, administrative tasks, and her favorite, creating exhibit guides and selecting pieces for the shows. Throughout this time, Maggie also had the privilege of getting one-on-one mentoring from the owner.

How can you, too, score an exciting opportunity and experience? Well, the first step is to start looking!  There are many ways to make the process less intimidating, and run smoothly. Here’s a quick checklist on how to help you secure a freshman internship:

  • Decide if you want a paid or unpaid opportunity
  • Start looking on Handshake for an internship and visit your career advisor
  • See a peer career advisor at the Career Center for a quick resume review
  • Start applying for internships and pay close attention to the deadlines
  • Rock the interview after some help from the career center!

Using this guide, or following your own, can help you land that great first college internship. Starting out early can “prepare you for the work-school-life balance,” Maggie says. Plus, having an internship under your belt early will attract employers and is key information to add to your resume.

Another highlight of being a freshman intern, Maggie says, is that “they aren’t going to treat you like a freshman.” Internships aren’t going to hold back or dilute the experience just because you’re in your first year, so you don’t have to worry about not gaining valuable skills.

They [employers] aren’t going to treat you like freshman.

There are many employers out there that are willing to take on freshman interns. Don’t get discouraged if at first it seems as if they only want older candidates. There is a position out there for all majors. If you’re having trouble, Maggie recommends using all the resources DePaul has to offer, especially within the career center.


Want to learn about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.