The goal next school year? Boost the intern program at UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science on Key Biscayne. Applications for that internship had to be in hand by March for September consideration. “We’re making that a target,” DePaola says.
Darrell Roberts, technical operations manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, just finished working with students in the summer internship programs and mentored Emanuele Evangelista, a student from Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High in North Miami. Emanuele was in an honors internship program that put him inside the traffic control tower at Miami International Airport.
“He was a high achiever and got the opportunity to get exposure from three organizations here: technical operations, air traffic and flight standards operations, so he was exposed to a broad range.”
North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art has also had great success with its internship program. Interns here had their choice of three nine-week programs in the summer, with 10 programs running after school this fall. Interns head out into the community and promote memberships to residents and business owners, work hands-on with artists and curators, and learn about careers in the arts.
“This year we are creating a cohesive internship program where students are given specific tasks and get to work in different aspects of the museum field — from education to marketing to promotion to social media and even art,” says Bonnie Clearwater, director and chief curator. “We have a college internship this fall with our Trading Places program. We selected five artists to use gallery spaces as their studios and these interns will work as studio assistants to the artists. They’ll get real practical experience on how an artist works in the studio.”
MOCA also has learned, since its opening in 1996, how to fine-tune its programs to suit both intern and institution.
“Our programs have been successful because they grew out of an observed need in the community, rather than us proselytizing what’s needed,” Clearwater says. “What we were finding was our students were learning a lot in group classes but it was really important to get them more in-depth training and on-the-job training for their future applications to college and careers itself.”
Clearwater knows the value of internships.
“I was an NYU undergrad and was an intern at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery,” she recalls. “That’s where I got my first foot in the door, where I got all my museum training and initial networking.”
Clearwater also met the man who would become her husband through her internship. “That was such an important experience for me,” she says, chuckling.
Internships can also turn into paid positions.
“Two of our college interns we hired last year. One is my assistant and one is the acting registrar so they can attest that if you excel as an intern the possibility of getting a job is that much higher or standing out in your college application,” Clearwater says.
Kassandra Timothe, 22, a recent political science graduate of the University of South Florida, started her internship at MOCA at 14 and is now Clearwater’s Education Outreach Associate, a paid contracted six-week position in which she works with community groups. The work dovetails nicely with her plans to become a community organizer.