AMBER PORTER '14
- How did you find the internship?
I am addicted to job and internship hunting. I saw a number of interesting internships in Chicago, but The Kennedy Center internship was particularly appealing because it offered structured professional development programs.I followed the guidelines on the website to apply. The application process was intensive and required a cover letter, resume, two letters of recommendation, and a formal application.
- Tell us about your internship? The Kennedy Center hires 30 interns every semester, each of them is assigned to a different office. I worked in an office called Performing Arts for Everyone, an initiative that offers a different performance every day at 6 pm on the Kennedy's Center Millennium Stage. All performances offered by the program are free and open to the public.I joined a small staff team of five full-time employees. We worked collaboratively on assignments. One of the primary tasks I was assigned was to work directly with visiting artists to create performance programs for each event. Once a week I ran the entire performance, working directly with the tech crew, artists, and ushers to ensure house management and stage management ran smoothly.
- What was most satisfying about your internship? My desk was outside the office of a Vice President. He would often take breaks to come outside and talk to me about his work and what we were working on. He asked me for some coaching on social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – and we set up formal appointments for me to train him.He also assigned me special projects. My favorite was working on Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday commemoration concert featuring many of today’s leading American folk musicians. I got to curate sound clips from an archived interview with Guthrie from the 1930s to use in between the acts during the performance. It was fabulous to have such an active and creative role in something so important.
- Where did you live and how did you find housing? I lived in Thompson Markward Hall, an old-fashioned women's boarding house in DC that charges $925 for a single room, breakfast and dinner every day.I learned about the boarding house from U.S. Senator Tom Udall's office; I had interned for the Senator in his New Mexico office during high school.
- What are you involved in at Dartmouth? I am a student stage manager for the Theater Department, which takes up most of my time. I also work for the Hopkins Center both as house manager and as a student assistant in the Director's Office. In addition, I am a UGA.
- How did you choose to major in Theater?
I'd initially thought I'd be a campaign manager and major in Mathematical & Social Sciences. But my randomly assigned faculty advisor was the Theater Department Chair and I was attracted by the small department and by how the students and the faculty worked together as a family. The Theater Department open house was where I realized I could use all the skills and interests that had made me interested in campaign management to delve into the realm of theater. I'd enjoyed the theater work I'd done in middle and high school and took a Stage Management class at Dartmouth that sealed the deal.
- Does this internship affect your future plans regarding post-graduate activity?
The internship helped me further refine my career goals.Before this internship, I knew I wanted to go into Arts Administration – which isn't a field we learn about a great deal. Through my internship, I learned more about Arts Administration as an industry – and all of the different categories of work that fall under the umbrella of work in Arts Administration.Before the program, I thought I'd graduate and work in the arts in development or as an assistant until I found my way. The internship – and my classes at Dartmouth – have helped me realize that I am a very kinetic learner in that I'm aptly suited for working at hands-on projects. I now want to be a producer.
Now that I know what I want to do, I'm conducting a lot of informational interviews – and have learned there's not a specific path to being a Producer. I'm going to work on gaining the skills others have advised me to develop in programming and non-profit administration for starters.
How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?
I visited Career Services for help with my resume and cover letter. I also worked with my theater professors to learn more about the industry, opportunities available, and arts-specific resume tips.