Internship Experiences in the English Department

 

Internship Experiences in the English Department


 

Finding an internship can be a daunting experience, but these English majors combined their greatest interests and knowledge gained from Clemson’s wide variety of English classes to achieve real-world experience and push themselves further towards their future careers.  

Anna Albert, a junior from Port Charlotte, Florida

 

 

Where did you intern?

Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, New York City, New York. It’s a recording studio that was opened by Jimi Hendrix in August 1970 and has been used by artists from AC/DC to J. Cole to Lana Del Ray.

What was your internship experience like? What were your responsibilities?

Unforgettable would be one way to describe it. I walked into the internship knowing the reputation of the studio, but I had no idea how much experience I would get bringing clients in and getting records made. I worked a lot with the artists and their management and production teams that we had coming into the studio and made sure their needs were met during the time they were recording.

This could be anything as simple as making sure they had the correct food and drink items or contacting local music stores to rent one of a kind vintage Rhodes piano. I would say though, the majority of my responsibilities centered around setting up and breaking down studio sessions and interacting with agents on booking studio time.

What would you say was the best part of the internship?

Sometimes when it was 4 a.m. and we were not even halfway done setting up the instruments, soundboard, decoration, etc. for whoever the next artist we had coming in was, it could be super tiring. But, seeing all of these artists actually make and release music that I had a miniscule part in was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I remember one particular late night/early morning setting up for Mumford and Sons. I had literally just seen them in concert six months prior and now I was helping put their instruments in place so that they could make more music—that was a full circle moment.

How do you think being an English major helped you succeed in this position? Do you think it did?  

Being an English major has really allowed me to think objectively and critically in a unique way. I am able to interact with artistic and creative minds within the industry in a way that makes them feel understood. Many of the other interns I worked with went to impressive music schools like Berklee or NYU, but I found that being pushed to read, write, and think about ways to communicate my ideas within my English degree made up for my lack of technical knowledge within a studio environment—and made others all the more willing to teach me.

How did this position open new doors for you? Did it create any other interests?

I gained a lot of connections with producers, managers, and musicians that work directly in the industry so that I’m hoping to gain an internship at the record label level this summer. I now have a pretty large grasp on the inside operations of album and music concepts, technical knowledge, and music production which has really expanded my already existent love of making music of my own.

What would you like to do in the future?

I am the most intrigued by music tour management as a career path. I want to be a part of building a tour—within its graphics, stage, dancers, music, and all around experience—that can make both the artist and the fans feel a true love for one another in a way no other live interaction is capable of.

 

Frances Crouse, a senior from Cheraw, South Carolina

 

Where did you intern?

Planned Parenthood in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing reproductive health care to men and women worldwide. The organization works hard to educate the community on the realities of reproductive and sexual health and the need for reproductive health and rights as well as advancing global health.  

What was your internship experience like? What were your responsibilities?

Basically, my job was a general office intern, but I worked most closely with the field organizers. A field organizer is someone who creates community events and works with volunteers to do things at the health center; there’s also the Health Center Advocacy Program (HCAP) where volunteers go into the healthcare center and talk to people about volunteering.

I helped a little bit with organizing events. We had an abortion film screening—a film about abortion rights in Ireland, and I helped plan and execute that. I helped the community a lot, volunteered a lot, helped with data collection and with HCAP. I would spend a lot of time with the healthcare center; they have clinic escorts that escort anyone in who feels uncomfortable—sometimes due to protestors or just wanting someone to walk them in—and I would do that.  

What would you say was the best part of the internship?

The best part for me was being able to see an inside perspective of how community organizing is set up, because it’s not just one person organizing all these events and talking to all these volunteers. There has to be other people helping organize the events and marketing things. It’s connecting with the community, learning about the organization’s mission, getting to care for the community, and learning why people chose Planned Parenthood and why they volunteer with them. There are a lot of patient advocates—patients turned volunteers—telling personal stories at rallies and things like that, and it was really, really awesome to be able to connect with the community and learn from the community and what the community needs.

How do you think being an English major helped you succeed in this position? Do you think it did?  

I just officially became an English major last semester, and in my time being in the English department, it seems like so many professors and people working for [the department] really care about a dynamic world view, intersections of different world views, and analyzing that. Going into Planned Parenthood, a lot of the advocacy portion deals with identity politics and gender and sexuality issues; there are so many things that go into reproductive rights and reproductive justice that affect someone being able to go get a mammogram, an abortion, or getting screened for cervical cancer.

There’s so many factors that impact someone’s ability to do those things whether it be accessibility or financial issues. I think that dynamic world view—analyzing literature and culture—that comes with the English department helps being able to communicate in the workplace and with people.

 

How did this position open new doors for you? Did it create any other interests?

A lot of the supporters and volunteers are also connected to other organizations, which I see a lot in Columbia with the State House located there and political activism groups being there. There’s the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network, which is more focused on political activism, including women’s inequalities and trying to work with lawmakers and senators to get things done. Even though I knew that organization had spoken with people from Planned Parenthood before, I was able to get in touch with them, and I think working with a political nonprofit will help me work with one like that in the future. That’s kind of my goal.

Working there also made me realize how important grassroots work is and staying true to your mission at all times. There’s this thing called the nonprofit industrial complex, and the bottom line of it is depending wherever the money is coming from can influence the nonprofit’s decision making. It made me realize whatever work I do with community organizing should focus on the needs of my community, not being influenced by the outside. I’ve worked for my local hometown school country district doing IT, and I was still able to get experience with the educational system in South Carolina and the financial issues within that, then I worked here looking at reproductive issues in South Carolina as opposed to nationally.

All of that combined has made me realize how South Carolina really needs support, and I really want my work to draw attention to these areas. Being in a deep red state for such a progressive organization, I really see the risk [that exists] for citizens who need reproductive healthcare, how hard we have to work in this area to provide that, and how much more focus there needs to be in this area.

 

What would you like to do in the future?

I want more experience with community organizing, but I really would love to stay in the South and organize—be it for reproductive rights and justice or some other issue. I’m really interested in issues that have to do with gender rights and studies, and I definitely have a soft spot for it now after working with Planned Parenthood. I could see myself working for Planned Parenthood full time or with a nonprofit at the national level.

Wherever I am, I want to make sure there’s focus in the South: to recognize the struggles of the South and to make sure there’s funding in the South. I’ve also considered library science; I think it’s really cool, because you’re affecting the community so locally. The library provides free access to computers, free classes, and I think looking at the library through a community organization lens is really interesting.

  

 


 

 

Written By: Madison Rysdon
02/06/2019

 

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