2010-2011 Recipients of the Hirsch-Zucker Endowed Fund for Non-Profit Internships
Recipient: Elizabeth Cockrell, Class of 2012
Majors: Environmental Studies; Economics and Anthropoogy/Sociology Minors
Internship Position: Summer Intern
Non-Profit Organization: Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka, Alaska
by Elizabeth Cockrell
This summer was a crash course in salmon ecology and living in a community where everyone depends on one resource. Many people's work related to salmon such as employees of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and commercial fishermen, but even if their jobs aren't directly related to salmon they play a large part in their lives. Nearly everyone in Sitka had a boat and if, like me, you didn't have one you had offers from at least one person every weekend to go out fishing. Subsistence fishing is a richer way of life than just using salmon to offset the high cost of the groceries barged in from the lower 48. Salmon means feeding your kids, giving it away freely to someone who's sick of just hasn't had time to go fishing, it brings marine nutrients to the rainforests of Southeast Alaska, it supports bear, wolf, and even some deer that have adapted to take advantage of the abundant salmon runs.
My work this summer revolved around what salmon means. In order to understand salmon I worked on memorizing the five types of salmon found near Alaska, being able to identify them, and familiarizing myself with their life history. I also read some of the many publications about the economic, social, and anthropological values of salmon. All of these publications were very informative but their focus was always on one aspect of salmon's value to the exclusions of the others. In order to produce convincing brochure and other polished publications my supervisor and I focused on ascertaining a rounded picture of salmon's value in Southeast Alaska. My task in this effort was to photograph, take videos, and conduct interviews during trips to the field and elsewhere. The photos and video were a collaborative effort with one of my supervisors who would also go on trips into the field, but my major undertaking this summer was interviewing anyone and everyone who interacted with salmon and in Southeast Alaska it is hard to find someone who does not have close ties to salmon.
I interviewed officials from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Forest Service Fisheries and Wildlife Staff, commercial fishermen who could recount their father's efforts for Alaska to gain statehood and thus control of its fisheries, and local restaurant owners who serve wild, locally caught, fresh salmon, among others. Trying to fit all of these interviews was a major undertaking because everyone schedules trips into the field and out fishing so coordinating schedules often took a month or more. Salmon's multi-faceted value was important to document because when we focused on communicating the work the Forest Service was doing related to salmon we could communicate the facts about their projects but also create human interest by relating what salmon mean to the people actually doing the restoration work. When I asked Forest Service Fisheries and Wildlife staff what salmon means to them I had responses from life to family to epic tales of the one that got away to the Tongass National Forest to Alaska. It turns out that for these people salmon are sustenance, hobby, and work all rolled into one. The more we could convey that message to politicians in Alaska and Washington D.C., as well as people in the lower 48, we were also expressing the importance for keeping Alaska's fisheries wild and restoring salmon habitat to preserve those runs.
From my raw materials my supervisor produced several brochures and pamphlets, some of which were distributed to Harris Sherman, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment during his trip to the Harris River Watershed Celebration on Prince of Wales island. All of my raw materials have been put into the Sitka Conservation Society's library for future work so the work that I completed during this internship contributes to ongoing efforts to protect salmon and therefore the Southeast Alaskan way of life.
Recipient: Alyssa Gill, Class of 2014
Majors: Theatre; Business & Management MinorInternship Position: Theatre Management InternNon-Profit Organization: Prairie Players Civic Theatre, Galesburg, IL
by Alyssa Gill
The position was meant to give me a general overview of what it is like to be a Theatre manager. This includes following up on grants written, updating the data base of patrons and volunteers, and looking over the business plan for Prairie Players to introduce to the City of Galesburg.
The internship lasted for two month, June and July 2011. I worked Monday through Thursday from 9 am to 12 pm. During the course of my internship I spent a lot of time filing programs, fliers, and expense reports from recent productions as well as minutes from board meetings. I updated the current directory of volunteers and patrons using an older program, FilePro 8. I also used FilePro to create a new directory of businesses that had purchased advertising space in recent programs not only from Prairie Players but also Galesburg Community Chorus. As it was my job to answer phones during the day I spent time answering questions about shows and helped to secure complimentary tickets to the summer musical for a few veterans from the Galesburg Veterans Association.
In addition I was able to work with the costume shop by finding costumes to donate to Relay for Life for their July event, as well as create blue suede shoes and numbers for the jail costumes to be used in PPCT's summer musical All Shook Up. Prairie Players runs a youth summer camp from June 13 to July 1, and I spent part of my time during the camp creating a large fox head for use in the camp's play The Gingerbread Girl. In addition I created a fox tail and found most of the costumes to be used during the production. When the production and camp was over I created and sent summaries of budgets for the camp as well as thank you letters and final reports to both the City of Galesburg and Galesburg Rotary-Sunrise.
Towards the end of my internship I collected contact information for all of the volunteers for All Shook Up and also created lists of cast, crew, and orchestra members from past shows to list on the website.
Before beginning this internship I told myself that it was an opportunity to explore what it means to be a Theatre Manager. I was glad to have the opportunity to begin my work in a smaller theatre, especially a non-profit one such as Prairie Players, so I could have a sense of what the work is like while still having the ability to decide if this work is something that I would still consider pursuing. In the future I hope to continue exploring the world of Theatre-Management, but also hope to branch out and explore theatre marketing.
Recipient: Eleanor (Nellie) Ognacevic, Class of 2012
Majors: Theatre; Psychology MinorInternship Position: Theatre Technical & Management InternNon-Profit Organization: The Celebration Barn Theatre, South Paris, Maine
by Nellie Ognacevic
I just got back from Maine yesterday, seeing as I got stuck at the theater for a few days due to the hurricane. It was a mighty sight to see though, so delaying my trip a bit was kind of worth it. There were so many trees down though, which kind of lessened the excitement of mother nature.
I will say 100% that this was an incredible summer and I was so lucky to have had the opportunity to continue my journey in Maine at the Celebration Barn Theater. Wow. One of the first weeks I got there and the intern, Bridget, had just gotten to the barn, we decided to deem this summer, "The Summer of Yes!" And in every sense of the phrase, that is the best way to describe my summer.
First I want to update you on the last few weeks after my workshop finished. One of the workshops was sadly canceled due to lack of students signing up for it, which meant the energy in the barn kind of died, BUT, this gave Bridget and I an entire week alone with tons of theater time to work on our show. We had made a date and sent out some invitations for August 21 and about 20 people had told us they were coming. Funny thing was, that with two weeks until the show, we had 1 1/2 pieces ready. WHOAH...so much work to do. We decided the show was going to be vignette style scenes and more of a showing instead of a complete show with story line and such. We just wanted to share EVERYTHING we had learned this summer with those who were most important to us (audience members included several audience members/neighbors who come to all the Saturday evening shows, the two men of "Eepybird"-Fritz Grobe and Steve Voltz, the huge coke and mentos phenomenon that hit up the internet a few years ago ...check it out if you don't know what I'm talking about, some relatives of Barn staff, some good workshop friends I had met this summer and the last, and one clown friend who drove all the way from Boston to see it!). This was basically the IDEAL group of people.
So Bridget and I rehearsed for two weeks straight, brainstorming and writing like crazy. Our final show ended up being an hour long (note-this was all original material, so an hour of that material is pretty impressive). It included a graphics piece (which are images or snapshots of a certain theme that you make with your body) in theater, I wrote one song on the guitar called "Cursed Love" about my time being Medea last fall, Bridget wrote two songs on the piano that she sang to, we each had a solo piece (hers was comprised of three monologues, and mine was a "prop piece" where I entered as a young child ready for bed and had my pillow which I used in all sorts of different ways- as a lollipop, a dog, the bag of dog poo, a soccer ball, a hat, dress and mirror, a baby, some flowers.....you get the idea), we did two improvs where we just had two characters set and then we went onstage and improved (one about yoga and one about being the world's greatest something), we had a monologue/movement piece we titled "Love letters, and lastly we wrote a poem about the complaint bucket that we kept all summer and we did a farce about how much we hated the barn this summer. The audience LOVED IT! They were in hysterics basically the entire hour. We had no idea it was that funny nor that we had such great stage presence and chemistry together. They said it was electric, intoxicating, and that at the end they just wanted more! They never felt uncomfortable or worried about us onstage. A huge success if I must say. And the best part about it was that both Bridget and I have never written a show before and we have never played in such artistic endeavors as the physical theater and song writing that we attempted this summer. New experiences all around that ended up going really well!
The last three weeks of summer we also held a silent auction to raise money since the barn is a non-profit. We had to make so many calls to gather items and wrote thank you notes to those who donated. It took like three hours to set up the auction and make it look pretty. Basically I learned that there is a LOT of work that goes into putting together an auction. We had 34 items and we ended up making over $2400. Pretty good!
Bridget and I also spend quite a few days gathering video footage to put online about the barn. We held interviews and edited footage and spent a fair amount of time talking to the camera ourselves. Not a huge fan of the camera, but learned to love it. I got a fair amount of reading done and only have about 5 more books to read before going to Russia. Not too worried since I have 20 more days. My Russian still has a pretty far way to go. Actually, almost all the way! Suppose that's why I'll be taking a course in the language. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Bridget and I did two of our pieces to open the last show of the season. We got to have a real audience response! (not quite as good as our show, but not bad).
In sum, I would say that I grew up a lot this summer and learned so much about myself. I was pushed and challenged in all the best ways and managed to stay sane through it all! Some less than memorable things happened (like getting into a car accident with one of the students cars), but through it, we stayed positive and learned about life. I have fostered such wonderful relationships, all of which I hope to continue in the future. Because I returned for the second year, this summer did not end with me just saying good-bye to these people, but with us saying "I love you" and "see you again soon." My friends, my barn family, will remain important to me for so many years to come!
It was been such a wonderful last three months.
Recipient: Jenna Temkin, Class of 2012
Majors: Anthropology/Sociology; English Literature MinorInternship Position: Public Awareness & Social Media InternNon-Profit Organization: Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN), Alexandria, Virginia
by Jenna Temkin
I gained both valuable work experience and a better sense of what I want to do post-graduation through my eight-week internship at Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia. My supervisor at SCAN gave me a lot of freedom to spearhead important projects, which gave me the chance to hone my writing, research, and other professional skills. My internship was funded through the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program, which held numerous workshops and social gatherings throughout the summer.
My main task at SCAN was launching their first-ever blog. I spent the majority of my first few weeks at SCAN meeting with my supervisor and SCAN's director to discuss our vision for the blog. After the blog was up and running, I devoted a lot of my workday to researching and writing blog posts. I wrote entries on everything from parenting issues in the media to my experiences at SCAN's programs. I also developed a blog feature called SCANStars, where I interviewed volunteers, program facilitators, and program participants. After writing each entry, I would lay out the text and photos on the site and post a blurb and link to our facebook page. I was ultimately in charge of every aspect of the blog, which included managing comments and our weekly blog giveaway. Many non-profits look for applicants with strong writing skills and familiarity with social media technology. My experience in spearheading the blog will be a great asset in the future.
Aside from the blog, another one of my main tasks was working on SCAN's online parent resource center (PRC). The PRC provides information on different parenting topics in both English and Spanish. Topics range from child nutrition to handling divorce to the importance of fatherhood. The site includes links to fact sheets, radio shows, public service announcements, and other articles. Some of my work with the PRC was a little mundane; I ensured that each piece of information on the website and in our database was updated with the most current information. However, I also got the chance to research and write my very own topics. Researching the topics was very extensive and required a lot of weeding through articles from child development journals. After I completed the research, I wrote and laid out fact sheets. Writing concise yet engaging PSAs and radio shows also took a great deal of time, but turned out to be a very valuable experience.
My work with SCAN also included numerous small tasks, such as helping prepare for programs, volunteering at programs, and writing emails. My supervisor was also great about letting me shadow other people in the office and attend meetings at other child advocacy organizations. One of the more interesting meetings I attended was a brainstorming session for a new marketing campaign to end child abuse in Northern Virginia. Another highlight of my internship was writing a letter to the editor about fatherhood that got published in numerous area newspapers.
I also gained a lot of knowledge about working in the non-profit sector through programs with ExxonMobil. I attended an intern development seminar where I learned about risk management, workplace communication styles, and working in groups. Other interns and I also worked together to create our own non-profits. Getting to know other ExxonMobil interns gave me the chance to see the wide range of opportunities there are in the non-profit sector. Overall, I came away from my internship at SCAN with valuable professional skills and a much deeper understanding of the non-profit sector.