Submitted by students, these are previous internship experiences told first-hand.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Aperture Foundation

My name is Lynn Hunter and I am a senior Photography major. During the summer of 2016, I was an Exhibitions Work Scholar for the Aperture Foundation based in New York City. The Aperture Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides photo books, exhibitions, and educational programming as well as being one of the leading photography publishers in the world. The MICA Photography department has an internship program connected with Aperture that elects one student each year to complete an eight week, paid internship with the company. In order to obtain the internship, I researched the company further then applied to the MICA Selections committee with a resume and cover letter. I, long with two other students, were selected to have online interviews with two Aperture administrators, who would then choose which of us would fill the internship position.

My supervisor was Annette Booth, the Director of Exhibitions Management. She's in charge of Aperture’s gallery, meaning she schedules, budgets, installs, curates, designs, lights, and anything else needed to put up an exhibition. She also runs the traveling exhibition program which allows for Aperture shows to get rented out to institutions and galleries around the world. While I worked at Aperture, I was given tasks mainly concerning the Summer Open Exhibition, which is one of the biggest annual shows put on by the foundation. I handled art work included in the show, took inventory, and emailed artists about the status of everything. This experience left me feeling accomplished for being able to hold my own in not only a new big city, but one of the biggest art capitals in the world. Managing transportation, housing, and work related projects all on my own really gave me confidence that I could survive in the world after college.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Freer and Sackler Galleries

My name is Margaret Huey. I'm a rising senior illustration major with a Culture and Politics minor. For the summer of 2016, I interned at the Office of Public Programs at the Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, D.C., a subset of the Smithsonian specializing in Asian art. I've had an interest in museum work and dreamed of working for the Smithsonian for most of my life. I've also been working increasingly more with Asian diaspora in my illustrative work, so applying to Freer-Sackler for an internship was an exciting prospect. 

The application process was rather straightforward through the Smithsonian's SOLAA system which enables users to also browse and apply for a myriad of other internships within the Smithsonian Institution. I was eventually contacted by Grace Murray and Matthew Lasnoski who became my supervisors during my internship when they noticed my application and thought I would be a good fit for the Office of Public Programs. 

I primarily worked in the ImaginAsia classroom, which functions as a family-oriented studio space within the Freer Sackler. My tasks were mostly focused around promotions and prep work for museum events, designing and leading summer camps for children ages 7-12, and the Open Studio events, which are free art-making programs that correspond to the museum's exhibits and events.

My most notable project the museum's first Teen Takeover event – I got to complete a variety of tasks which is some of what appeals to me about museum work. Collaborating with the FS Teen Council, I made promotional illustrations for a DJ Showdown and the actual Teen Takeover event. I later worked with the FS's graphic design department to fine-tune the fliers. These went all over DC, Freer-Sackler social media, and the museum itself! I also helped host and assist artists performing for the event–who, in this case, were local teen DJs–and execute all the nitty gritty things that go into making those events possible such as designing and making pin-back buttons and searching for IP information regarding photos of artifacts we wanted to use. Most notably, however, was a Pokemon Go Walking tour for the event which I researched, designed, and executed myself. It even got featured on the website Museum Hacker! For the tour, I utilized the unique setting of the Freer-Sackler and their gardens to talk to attendees about analyzing art, cultural context, and a little bit about Japanese mythology and illustration all while catching Pokemon. Beforehand, I had preparatory meetings with a fellow and curator of the Japanese collection to fine-tune, fact-check, and further research. I learned some interesting real-world geopolitical context about Shinto influence and imagery that I'd likely never have access to otherwise. It was a very exciting, fruitful, and rewarding project that had nearly 100 attendees and might become semi-permanent programming. 

During my time at Freer-Sackler, I also researched and connected local Buddhist and Asian communities (including a Thai Buddhist temple significant to my childhood) to the FS for a large upcoming set of exhibitions. I studied and worked firsthand from artifacts in the new Chinamania exhibit to design screenprinting stencils for an Open House event, which then connected me to local screenprinters, Soul and Ink. These pieces are now on official Freer Sackler merchandise! I was treated like an employee, attending department-wide meetings and having my input valued and considered during them. I've enjoyed my time at Freer-Sackler and will be returning throughout the next fiscal year to continue my work on the Open Studio programs. I've also been invited to teach a manga and illustration-focused camp for the summer of 2017! This experience has introduced me to an exciting and unusual niche for my illustration while also allowing me to apply many more skills that all relate back to art, art making, and art history. I'm very excited for what this could mean for a museum work career where I can utilize my illustration skills in unique, challenging, and very fun ways and still working with other areas of art. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Opto Design

My name is Linka Lin. I am from Graphic Design MFA program. During this summer, I worked as a Graphic Design Intern for Opto Design, a design company based in New York City. I started looking for an internship opportunity in March of this year, and sent about thirty applications to different organizations. I got the position of Opto Design from our Graphic Design department’s weekly news email. I did a research about Opto Design and found out that this is a design company mostly focusing on branding and editorial design. I’m very interested in branding, and hope to learn more about practical typography so interning at this company would be a nice choice. I visited New York City two years ago was very impressed by the city so I felt really excited about this summer. 

My supervisors, John Klotnia and Ron Louie, began Opto Design together where they work as not only directors but also administrators. Usually, they work on separate projects and, although I worked with John more often, I learned much from both of them. 

I have skill for making motion graphics which was is one of the most important reasons that John accepted me for the internship. I spent half of my internship working on motion graphics, making moving ads and illustrations for clients. I also made a motion piece for Opto Design itself–a gif and postcards to announce their move to a new building. I also worked in branding projects like ROW NY, Becket, and Gateway School. and even did shoot photos or documenting cooperative artists’ portfolios. I learned a lot of detailed and practical tips through these tiny tasks. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sparkypants Studios

Game design is something that I have been passionate about for the last few years. This past semester I did an independent study where I joined the Project Studio IA class and made a game with student Nick Clinkscales. I was curious to see what working on a big game with an actual development team was like, and what things I could learn to be more marketable to people in that area. Luckily enough, I was contacted by Braden League, a former graduate of MICA, who was given my contact information by Mark Sanders. He put me in contact with Dave Inscore, Art Director at Sparkypants, who I talked to to secure my internship. 

Sparkypants is a AAA game development studio located here in Baltimore. It has a moderate team of about 35 people on site (with many more offsite) who are creating a RTS/MOBA game called Dropzone. The game takes place in a sci-fi setting and asks the player to control 3 pilots in a 1v1 battle to upload ‘cores’. Whoever uploads the most cores at the end of 15 minutes wins. I had 2 supervisors during my time at Sparkypants: one was Mike Legrand (Senior Programmer) and the other was Ryan Wolper (Senior Ui Designer). Legrand would check my code that I submitted for mistakes or for an easier way to do the task I was trying to accomplish. While Wolper would give me feedback on art assets I created and made sure I was making the correct things to fit into the game. 

As soon as I joined the team I was tasked with many different things to do. I created in game keyboards, options menus, objective icons, the draft buildout, portrait picker menu, friends list and main menu panels. I also had to keep up with multiple bugs that surface from implementing all those things as well as localization work to make sure our game could be translated into any other language. Over my time there I am most proud of the objective icons that I created. The company loved the icons I made and they are still being used in the game currently. My biggest take away from this experience is how crucial it is to know code when going into game design. It was something that I was asked to do over and over again, and it helps a ton to be able to do it. As far as new skills I am much more familiar with html/css/javascript now that I was before starting at sparky and it is clear to me now that I want to pursue these skills during my final year at MICA.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Gallery Aferro

My name is Sarah Middleton and I am a second semester senior, General Fine Arts major with a double concentration in both experimental fashion and theatre. During this past summer I interned in Newark, NJ at Gallery Aferro. At the fine arts reviews this past spring, I met Evonne and Emma. It seemed like fate, because all of my appointments got cancelled due to confusion over my status as a senior, and I otherwise would not have chosen to meet with them. Immediately, I felt a connection with both Evonne and Emma and the very next day I saw the internship listing on the MICANetwork. While the idea of moving to the NY/NJ area for the summer was a bit terrifying, I knew this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss out on.

Right from the start, this amazing non-profit arts space welcomed me with open arms and instantly I felt like part of the team. Jacob, the gallery manager, and Alex the exhibition designer were absolutely amazing. Jacob taught me how to contact artists and how to interact with donors. I was surprised at how laid back and relaxed he was since his online presence is so formal. He let me talk to many of the artist donating to the super 8 fundraiser one on one and I even got to visit some of them in their studios. Alex taught me how to hang a show. I didn’t really understand how much math goes into it and how hard it is to hang a large show (especially one with hundreds of individual pieces!) Honestly, these two made me feel like I was more than an intern, they’re some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. Truly inspiring.

Every Thursday, I would get to the gallery early in the morning before they opened and work side by side as a studio assistant with Amanda Thackray. A teacher at SUNY purchase, Amanda has a very intricate and detailed approach to her work. I got to work with glassblowing and making wax molds of books. I also beaded lengths of beads which she then made into nets. A lot of her work revolves around ropes and we made rubber ropes which was super interesting. There was definitely not a boring moment and I learned a lot of new skills that I wouldn’t have otherwise been interested in figuring out myself.

 Overall I had an amazing summer working with the team of interns. We managed to pull off some major events and I really got to be a functional part of the gallery. I never felt like the “intern getting coffee”. I always felt like a meaningful part of the team. While I’m still figuring out if I want to pursue curatorial work, I know for sure that I would love to be involved in running a non-profit arts space similar to Aferro and I feel better prepared to make decisions about just what that might look like when I graduate.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Art With A Heart

My name is Akea Brown and I am junior Photography and Humanistic Studies major. I spent this past summer interning at Art With A Heart, as a community service intern. I found out about the internship while looking through the MICA Network and applied for an interview. I interviewed about a week later and was given the internship the same day.

Art With A Heart, is a non-profit organization, here in Baltimore. Their main focus is to positively impact the community through the creation of art. There are many branches of the organization, including the Job Program, which helps homeless and underprivileged youth learn to be professional and market themselves as artists. The youth program, brings together high school students from public and private schools, who otherwise wouldn’t have met, and have them tackle issues about race, politics, and gender, utilizing their different perspectives. The Public Art branch acts as the face of the organization and handles all of the projects out in the community. My direct supervisor was, Jenny Hyle, the director of Public Art and Community Engagement. Her main job was to create, design, and facilitate the community workshops, classes, youth groups, and public art that is conducted in the community. For the duration of my internship, I shadowed my supervisor and did everything that she did. I taught classes, designed and created mosaics, worked on workshops, and created relationships with those in the community.

This experience has taught me so much about myself and a lot about my home, Baltimore. I am definitely most proud of the relationships I made with those in the community, especially the children. Hearing them tell me that I have made an impact in their life made everything worth while. I was very interested in seeing how it all works, as I have plans to possibly continue with community arts, but it was a great experience for me to understand the lifestyle of someone who works for a non-profit, such as Art With A Heart. I didn’t realize until I began working, at Art With A Heart, that this is a 24/7 position and is for those who truly want to make a difference, at the grassroots level.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

No Pins Framing

My name is Tania Garcia and I am senior Photography major. This summer, I was an intern at the No Pins Framing shop. I’d always been curious but not very informed about the framing aspect of photography. I wanted to gain a more in-depth understanding of the process and be able to understand it from both the production perspective and as a client. During the spring semester when I was on the lookout for an interesting internship and also developing my thesis project, I decided to reach out and see if interning would be a possibility at the shop. I then submitted a resume and application, had a face to face meeting with Alex Curtis, the owner, and subsequently began my internship.

The No Pins shop covers various methods of presentation and works with clients from the initial design process all the way through the fabrication of the finished pieces. Due to it being a small business, I got to learn directly with the owner and shadow him through the different responsibilities involved in both the creative process and the aspects related to running a business. I was excited to learn about both because being in a transitional point in my life made it crucial for me to seek out guidance all the more regarding my career post-college.

One of the most rewarding moments was being able to work with someone on the design process and later hand them a finished product that I’d had a hand in making and seeing their faces light up. Overall, I was proud every time I was able to improve on each step of the fabricating process, but it helped to see all the ways in which I could grow and apply my past experience to new pursuits.

One of the most enriching aspects of this internship was the confidence I gained in not only my current capabilities, but also in my ability to take on a whole new challenge and prevail. I now have a great foundation to continue this profession should I choose to, and a great working knowledge for my own artist practice.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

iStrategyLabs (ISL)

My name is Christina Hyrkas and I am a junior Graphic Design major at MICA. This past summer I interned as a graphic designer at iStrategyLabs (ISL) in Shaw, Washington, D.C. ISL invents digital & physical experiences for the world’s biggest brands. The designers, developers, marketers, and makers build everything from apps to connected devices to wildly creative campaigns that reach audiences globally.

The design team interprets creative direction from clients and builds brands to display over social media. I heard about the company through a MICA Post-Bac student and further researched it looking for an internship. I reached out to the Graphic Design department chair, Brockett Horne, who happened to know someone working there. Later, I followed up with her friend at the company and scheduled an informational interview and tour of the office. After that I was offered a summer internship position during which I worked under many different people. The head director of the design department is Zach Goodwin. He is an “obsessive designer, inventive writer, and a two-time ADDY winner.” I worked mostly with the Kroger Grocery Store branding with An Ly, a three year Art director at ISL, as my boss for those projects. My favorite project was creating a campaign for Kroger Grocery Store that involved building a set, storyboarding, videotaping frames, creating multiple GIF’s, and documenting the process. It was exciting to see the end products of working twelve straight days on the same project. Also, it was thrilling getting to see it live on the companies Facebook and Instagram. Some other projects I worked on were creating smaller posts for different brands on their Facebook accounts. Because many of the advertisements I created in the studio were with photography, I used tools I had never touched before such as a strobe lights, documenting equipment, and became much more proficient in Photoshop.
The most useful skill I learned was problem solving. Often, things would not go according to plan on shoots whether it was not having the correct material, running out of material, or another project pushing into another deadline. We constantly had to think on our feet for resolutions. All projects have occurrences that can’t be accounted for and the faster one can resolve them, the smoother the project goes.

Overall, this internship gave me a better understanding of working on a computer in a traditional graphic design setting. I gained new skills that will allow me to work more efficiently in my senior year at MICA. The experience gave me a better idea of where I want to take my thesis and what I will be doing after graduation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


My name is Jane Yeon and I am a senior Animation major.  During the summer of 2016, I was an intern—or "Nicktern"— at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, California.  Growing up watching several of their shows, I was extremely excited and interested in applying for this internship program.  My interest only grew through research on the Nick Internship page of their website where I read their mission statement and applicant requirements.  I also had the opportunity to ask a MICA Illustration major, who interned at Nickelodeon the previous summer, a couple of questions regarding the program.  I then applied during the spring semester of 2016 after spending some hours tailoring my résumé and cover letter.

Once school had wrapped up for the semester, I received a response and interviewed over the phone with the Nickelodeon Internship Program Manager.  I was informed my résumé would be passed onto the Archive and Resource Library Department —the department offering the internship.  I was intrigued, even though I had never though to work in an archive, because, based on the summary the interviewer gave me of what the Archives is and does, it sounded like something I would really enjoy and seemed like I had the qualifications to work well with the team.  A few days later, I interviewed a second time with the Archives Coordinators and the following day received a phone call announcing I got the position and was beyond ecstatic!

I've learned so much throughout this internship and really believe that it is one of the best internships a student could ever have.  It was such a privilege to have this humbling experience!  The internship manager coordinated programs which were really beyond what I could imagine: lunches with executive producers, character design and storyboarding classes, as well as lessons on social media management and professional development—they had it all!  At its heart, Nickelodeon really fosters mentorship, which I witnessed on every level, regardless of what position an employee had.  This experience broke so many of my expectations of what I thought a large company with a plethora of established artists and successful works would be like.  It showed me that a corporation can uphold higher principles and ethics and still function on a creative level unlike any other.  They honestly put their audience—kids—first and were creator driven!  I can say without a doubt that I have come out of the internship program as a student who is more prepared and confident to pursue a career in the animation industry.