Internship: Arts and Humanities Nonprofit
Intern: Alyssa Cook, Graduate Student, English
Workplace: aha! Manhattan
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Han Yu
Course: ENGL 797
Semester: Fall 2018
aha! Manhattan, or the Arts & Humanities Association of Manhattan, is a collaborative group of area cultural and nature-based organizations dedicated to engaging the community in arts and humanities. While interning for aha!, Alyssa completed a 7-minute video using footage from the city’s “Third Thursday” events to promote the talents of local artists on display in the city. She also wrote a series of feature articles about art and literacy integration in the local elementary and high schools for the district newsletter. These features draw attention to the district’s recent Literacy Network of Kansas grant and showcase how grant money is being used to give students enriching opportunities.
Alyssa also managed aha!’s Facebook page. She wrote and shot a series of Facebook live videos to promote aha! events, organized the #ThankAnArtist campaign to spotlight local artists, and filmed short interviews to increase the involvement of Facebook followers and encourage user-generated content and gratitude.
Alyssa really enjoyed her experience with aha!. “The people I worked with were all really nice, and their passion for sharing the arts and connecting with people in the community made the environment very positive and invigorating. It definitely challenged me to expand my skill set and go beyond my comfort zone (for example, I had never been in front of the camera before).”
aha! members were equally pleased. As her worksite supervisor Deborah Murray said, “All those who worked with Alyssa were impressed by her initiative and creativity. Understanding aha!’s desire to broaden our outreach, Alyssa built on existing marketing ideas to create impressive videos. The Facebook live videos Alyssa filmed received hundreds of views, effectively informing a wide audience of the importance of the arts and humanities in Manhattan.”
When asked what she gained the most from the internship, Alyssa replied “versatility of experience and expertise.” “Prior to this, I had done some marketing work, writing press releases, copyediting, and monitoring social media, but aha! gave me more opportunities to work with Facebook and design a variety of multimedia campaigns which expanded my portfolio to include graphic design and video production. They also put a great deal of trust in me, allowing me to design campaigns and post content directly, which while challenging was very empowering.”
Alyssa suggests that English students schedule their internship for a semester when they can devote significant time and attention to it. “Some of my best experiences came from investing the time to learn new skills, taking on extra projects, and juggling multiple assignments at once. It’s more challenging, but you will get back what you put in and then some.”