A Pre-Medical Student’s Exploration of England’s National Health Service

Posted on: September 30, 2014

By Moriah Pollock-Hawthorne HC ’15

Immediately after completing the last exam of my junior year at Haverford, I boarded a plane to London to begin a six-week internship in which I would learn as much as I could about the Moriah 1inner workings of England’s National Health Service, a single-payer healthcare system. Dr. Amanda Adler—my generous host and the diabetes specialist who would act as my teacher and mentor during my internship—met me at Heathrow International Airport and drove me to her thatched cottage in Fowlmere, a sleepy little town in the English countryside about ten miles away from the hospital in Cambridge.

As I got settled in, Dr. Adler and I laid out the schedule for the next six weeks that would fulfill the goal of my internship, which was to experience the National Health Service [NHS] in action, from the creation of health care guidelines and policies to their application in clinical settings.

For four weeks, I directly experienced British health care by shadowing and assisting Dr. Adler and her colleagues as they ran various clinics at the Institute of Metabolic Science at Cambridge University’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital. During this time I observed a diabetes clinic (where new and regular patients with all types of diabetes Moriah 2came in for routine check-ups), an endocrine clinic, a diabetic foot clinic (where I first saw gangrene, NOT a pleasant sight), a cystic fibrosis and diabetes joint-clinic, a diabetes and renal failure joint-clinic, a pre-conception counseling clinic, and a diabetes clinic for pregnant women.

The time I spent in clinic really inspired me and made me certain that I want to work in clinical medicine when I become a doctor. It was amazing to meet all of the British patients and hearing their stories about their diabetes and how different treatments affect their daily lives. For example, one patient was greatly relieved when the doctor agreed to lower her dose of insulin because until that point she had become so terrified of having a “hypo”—a dangerously low blood sugar—that she could not even leave her house. By listening to patients I learned much more about diabetes than I could have ever learned from a textbook and from their stories I learned a lot about British culture and daily life in England.

During the four weeks I spent in clinic, I got hands-on clinical experience crucial to the preparation for my future career in medicine, learned a great deal about diabetes, and got to experience first-hand how the NHS works in the clinical setting.

For the other two weeks of my internship, I moved down to Dr. Adler’s flat in London. The goal of this part of my internship was to learn about the processes in which the health policies and guidelines used by doctors in the NHS are created. To do this, I observed a technology appraisal meeting chaired by Dr. Adler, who works part time with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a non-profit organization that creates guidelines and policies for the NHS to ensure affordability and standards of care for medicine. To further explore the field of health policy, I also worked for two weeks as an intern for NICE International in London, a small semi-autonomous branch of NICE that applies the experiences of NICE and the NHS to help developing countries in the formation of principles, priorities, and guidelines as these countries begin to create or expand their own healthcare systems.

During my time at NICE International, I commuted to work on the Tube like a true Londoner and used my PowerPoint and Excel skills to assist the team as they prepared a presentation for a big meeting, which I had the privilege to attend. During this meeting I (representing Haverford) sat around a table surrounded by incredible people who work for exceptional organizations—such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank, Rockefeller Center, Center for Global Development, and the UK’s Department of International Development. I listened intently as they discussemoriah 3d the best way to aid low and middle income countries in the establishment of priorities and guidelines for good quality health care and debated which country (or countries) they should choose for the trial run of their new program—the International Decision Support Initiative. I also got to attend the launch party for this initiative at the House of Lords in British Parliament!

As my internship came to an end and I prepared to return to the United States, I realized just how much I had learned about diabetes treatment, clinical medicine, and how the NHS operates and serves as an inspiring example for developing countries around the world. One of the experiences that struck me most during my time in England was the reaction of utter surprise and shock I received from the English people when I said to them, “You are so lucky to have the NHS! In the United States, many people experience constant worry and stress that they will not be able to afford the medical attention they need to maintain their health.” To them, having a healthcare system that covers everyone seemed like a given. Overall, my internship made me realize how much the American people would benefit if the US healthcare system was restructured using the NHS as a model. Personally, as a future doctor I know that I want to work within a healthcare system that allows me to help all people in need of medical attention, regardless of how much money they can pay.

Fords on Friday: Alex Turner ’93

Posted on: September 26, 2014

The CCPA welcomes Alex Turner, HC ’93 as our
Fords on Friday guest blogger today. Thank you, Alex! 

Get to Know Yourself 

By way of introduction, I am a Ford alum, class of 1993, who has a3bd55d3 private criminal defense practice in the city of Philadelphia. I work for myself, doing very meaningful things for people in desperate need, often times by arguing in front of a jury just like a lawyer on. It is absolutely as awesome as it sounds. I love my job. Which makes me somewhat of an anomaly among lawyers. Many of my colleagues do not exactly love their jobs.

So how did I get here? How did I become an outlier, a very-satisfied rounding error in the statistics of legal employment? The true answer is, I have no idea. I can’t honestly say that it was the direct, foreseen result of any concerted effort on my part. Which puts me at a loss when it comes to giving career advice. I couldn’t possibly tell you what steps you need to take to find a satisfying career. But I know what it feels like to find one. And I know that, had I been in better touch with my feelings all along, I would have gotten here a lot faster.

I raise the issue of feelings with some trepidation — most of us aren’t comfortable talking about them, especially in a professional context. But I think feelings are the key to professional satisfaction. If you want to figure out what you are meant to do, you need to get to know yourself better, and that means figuring out how you feel about things.

I never had much interest in dwelling on my feelings. I was very much invested in the idea that my intellect was in charge. Feelings were something that I ignored in order to ensure that my decision making was free of irrationality, and intellect was the tool I used to keep feelings in check. But as it turns out, I had this scheme completely backwards. The feelings that I had left unexamined were actually running my life. The intellect that I had trusted with my big decisions wasn’t working against my feelings, it was working for my feelings: all of that mental horsepower was being used to intellectually justify the things that my feelings wanted. The things that I didn’t even know my feelings wanted.

As a result, many of my rational-sounding career decisions weren’t actually that rational. Some were a bit compulsive. I wasn’t actually making choices based on what I was good at or what I enjoyed doing. Rather, I was relying on an subconscious presumption that some new option might finally dispell the vauge sense of dissatisfaction that pervaded my life. But the dissatisfaction remained no matter what choices I made. The dissatisfaction wasn’t a result of any deficiency in status or achievement or financial security. It had nothing to do with anything outside my own head. It was caused by the feelings I was trying to ignore.

Certainly, a better approach would have been to get to know myself — and my feelings — better. But self knowledge is no simple task. Achieving a state of mindful, emotional presence in our day-to-day lives is, for many of us, an elusive life-long goal. It takes time. It takes effort. It’s a process, and each person’s process looks different. I suppose my point — and by now its high time I had one — is that self knowledge has some serious collateral benefits besides the emotional and spiritual well being with which it’s most often associated. For one, it helps immensely with career development.

Yes, knowing yourself well means you’re able to discern when a bad feeling is causing the kind of discomfort that might lead to a rash decision and a poor career fit. But the flip side of this self-knowledge coin is the benefit of recognizing what it feels like when things are right. Knowing when you’re in the right place for the right reasons is just as valuable as knowing when your in the wrong place for the wrong reasons.

Here’s the good news: being a Ford helps. The Haverford community encourages us to find our own personal truth and express it courageously. It challeges us to value our principles over our performance. It nurtures a peace of mind that opens us to possibility. That’s a great environment in which to start getting to know yourself better.

And don’t feel rushed. You have plenty of time.

Alex Turner is a graduate of Haverford College (class of 1993) and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He began his legal career representing indigent clients accused of crimes, first at the Miami-Dade Public Defender, and subsequently at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. Mr. Turner worked as an white collar and commercial litigation associate at the law firm Ballard Spahr LLP for several years before opening his own practice in Philadelphia. He focuses primarily on criminal defense and commercial litigation.

Harnessing the Market for Social and Environmental Good: A Speaker Series on Impact Investing

Posted on: September 22, 2014

Haverford College is proud to introduce our Impact Investing series with professor Shannon Mudd, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of Impact Investing Social Entrepreneurship:
~~~~~~~
Throughout their development, whether in early or later stages, II Speaker Series Poster-page-001societies face significant challenges in ensuring the welfare of all their citizens. Problems that need to be addressed arise from poverty, health issues, safety concerns, environmental degradation, limited access to services, a lack of freedom to speak or work, unequal opportunities to develop one’s capabilities, etc.

Governments and non-profit organizations have long been relied upon to effect change and address these problems. But both are limited in what they can do. Increasingly, innovative responses are being developed by social and environmental entrepreneurs. In this third approach entrepreneurs use business concepts to develop and deliver products and services in sustainable ways by working through markets. Examples abound, from the provision of pay-as-you-go solar lighting using mobile phone payments (M-Kopa-Kenya), to low cost eye treatment for the poor (Aravind-India), to energy-efficient green laundry services delivered by bicycle (Wash Cycle Laundry-Philadelphia). While philanthropy and governments may play a role, the focus of the entrepreneur is to create a viable business that can cover its costs while generating a positive benefit.

Start-up businesses almost always have difficulty getting the financing they need for their operations and growth. When a business is not only new, but non-standard and seeking to provide a positive social benefit as well as generate the cash to pay back investors, the financial system is even more skeptical.

This speaker series brings to campus practitioners and thought leaders to talk about the crucial interactions between the financial system and social innovation. Will the financial system allow a social enterprise to maintain its mission? A new segment of investors is emerging that is focused on “doing well by doing good,” i.e., using their financial capital to create positive social and environmental change. Known as Impact Investing, this segment of the financial sector includes individuals, foundations, and investment funds which support social entrepreneurs without asking them to give up their soul.

Its early in the sector’s development. Will it survive? Who are the players? Are the necessary support services, legal rulings and other institutions in place to preserve their gains and support their growth? Is there enough funding to meet the demand? Are their enough good prospects to keep investors interested? What challenges do entrepreneurs, funders and the eco-system as a whole face? Come and hear and determine how you and your communities might be affected – or even inspired.

 

Fords on Friday: Evan LeFlore ’06

Posted on: September 19, 2014

The CCPA welcomes guest blogger Evan LeFore’06 back to the
community
with his take on the importance of beginning to think about
your career now. Evan is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. He is currently a consultant at Promontory Financial Group. Thank you, Evan!

Welcome (back) to Haverford! If you are anything like I was as a Haverford student, the start of each new school year brought a twinge of excitement and angst with all the LeFlore Bio Picquestions I had to answer:

  • What classes am I going to take?
  • What is my living situation going to be like?
  • How have my friends changed since last June?
  • How have I changed since then?
  • What can I do to make this year even more fun than last year?
  • And, for you seniors: What in the world am I going to write my thesis about?

But one question that is left off of this list far too often is:

  • What am I going to do next summer?

Even though the previous summer is only a few days gone, it is never too early to answer this question. And, trust me, answering this question now is important—especially since the school year goes by fast. Between classes, papers, problem sets, Founders dances, nights in Lunt Basement or the Coop, study sessions, etc., your days will quickly turn to night and you’ll wake up and it’s Pinwheel Day with the yearend approaching fast. (A side note: Pinwheel Day is still one of my favorite days of the year.)

Year after year, too many Haverford students begin the job-search process towards the end of their year, with many facing the arduous task of finding their summer/post-graduation job after many of the job deadlines have long since passed. The goal of this blog post, therefore, is to illuminate the tactics that you as a student can take to avoid this situation.

~~~~~~~~~

In a nutshell, the point of this post is to encourage you to begin thinking about your career now.

There are three main reasons for beginning this thought process so early in the year. First, many employers begin their hiring process for both summer interns and full-time hires before you even have your first midterm exam. According to the Center for Career and Professional Advising’s (CCPA) website (www.haverford.edu/ccpa/), seniors looking for full-time work have 30 jobs openings currently available with deadlines on or before September 30th of this year. And for internship seekers, some organizations (including Federal Government agencies) have deadlines as early as November.

While not all job and internship applications have such early deadlines, it is important to know when they are so you can begin planning your application process with those deadlines in mind.

Second, the job application process is a long and complicated one. To get a job, many of you will have to research companies; write resumes and cover letters; submit applications; and do informational, phone, and in-person interviews. Doing each of these well takes time and practice. And, as someone who spent many years recruiting candidates coming straight out of undergrad, I can tell you that a company can tell who prepared for the job application process—both by the quality of their written work as well as by their answers to interview questions.

Informational interviews with alumni or people in your network of family or friends are great ways to learn more about the types of jobs out there and their fit for your skills and interests. Take advantage of these conversations to learn more about a job—they will save you a lot of time by helping you learn what types of jobs you do (and do not) want to pursue.

And finally, the career search process starts the minute you step on to campus. As a Haverford student, you have a wealth of information from which to help devise your post-college career plans. Such resources include, but are not limited to, summer internships, the CCPA, and alumni (who, believe me, are waiting in the wings to help you find your career path). The earlier you start utilizing these resources, the more likely it is that you will graduate with a job that puts you on your path to a promising career.

~~~~~~~~~

If you have made it this far, you may be saying to yourself “But I’m planning on going straight to graduate school, so what does any of this have to do with me?”

The answer is, not surprisingly, that you too should start thinking early about the graduate school application process. Should you apply to graduate school, you will most likely need to take an entrance exam as well as complete schools applications during your senior year. The earlier you plan to dedicate time for this outside of your classwork the less painful it will be for you. And for many graduate programs, including MBA and public policy degrees, having at least two years of work experience is deemed preferable; thus, if you thinking of pursuing such a graduate degree it is also important follow this post’s job-related advice in order to help you secure a post-graduate job.

~~~~~~~~~

Talk is fine and well when it comes to planning your career exploration, but below I give you an outline of some steps you can take over the next few months that help make your next summer an enjoyable one:

September

  • Meet with a CCPA representative to talk through your potential career path
  • Start/polish your resume
  • Research the CCPA website to see what sorts of jobs/internships are already available
  • Apply to jobs with September deadlines
  • Talk to your peers and upperclassmen/women about their internship experience
  • REACH OUT TO ALUMNI for informational interviews

October

  • Begin drafting cover letters for jobs with upcoming deadlines
  • Apply to jobs with October deadlines
  • REACH OUT TO ALUMNI who work for the firms you’re interested in and/or have interviews with in the coming weeks
  • Study for and take any grad-school-related tests

November

  • Apply to jobs with November deadlines
  • Refine your resume and cover letters
  • Start doing mock interviews with the CCPA and/or your friends
  • REACH OUT TO ALUMNI (notice a theme?)

December

  • Focus on finishing the semester up strong, but make sure to keep an eye out for any looming application deadlines
  • And on your winter break, REACH OUT TO ALUMNI—particularly those who live in your hometown

While the above lessons will not guarantee that you’ll enter the spring semester with the knowledge what you’ll be doing next summer, they will greatly increase your odds of getting that internship or full-time job that will launch your career in the right direction.

Evan LeFlore ’06 is currently a consultant at
Promontory Financial Group. Evan is also a
graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business
and Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School.
He can be reached at Evan (dot) LeFlore (at) GMAIL (dot) com.  

The Importance of Connecting with Alumni

Posted on: September 16, 2014

By Kari Cooke, CCPA Graduate Assistant

Haverford is a dynamic campus that has the ability to be a small campus with a home-feel as well as a national force with a large reach. Alumni play an important role in connecting current Fords to the community in which they live and work. As students take classes, form friendships, and develop their areas of interests into adulthood, alumni can aid in these transitions. Who else knows what it is like for a Ford to succeed outside of Haverford than another Ford? Many Ford Alums are happy to share their experiences, reach out to current Fords, and aid in the networking potential of students as they prepare for the workplace. The CCPA regularly aids the ability of students and alums to make connections through the Fords on Friday events. Sign up in the CCPA CareerConnect Calendar and see who will be coming to campus!

Fords on Fridays Alumni Career Chats and the Alumni Perspectives Series on the CCPA Blog are a great way for students to learn about career paths first-hand and gain valuable advice for their own searches. The Fords on Fridays Alumni Career Chats series begins on 9/19 with Fritz Kaegi HC ’93. You can read the latest Alumni Perspective blog posts and read Alumni Profiles on the CCPA website.

Fords on Friday
Fords on Friday is a unique opportunity to network with Haverford Alums
Fritz Kaegi – Portfolio Manager, Columbia Acorn Emerging Markets FundFritz
Friday, September 19, 2014, 12:00 Noon
Room: CCPA Main Office

Fritz Kaegi ’93 is Portfolio Manager of the Columbia Acorn Emerging Markets Fund (ticker: CEFZX; ~$585 million in assets), and manages over $1 billion of Columbia Wanger Asset Management’s (CWAM) investments in India, former Soviet Union countries, and Africa, as well as in basic materials industries around the world. Based in Chicago, CWAM is a mutual fund advisor with ~$39bn of assets under management, of which about one-third are invested in foreign equities. CWAM’s investments typically focus on smaller- and medium-sized growing companies. Prior to joining CWAM in 2004,  Fritz was an equity analyst at Morningstar and began his career in the investment industry in Russia during the 1990s. He received his BA from Haverford College in Political Science and Economics in 1993, and MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2001. He was a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (2012-13) and Thomas J. Watson Fellow (1993-94). He is an alumni admissions interviewer for Haverford and Stanford GSB, a member of the program committee for Leadership Greater Chicago (a civic leadership organization), and has served on advisory boards for Bay Area and Chicago Teach for America, as well as the Chicago-Moscow Sister Cities Committee. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois, with his wife Rebecca and their three children.

Fords on Friday: Do What You Love

Posted on: September 12, 2014

The CCPA welcomes and thanks Brian Simms ’01 for a great blog and smart insight.
We are so honored to have Brian share his experience with the Haverford community.

by Brian Simms ’01

After realizing that a set path to success doesn’t exist, that doing “the right thing” for your education or career won’t always result in the expected or desired outcome, you can start over.  While that may not sound particularly comforting at the moment, each person’s path needs to be determined individually.  How cliché.  Unfortunately, it’s also true.  While fame Brian Simms '01and riches may sound great, they may not be realistic if you love social work.  Yes, I’m going to talk about following your dreams, but hopefully not in the “puppies and rainbows” vein you’ve heard all your life.

You can choose from a number of different perspectives both within your education and within your career.  At the end of the day, realize that you’re going to spend somewhere between 30 and 40 years of your life working.  Your work will demand a huge amount of your available time.  What are your goals?  What is meaningful to you?  What will keep you excited for years?  There are nearly limitless options!

If, for example, you’re looking to make as much money as possible, by all means plot a path that will get you there.  Numerous careers can generate huge income, especially over the long term.  If financial security is your number one goal, there are well-established ways to make that happen.  Personally, I have always been concerned with making “sufficient” money to do the things I want to do.  I feel financially secure, and it’s important to me that I provide for my family.  However, 13 years after my graduation, and a number of job changes later, I’m no longer as sure I know what type of job I will truly enjoy.  It’s obvious to me now that my initial career path is not exactly what I hoped it to be.

Looking back now, I think the most valuable advice I can provide is to do what you love.  Figure out what you love while you’re in school, determine whether the day-to-day in one of those fields actually matches with what you enjoy, and relentlessly pursue a way to make it happen.  We Fords are lucky…Haverford provides us with a broad education and hones our skills in the arts of discourse, exploration, analysis, compassion, and empathy.  Let your skills help you.  Let Haverford’s reputation help you.  We have so many options available, and are so versatile, that sometimes it can be difficult to divine the “right” path.  I challenge you to find the path that makes you happy.  That path will always be the “right” path for you.

Haverford is still looking to provide a quality education with an emphasis on problem-solving, real teaching, and a collaborative learning environment.  Take advantage of that.  Do your research into your career as fastidiously as you’ve prepared yourself for your higher education.  Understand what you enjoy doing, and find a way to get paid to do it.  Haverford will help you get there, but be sure to ask for help and utilize the resources available to you.

You may feel that your initial foray into the working world is a huge step down the path.  It is.  Don’t let that fool you into thinking that the path is determined by the first step, or even the second or third or fourth.  Your path can be whatever you need it to be.  Sometimes it takes a little time to figure out what’s right for you, do some backtracking, and orient yourself with a different point of view.  Ultimately, never stop learning about yourself, your desires, and the ways to guide your life and your career in such a way as to have an exciting day every day.

The “follow your dreams” message may be a bit saccharine.  I get that.  As life takes you in new, interesting directions, remember that you will likely have more than one job or employer over the course of your career.  What type of work best fits your current priorities?  Is work / life balance most important?  Holding a position of authority?  A fun work environment?  Making a difference in the world?  While following your dreams may be the right fit for part of your career, understanding your priorities allows you to weigh your opportunities.

For the first time in generations, the working population feels it has the right to enjoy what it does.  Take advantage.  Keep your eyes open.  Establish yourself as a trustworthy asset regardless of what you’re doing.  Doors open based on your network, so keep up with your contacts.  Help them when you can.  Engage in good conversations.  Let them help you find your path when you’re unsure, or provide a different perspective on your current or prospective ventures.

Wherever you end up, find a way to enjoy it.  Mold your career to line up with your priorities, and you’ll find motivation and fun almost every day.

*******

Brian has spent time developing and operating satellites at Mars, satellites
performing lunar gravity-mapping, and satellites that provide weather information
to much of North America.  He relentlessly seeks to improve processes and loves
to figure out the best path from here to there for a business.  When he’s not working,
he’s busy enjoying time with his wife, 3 month old baby boy, and dogs.  Every once
in a while he remembers to get some exercise and plays a little volleyball or tennis.

 

Mock Interview Opportunities are here!

Posted on: September 8, 2014

It’s that time of year again… students have returned, classes have started, and here in the CCPA, employers are starting to schedule interviews both on campus and in their place of work. Seniors – depending on your interests, especially those in business, interviewing may already be underway.

Here in Stokes we are firm believers that interview practice is the #1 best way to prepare for an interview of any kind. As such, we have provided for you opportunities to connect with alumni, friends of the college and employers to practice and fine tune your own interviewing skills. How?

1. Sign up for our Mock Interview Day
Friday, September 26, 2014
Sign up through CareerConnect: First come, First Serve
Find these by typing “Mock Interview” in the search field
We’ve invited employers on campus to conduct interviews! Take advantage of their generosity and knowledge. Interviews will be 45 minutes long (30 minute interview + immediate feedback). So far the following employers are joining us, and please check back for additional interviews:

Karim Nanji, Comcast
Job Title for Mock Interview: Coordinator of Corporate Government Affairs
Students with interest in: Government, Policy, Communications, Business

Emily Magee, Vanguard
Job Title for Mock Interview: Client Relations Specialist
Students with interest in: Business, Finance

2. Join our Mock Interview LinkedIn Group

A great way to find an alumni for mock interviewing! This Haverford Career Connections group, Mock Interview Volunteers – Fords Helping Fords, is designed to serve as a forum for students and alumni to seek help from other Fords through mock interviews and share general advice. Job and internship seekers will be able to search the group directory for professionals who have volunteered to give a practice interviews and feedback. Please consider joining today.

Once you have scheduled a mock interview, either through the CCPA or with an alum on your own, it is important to prepare as you would a regular interview. A few simple things can go a long way:

  • Arrive 10 minutes early.
  • Bring extra copies of your resume.
  • Read about the company/job ahead of time.
  • Prepare questions, even though it’s a practice run.
  • Dress as your would a regular interview!
  • After the initial interview, ask specific questions about how to improve your interviewing skills.
  • Send a thank you note and connect with your interviewer on Linkedin.

Of course, the CCPA has several interviewing-related events and resources to assist in the process as well. Don’t forget to visit the CareerConnect calendar and the interviewing page of our website for details.

Welcome Back! An overview of what’s new at the CCPA

Posted on: September 2, 2014

It’s the beginning of another exciting year at Haverford, and the CCPA has many new and noteworthy updates and events to share related to career development at Haverford. We look forward to hearing about your summers (please fill out the Summer 2014 Survey if you haven’t already) and helping you make connections between majors and careers; connect with networking, internship, and job opportunities; prepare for graduate and professional school; and strengthen your resumes, cover letters, and interview skills so you present yourself as the strongest applicant you can be.

Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 7.18.00 AM

 

Here a few CCPA updates and upcoming events for 2014-2015:

Continue reading

A Guide to Internships in the Arts

Posted on: August 19, 2014

Thank you to guest blogger Sarah Wolberg who discusses
landing and capitalizing on internships in the visual arts!

This week, I’ll finish up my two internships in Denver: as the education intern for the Petrie Institute of Western American Art at the Denver Art Museum and as the collections intern for the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art. Both experiences have been fantastic introductions to the museum world, which has become increasingly hard to enter. There are more art history majors than there are museum jobs, and museums have their pick of applicants with master’s degrees and PhDs for even entry-level positions. It’s never been more important to network and gain experience through internships.

Getting the internship Don’t be afraid to apply for an internship that doesn’t exist. When I first worked at the Kirkland Museum the summer after my sophomore year, there was no formal internship program. I just emailed the Kirkland’s coordinator of volunteers with my resume and a cover letter asking if they had any research or other tasks I could do. They took me on as a research intern, and it was such a great experience that I came back this
summer. Galleries and small museums don’t always have internship programs, but a lot of them are willing to take you on for a summer if you can prove that you’ll be a help, not a hindrance.

Look for art internships in unexpected places. A lot of art history majors think of museums first when they’re looking for internships, but there are so many other paths to consider. I’ve also interned at an arts education organization and at a commercial gallery.  Arts organizations and galleries are growing, even while some museums are shrinking, so they often have more internship opportunities. Diversifying your experience can also help
you get hired in the fields of museum work that are growing: development, multimedia, and education.

Take advantage of your location. While spending this past year studying in Paris, I interned at a bronze sculpture gallery, thanks to a contact made through my study abroad program. If you study abroad, see if you can intern with an arts organization or museum, or even if you can just shadow someone in your field for a day or have an informational interview. It’s a great opportunity to broaden your network and improve your language
skills. Take advantage of the lesser workload you’ll have while abroad so that you can further your career goals.

You’ve got the internship; now what? Socialize! While I was interning at the gallery in Paris, my coworkers asked me every morning if I wanted to come have an espresso. I turned them down the first few times, thinking that I wouldn’t have anything to say. Pretty soon, I realized that the espresso breaks were one of the few opportunities I had to chat more casually with my coworkers. From then on, I made sure to take all the chances I could to hang out with my coworkers and get to know them on a personal level. It doesn’t seem like an intern’s job to socialize, but it’s good to connect with your coworkers so they see you as more than just “the intern.”

Once you’re done

Ask for a letter of recommendation. I’ve asked my last few supervisors for a reference letter before I completed my internship. If you ask for a letter early, it’s easier for your supervisor to remember the projects you were involved with.

Pay it forward. Once you’ve moved on to a different internship, or graduated, it’s easy to forget about the place you worked last summer or the summer before. But staying in touch keeps you up-to-date with your former supervisors. If you know someone who you think would be a great fit for your former internship, recommend him to your supervisor. This is a great way to strengthen your network and support your former organization.

DONE. Now what?

Posted on: August 8, 2014

This is the final summer blog post from Grace Mangigian,
a people operations and marketing intern at
PeopleLinx, a start-up located in Philadelphia.
Thank you, Grace, for your wonderful insight
and sharing your summer experiences!

I finished my internship a week ago. So now what? Well, if you were funded through the college, make sure to fill out any required forms, like a write-up of your experience, etc. But even before you get to this, there are a few things you should remember.

whiteheadMeeting Mr. Whitehead was definitely one of the highlights of my summer!

 

Write thank you notes: While the experience is still fresh on your mind, send those people who helped you handwritten thank you notes. For me, I worked closely with the HR director and the marketing team. It’s not necessary to thank everyone, but be sure to acknowledge the important people. They will be left with a positive impression of you, and you never know if you will need a recommendation letter down the line. It is also worthwhile to email thank you notes to people who wrote recommendation letters for you, or helped you secure funding.

Update your LinkedIn: Before you forget all the impressive projects you worked on, update your LinkedIn profile with your recent experience. If you haven’t connected with people from work yet, this would be a good time for that as well.

Stay in touch with mentors: Stay in contact with the connections you made and the company. If you hear of any developments within the organization, don’t hesitate to reach out and say congratulations. They will appreciate your continued interest. The general rule I’ve heard is to connect back with past supervisors at least every 6 months.

Relax: Make sure to take some time for you. Lay outside, sleep in till 11am, and catch up on your Netflix shows. Before you head off to classes, customs week, or going abroad, you should take advantage of the extra downtime. Make sure to reflect on all the fun experiences you had and the great people you met!