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Katie Priest is a senior majoring in studio art and visual arts with a dual discipline in pre-art therapy. She is a member of the Art Alliance and Alpha Lambda Epsilon, and she is a fellow of the President’s Leadership Institute. Katie writes posts about her life as an OC student and how she represents Olivet College wherever she goes.

Happy fall, Olivet! It is crazy that school has been in session for a while now and that midterms just happened! At times, I find myself thinking about how I spent my summer. I took it upon myself to interview for an internship with the organization Artists Creating Together (ACT) this past April. Within a few weeks, I learned that they were offering the position of art and education programming intern for the summer! I was beyond excited for this internship because I have volunteered with this organization since I was a junior in high school.

For those who do not know about ACT, it is a nonprofit organization that aims to help people with cognitive or physical disabilities to learn, grow and celebrate through the arts. They offer a multitude of different classes and programs that people can participate in! My supervisor is the program coordinator for ACT, and she was awesome to work with and learn from.

My role as the art and education programming intern included:

  • Attend a weekly veteran’s drumming and visual arts class.
  • Prep for the Art of Gardening class weekly and update any documents pertaining to the course (ex. update the student list or the information sheet).
  • Attend the Metro Hospital Assisted Breathing Center’s weekly visual arts class.
  • Assist in planning events for the summer, including Pine Grove Festival Day and Grand Rapids Children’s Museum World Wide Day of Play.
  • Brainstorming, creating and prepping projects for summer events.
  • Teaching classes.

In addition to these tasks, I sat in on meetings with ACT staff, attended several ACT-hosted events, and learned more about the responsibilities of working with a nonprofit.

Throughout my internship, my supervisor and I talked frequently about the goals that I had set for myself. There was no limit as to how many goals an intern had to have, but having a few was encouraged! My first goal was to understand the behind the scenes aspects in planning events and programs. This included tasks such as communicating with others and how early to start planning. I was able to achieve this goal by having a large part in the Art of Gardening class, creating/planning Pine Grove Festival Day, and working with regular scheduling and reminders.

My second goal was to understand how to better communicate with different age groups and abilities. This goal was significant to me and a large part of my experience that I wanted to acquire there. Before this internship, I have mainly worked with children and teenagers and had not worked with people with disabilities. Throughout my time with ACT, I worked with people with different backgrounds and disabilities. I was able to achieve this goal by attending a variety of programs and applying visual, audio and kinesthetic directions to help students. I kept a document containing information about my experience with different students, as well.

Lastly, my third goal was to aid in any art projects and to donate a piece to ACT’s auction. My favorite part about this internship was learning how a nonprofit operates and participating in so many programs! My favorite program was the one with Metro Hospital. My hope is to volunteer next summer for that program and see those patients again. I spent so much time with participants of these programs that it was very hard to leave.

Having at least one internship in college is incredibly beneficial! It helps you get an idea of what working a job will be like. It also helps you define your career goals and to adjust them as needed! College is about discovering yourself and what you want to do — so if that change is for the better, then go for it.

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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