Emily Bevacqua '21
How did you find your internship?
At the start of my junior year, I nervously walked into the HFA Internship Fair. I glanced around for a company that looked appealing; my coworker suggested I approach a random table to get the jitters to go away. My goal was to sound confident for the publishers I wanted to impress, not like a nervous mess. I chose the table for Springfield Museums, because it was filled with Dr. Seuss SWAG. After a brief conversation, I moved on and looked for the publishing organizations I researched, but did not find any of them. Then, I approached Lisa Blacher and told her my dilemma. She suggested I go looking for an opportunity that fit me; I should tell the companies what I’m interested in and see if they have anything that may work. I went back to the Springfield Museums table and told them my career goals in publishing. Jenny, the museum’s Family Engagement Coordinator, and I sparked a long conversation about literacy in Springfield. By the end of our talk, I had an interview for the following Thursday.
What were some of your internship responsibilities? What stood out to you about the work you were doing?
For the first month and a half, I attended meetings and networking events revolved around literacy. The people and organizations I met showed me the importance of a community, meaning teachers, museum staff, librarians, doctors, and parents. All of these people have to work together in order to help spread literacy among children. Communication is key; without it, resources may not get to the children who need them. One thought I had, and hope will occur more often, is the inclusion of local authors in this process. I believe authors and illustrators are inspiring to children if they know that authors were once like them. I could imagine they would love to read and write more if they knew that a writing or artistic career is something they could achieve. This is why for my main project, I organized an author event. Author April Prince Jones was to come to the museum and interact with the visitors by reading her book 101 Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles and facilitating an activity with them. There would be a guessing game and book giveaways, too. Although I didn’t get to see this event happen due to COVID-19, I did get to lead my own meeting and communicate with my first author, which is something I will never forget.
How else did the transition to “remote interning” influence your experience?
Jenny was very flexible and provided me with projects to fill my time. I researched three things: tips for creating a successful author event, authors that could visit the museums, and new themes and literacy activities to bring to Saturday Family Fun Days. After researching, I organized the new information into documents and made them presentable for the museum beyond just Jenny. I also did smaller projects that Jenny requested like looking into how other museums have adjusted online since COVID. Although being at home was a huge setback, it highlighted my analytical skills, my research abilities, my own passion for the subject, and my eagerness to learn something new. I became responsible for what I would gain from the experience and I am very proud of myself for making the most of a hard situation.
What skills did you develop during your internship? Did it teach you anything new about yourself or your career prospects?
My internship has strengthened so many of my skills: organization, communication, and analytical being the most pertinent. I made so many great memories at the museum even though we weren’t always doing the most exciting things (like when we sharpened 1,000 pencils). The most noteworthy revelation I’ve had was noticing how every Tuesday and Thursday, I woke up excited to go to Springfield. I knew that I would be spending the day with a great supervisor and completing a task that would be useful to the community. This was the most significant thing about working there; I loved every day despite it being busy or not. I loved the people I worked with, the work we were doing, and the feeling of accomplishment when we saw a project through. It all felt important every day whether the task was minor or large. When I think of my future career, this is the feeling I want. I want to feel as though every day matters and no task too is small.
Any last thoughts about your internship?
Overall, my time at Springfield Museums has shown me that being a publisher isn’t enough for a career. I still want to publish stories that inspire children to read, but I also want to get those stories physically into their hands. Whether I achieve this by encouraging my authors to meet children in low-income communities and offer free copies of their books, or through working for a company that is focused more on the distribution of books to low-income communities, it doesn’t matter to me. I just know the work I did at the museum will not end with this internship.