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Liz Walker

English & Professional Writing

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis 

As I am entering my senior year, I really wanted my summer internship to help give me clarity on my future. I have some ideas of what I want to do, but it hasn't really been solidified yet. I was hoping my summer would change that and potentially give me some focus. My internship at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis has done just that! At the museum, I was given a mentor whose job was to guide me through my internship and make sure it was a positive experience for me. Stacey, my mentor, has done just that. I couldn't have asked for a better mentor. She has given me plenty of projects in my department (marketing) so I am kept very busy most of the time. But she has also taken my experience and interests into account and has set-up plenty of meetings and shadowing opportunities around the museum in other departments so I could get a taste of what other jobs entail. At the end of the summer, I will have worked with an array of different people and gained experience from many departments all within my area of expertise. Stacey as my mentor and The Children's Museum of Indianapolis have both helped give me the clarity I needed through the experiences they have offered.

My professional writing degree has helped me immensely in this internship. For my overarching work at the museum, I am conducting research and preparing a marketing strategy for a new program they are working on. For me, this looks like researching, organizing, brainstorming, and implementing ideas, all things I do in my professional writing classes. In my computer-aided publishing class, I learned how to conduct environmental scans and write extensive recommendation reports, which are both huge components of my job here. In addition, I have been given the opportunity to write an article for Indy Child which will (hopefully!) be published in the fall for the museum, so my English and writing background has helped very much. There is also a design element to my job, which I learn about in my courses as well. The logical and quick thinking I learn through my degree will help me no matter where I go, but the design, research, testing, and communication portions of my degree are what help me in this field the most.

For me, there is no "typical" day. That's what is so fun about working for the Children's Museum of Indianapolis! I know the things I need to accomplish for the day, whether that be gathering data for a competitive report or calling different organizations to ask if we can partner with them for promotion. I make my own schedule and set my own pace for my projects- I am given one deadline that I must reach, but how I get there is up to me. Because of this, days can vary. There is an "Intern Central" - a room where all the interns computers are, and where we all work and hang out. There are 14 other interns, and we all get along wonderfully. This is why my days are so fun! The museum encourages exploration and adventure, so on a normal day I never know what is going to happen. If I get stressed out, no worries- I can take a break and ride a carousel or play mini golf. I have an hour free on my schedule? Great! I can go catch a performance at the Lilly Theater or go learn kung-fu in the China exhibit. Every day during lunch the interns go walk outside to warm up and get fresh air- there is a huge sports experience outside the museum that has a track and lots of other games to play. The most challenging aspect of my internship is time management. I was given around ten projects at the beginning of the summer and I must keep myself on track and make sure that I am working consistently and diligently on all of them. The most exciting thing about my role is the networking that I have done and the wonderful work environment I am in. The museum is a women-dominated workplace, which I have never experienced so it is cool to see how that impacts the work and how everyone interacts. The museum also is very serious about good training, so I do weekly training sessions about different parts of professional and personal development. This makes the museum culture very people-oriented. I also love the marketing team and learning about what each person is responsible for. This workplace is unlike any that I have been in, and it has been a very positive experience. I think I was most surprised by how prepared I felt for this internship. I study English, so sometimes thinking outside the box to find jobs to apply for is difficult. When I was applying for internships this summer, I applied to anything and everything, hoping that my skills fit in some way. So when I was offered a marketing position, I was definitely nervous. I did not have a lot of information about what I would be doing or working on, and I was scared I did not have enough experience or knowledge to do well. But once I started working, I realized I had a good understanding of how to do my job and that I was very well prepared by my coursework and other job experience. Everyone here asks me if I am studying marketing at Krannert, and they're always surprised to here me reply "no" and inform them about liberal arts. I feel so encouraged that I have such strong skills from my studies and I am feeling optimistic about the future. I am a people person, so the people really can make or break the internship for me. I am surrounded by some wonderful interns and professionals at the museum who are very kind and willing to help give me a great experience. It has been very encouraging to be in this workplace, and that is something I will try to apply to any job I have in the future. I will remember this internship fondly for years to come.