While students have proved adaptable throughout COVID, learning & working remotely ‘behind the screens,’ this summer’s Applebaum Internship Program was revitalizing – a renaissance experience being back together in person. As the program has continued to evolve and our community partnerships have grown, we are thrilled to share a summary of the Applebaum Internship Program Summer 2022. The success of this summer’s program was due to great leadership, collaborative partnership, diverse experience, professional development programing, and a dedicated cohort of amazing students.
The Applebaum Internship Program [AIP] is a six-week, paid internship program for students enrolled at a college or university in Michigan. Students have first-hand experience working at designated local nonprofit and cultural arts partner organizations, while building a cohort and taking part in professional leadership development training programs.
Guided by great leadership
The commitment from this year’s seven host organization partners including College of Creative Studies, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Historical Society, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Wayne State University Art Collection, and the Detroit Zoological Society, was essential to this summer’s success. In partnership with these organizations and their outstanding professional staff who acted as intern supervisors, the students received attentive professional training, dynamic project experience, and valuable programming. From the very initial kick-off meeting, program supervisors were deeply engaged and focused on making meaningful connections based on what the students were interested in doing this summer and in helping to advance their professional development for their career beyond.
“Working with the program’s professional supervisors allowed me to gain more insight on what it takes to get to a point where you are happy and successful in your career.”
– Kirah Price (Intern, DIA)
Embraced shared learning
While some programs divide cohorts by department or work capacity, we find value in students sharing the variety of their experience. The Applebaum Internship Program is intentionally designed to expose students to the nonprofit industry, as well deepen their understanding of the variety of career opportunities within the sector. Internships as part of this summer’s program included positions in development & fundraising, strategic marketing, human resources, as well as community engagement. The students learned from their direct role at their host organization and had the opportunity to reflect on their responsibilities and experience as a group. By the end of their six-week program not only did students gain a perspective on the position they worked in, but also on the other capacities in which their cohort had worked in as well.
“I was able to absorb the lessons my fellow interns learned in their own work through their stories of their experiences.” – Michelle Finley (Intern, DHS)
Strengthened professional development
A focus of the Applebaum Internship Program is to enhance student work experience with professional development training opportunities. This summer’s cohort had the opportunity to engage with industry leaders through a roundtable exercise. Industry professionals including Sharri Watkins from Motown Museum, Rebecca Salminen-Witt from the Detroit Historical Society, and Alex Kapordelis from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, led intimate discussion groups, focused on providing candid insight to their professional journey and how their current roles play a part in their organization’s mission. The event provided students unique access to a variety of leadership and valuable networking practice.
“[The leadership roundtable event] was a really great way to get inspired, network with leaders, and learn a little bit about someone who may be in a career you are aspiring to have in the future. It provided a great opportunity for networking and conversations for the interns to connect with each other as well.” – Emma Peak (Intern, DZS)
Cultivated cohort experience
Beyond the experience shared by attending events at local organizations like BasBlue, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the cohort connection built through in-person events is what made this summer feel exceptional. Students from the College of Creative Studies, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State, University of Michigan, and Wayne State University shared learning and developed their professional skills. With such a variety of skills, interests, and ambitions, they now have a valuable peer network to support their journey as they head back to school or onto their next leadership endeavor.
While Zoom kept us together when we could not be physically, we are grateful to have had this renaissance summer of the Applebaum Internship Program. The energy & enthusiasm was unparalleled from this group of students and supervisors. We thank them all for their commitment to the program.