21:09 PM

Student gets internship 'just by going to class,' says UHCL offers 'great networking opportunities'

Written by: Katherine Adams

Just having a college diploma is no longer enough to land that all-important job offer. Relevant work experience is now considered equally valued as any exam results or university diploma when it comes to laying the foundation for a successful career. That’s why the Office of Strategic Partnerships at University of Houston-Clear Lake has created so many community partnerships for students to receive practical, real-world experiences that will add the skills and networking opportunities that make prospective employers take notice.

Galveston County Museum Director Jodi Wright-Gidley said that the museum’s two-year partnership with UHCL interns has been an excellent experience, both for the students and for the museum.

“We currently have three UHCL students interning with us; two who are minoring in museum studies, and one who’s majoring in marketing,” she said. “And besides the internships, we have worked with (Professor of Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Studies) Maria Curtis and (Associate Professor of Communication) Anna Klyueva on two projects. Our association with UHCL  is very close and we love having UHCL students around because they are so enthusiastic.”

Wright-Gidley said that recently, Curtis’s students had taken on a research and pre-exhibit project in which they took an artifact list, researched them to build a storyline outline about potential exhibit topics, and researched and presented what an exhibit on that topic could look like.

“With Dr. Klyueva’s communication class, they took us on as a marketing client and developed a marketing  and social media plan with targeted, designed graphics,” she said. “Her class did a promotional video, and worked on our website and social media.”

She added that working in a museum has a lot of behind-the-scenes work to do besides what the public sees. “We have a great deal in storage,” she said. “About 70% of what the museum has is in storage, and we have to rotate exhibits. We work with a lot of artifacts, cataloguing them, researching their history, writing, and creating new exhibits. That’s the behind-the-scenes work that the students are learning about here.”

Alexandria O’Brien is working toward her Master of Arts in Digital Media Studies and is currently among the UHCL interns at the Galveston County Museum.

“I’m the first intern they’ve had who’s specifically working in marketing, website management, creating e-newsletters, e-blasts, blog posts and monthly press releases,” she said. “I have my undergraduate degree in graphic design, and these are the skills I wanted to acquire. I’m working on different designs for the museum’s social media page, using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Adobe Fresco, and Canva. Those are the courses I took in graduate school for graphic design, and it’s really cool to be using them.”

O’Brien said she was a student in Dr. Klyueva’s communication class when the museum was its marketing client. “Our class did what I’m now doing,” she said. “That is how I was introduced to Jodi, and when internship opportunities came out I applied. I wanted to put my education to the test and be her intern, and continue what we started in class.”

 She said she didn’t realize she’d get an internship just by going to class. “I want to let future students know, these clients you meet in your class can end up being so much more,” she said. “When I go out in to the job force, I will have real skills and progress to show. It will be nice to show people exactly what I did on social media, the website, and blog posts; working on multiple fronts. I’ve got a lot of things to show to an employer.”

Leslie Lenio and Karalyn Clark are also UHCL student interns at the Galveston County Museum, both working in museum collections. Kim Barringer, a UHCL alumna, also interned at the museum and is now employed full time as museum assistant.

The Office of Strategic Partnerships at UHCL has many opportunities for students to find out more about internships. For more information, visit www.uhcl.edu/strategic-partnerships/