Woody Internship – Taft Museum of Art – Blog 8

First of all, sorry for the delay in blog posts. As it turns out, one needs a break after moving out of one’s apartment and driving from Ohio to Delaware. That said, I’m back, and there are still a few posts left in this series.

This week, I’m going to compare my freshman and sophomore summers. I’m fortunate to have had two summer internships through William & Mary programs, so I can talk about what it’s like to study and work in D.C. through the Washington Center versus working in Cincinnati as a Woody Intern.

I spent last summer in Washington, D.C. in the DC Summer Institute (DCSI) in News & Media. The News & Media course was taught by Professor Tim Barnard and included two weeks of classes followed by a ten-week internship. Those two weeks were a fairly even mix of class discussion at the Washington Center and site visits to media organizations throughout the city. After the course ended, I worked as a marketing intern at the 9:30 Club and I.M.P., an independent music venue and concert production/promotion company. Throughout the summer, I also worked on assignments for the News & Media course; we had one group project (for which my group made a radio play) and a series of blog posts about our internships and experiences in the city. 

A picture of my DCSI class on our site visit to PBS last summer. I'm the one in the blazer and dress growing out an ill-advised hair cut.

A picture of my DCSI class on our site visit to PBS last summer. I’m the one in the blazer and dress growing out an ill-advised hair cut.

This summer, as you know, I was a Woody intern at the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati. Quite a bit different. These are the major differences:

  1. Program duration: DCSI is longer than the Woody Internship by two weeks. Both internships are the same length (ten weeks), but DCSI includes two weeks of classes at the start and some class projects throughout the summer.
  2. Internship field(s): DCSI is comprised of three institutes: American Politics, Leadership & Community Engagement, and News & Media. Students study in one of the three institutes and find internships related to their field of study. Within the News & Media Institute, we had students at government agencies (NEA), nonprofits (Jane Goodall Institute), media organizations (NPR and C-SPAN), and publications (Edible DC), among others. DCSI is a good program for students who know they want to study and intern in DC, but want a broad selection of internship options. By contrast, the Woody Internship is specific to museum studies. It’s good if you know you want to be the museum field but you are open to studying in another city and/or state.
  3. Pay: there is no guarantee that a DCSI internship will be paid. For example, my internship at 9:30/I.M.P. was unpaid. By contrast, the Woody Internship comes with a $3,000 stipend for the summer.
  4. Living accommodations: as a student in DCSI, you have the option to live in William & Mary-organized housing at one of three sites in D.C. In this housing arrangement, you’ll share an apartment with W&M students. I lived with three other girls from DCSI; two of them were in the American Politics Institute and the other in Leadership & Community Engagement. By contrast, the Woody Internship does not provide housing, but the stipend subsidizes the cost of accommodations. Additionally, one’s internship site will probably have advice about good, affordable places to live in the area.

All things considered, I’m glad I took the path I did for internships. The way I see it, last summer was a small step into the working world. DCSI is excellent at guiding you through the summer: the wonderful Washington Center staff help you with the application process and provide an orientation to D.C. Also, spending two weeks in intense study (and running around the city) with fellow students creates a built-in network of friends for the remainder of the program. Of course, if you live in DCSI housing, you also benefit from living with fellow W&M students. For me, DCSI was a great way to work in a new field (the live music industry) while living in a familiar city with familiar people. 

My experience as a Woody intern was a bigger (and more intimidating) step into the ‘real world.’ Of course, William & Mary supported me along the way, but they were less involved than in DCSI. As I said, I arranged housing on my own and lived with someone I didn’t know before. Actually, when I arrived in Ohio, the only person I knew in Cincinnati was my supervisor, who I had spoken to on the phone once. 

Additionally, there were other differences due to the format of my internships. At the 9:30 Club and I.M.P., I worked with a team of twelve other interns. At the Taft, I was the only intern. At 9:30 and I.M.P., my tasks were primarily short-term and closely supervised by the marketing team. At the Taft, I had one major project for the entire summer, and was given significant freedom to decide its direction and format. Of course, these differences are very specific to my two internships. Other students in DCSI and the Woody program have different experiences. 

For further reading and more in-depth discussion of DCSI, I blogged about my experience last summer on the William & Mary Blogs. If you are considering William & Mary internship programs and have questions, feel free to drop a comment below. I’ve had great experiences with internships in my time in college, and I’m always up for a chat.