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The CEO staff
The CEO staff

By Abby Weingarten

Because New College is situated in a culturally vibrant area, students can pursue paid arts-based learning experiences outside of the classroom.

To build on this local advantage, the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO) is helping leverage an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to offer the Sarasota-Manatee Arts & Humanities (SMAH) Internship Program to Novo Collegians this fall. The for-credit program invites students to apply for seven internships in the bi-county region—in fields such as education, youth outreach, fine art, theatre, social media, video production and web development.

“This is the first time anything like this has been offered at New College,” said Madeline Heath Tympanick, the CEO’s assistant director who launched the program. “What’s really cool is that this program is completely driven by internship projects submitted by community organizations, and then reviewed and selected by a committee of faculty and CEO staff. This program is an exemplary model for best practices in community engagement through internships.”

By utilizing the program’s resources, students can gain hands-on experience, test out career interests and make professional connections for post-graduation success. Applications are due by June 30 and can be submitted via Handshake, and the CEO is open all summer to assist students with the process.

The internships currently offered (available virtually, if necessary) include: an education and theatre intern with the School District of Manatee County; a video production and media intern with Community Video Archives; an art program intern with Aviva: A Campus for Senior Life; a social media and web development intern with the Florida Center for Partnerships in Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT); a Goals, Progress, Success (GPS) intern with Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County; a Critical Times news intern with WSLR+Fogartyville; and a marketing and communications intern with Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County.

Hired students will be expected to register the selected internships for academic credit during the fall. Interns will then reflect on their learning experience by completing a short final report (three to five pages) and a final presentation (up to 10 minutes), which can be incorporated into the assignments given by the New College faculty sponsor.

Both students and area organizations benefit greatly from the SMAH partnership, which would not have been possible without Mellon grant funding.

“This mutually beneficial program focuses on nonprofit organizations that often do not have the funds to pay for interns, which can deter them from having interns and/or make these opportunities less accessible to students with financial need if they are unpaid,” Tympanick said. “The grant allows us to fund the organizations in order to pay the interns for their work, while the interns will also be able to enhance their skills, make connections and test out careers of interest.”

Bill Woodson, Ph.D. (New College’s dean of outreach and engagement, and chief diversity and inclusion officer), oversees the Mellon grant funding, and believes a program like this will greatly enhance New College’s relationship with the surrounding community.

“I think every public institution has an obligation and opportunity to serve the community it is a part of. It enriches the student experiences and justifies the public funds that go into helping a college operate,” Woodson said. “Also, we are one of the most dynamic arts communities of our size. We have an amazingly rich range of arts organizations and nonprofits and, for students who want to get some practical experience while engaged in things that speak to their interests, it’s fantastic.”

Abby Weingarten is the editor/writer in the Office of Communications & Marketing.