By Abby Weingarten
Representing the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO), two staff members spotlighted New College at the Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA) national conference this week.
CEO Director Dwayne Peterson and Assistant Director/Career Coach Madeline Tympanick gave a presentation about New College’s innovative Mellon II-funded Sarasota-Manatee Arts & Humanities (SMAH) Internship Program. Their 35-minute talk was entitled “Arts & Humanities Internships: Increasing Equity and Access in Changing Times.”
“It’s a major accomplishment to have New College recognized nationally within this professional community,” Peterson said. “It’s great national exposure for Sarasota, Mellon and New College.”
Held from April 19 to 21, the CEIA conference was a virtual event featuring a keynote speech by Lindsey Pollak, New York Times bestselling author and leading career expert; several networking opportunities and award ceremonies; and more than 50 presentations about various topics related to internships and education.
“In our presentation, we talked about how the SMAH program intentionally addresses the career barriers facing students studying or interested in careers in arts and humanities; the importance of internships as a predictor of early career outcomes; and how funding community-driven projects better aligns community needs with our institution,” Peterson said, adding that Tympanick coordinates New College’s program. “Community organizations are invited to propose and assist in the design of projects that not only contribute to student learning but also consider their needs and priorities (which is a better model than simply imposing our resources onto the community).”
Funded by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant and private donors, the for-credit SMAH program invites students to apply for multiple internships in the bi-county region—in fields such as education, youth outreach, fine art, theatre, social media, video production and web development. The internships are also paid and highly inclusive—a point Peterson and Tympanick made sure to make in their talk.
“Unpaid internships are very common in the arts. And female, Black, Hispanic/Latino and first-generation students all appear to hold a disproportionate number of unpaid internships,” Peterson said. “Unpaid internships can be exploitative and decrease student interest in pursuing internships (despite the research that says internships can be differentiating and predictive of early career outcomes).”
The SMAH program uniquely aims to make sure both the students and the local community benefit from a positive, collaborative internship experience.
“It’s interesting that the arts/cultural industry is a significant generator of economic activity for Sarasota-Manatee, but with about 85 percent of our students not being from this area, there’s a gap in connecting our students to this industry that could be a rich learning environment for them,” Peterson said. “SMAH’s unique approach helps to close that gap and then, through our students’ work, our institution is actively involved in generating economic activity by expanding arts organizations’ labor market capacities.”
It is, by no means, a typical internship formula. But it is a model that is deserving of exposure, Peterson and Tympanick said.
“It’s really exciting to be presenting this program as a model for other institutions and practitioners,” Tympanick said. “We had someone approach us from another small, liberal arts college who said they were encouraged by our presentation and hope to implement a similar program for their students.”
For more information on the CEO at New College, visit ncf.edu/ceo.
The request for proposals is currently open for nonprofits in Sarasota and Manatee counties interested in receiving funding for internship projects related to the arts or humanities for Fall 2021 or Spring 2022. For more information, visit ncf.edu/ceo/internships.
Abby Weingarten is the senior editor in the Office of Communications & Marketing.