Heather lights up the room. She walks into the space and it becomes naturally brighter. It’s impossible not to notice her confidence. With eyes firm on the horizon, she’s already taking the steps for propelling her promising career in a new direction. In short, Heather knows where she’s going.

She hadn’t quite nailed down her professional vision when she began working with us. She understood and embraced her love of history, and was working diligently in school to pursue that passion, but a clear pathway proved elusive.

Her museum internship helped her choose that path. She’ll work at a small museum, just like this one. She was impressed how directly we can impact the community and wants to do the same. Watching Heather go from cautious and quiet to an assertive, expressive, goal driven talent is a great example of why we take our intern program very seriously. I think of it as building a launch pad. Heather is one of the rocket-ships we’ve sent on their way.

Clarissa had just finished her undergrad when she applied to intern with us. Uncertain where life would take her next, she figured the museum would be a decent stopover to get her feet wet with a little research. Damp feet are fine, but we tossed her in the deep end instead. Smart, thoughtful, insightful, and with an intense ability to focus, we could already see she had the skills to do great work. She just needed the chance, the tools; the platform.

Clarissa catalogued, re-created archive file organization, researched a brand new exhibit, and then stepped up to help with media and events. Another rocket-ship, she launched from here into a full time library gig and beginning her graduate studies.

Brandan stopped in to visit recently, with her usual giant smile and infectious positive spirit. Her summer internship with us opened the doors for her to reimagine her own career, moving from a teaching profession into museum work. She’s now working full time as a museum educator and never looking back.

We’ve reimagined, redesigned our intern program to offer a solid platform for aspiring professionals to experience a few very important things; real work, real deadlines, and the flexibility to make or break your own way. It works.

It works because it was created by a rocket-ship; an amazing intern that stayed. A rocket-ship that, thankfully, chose to set her talent and energy aflame right here.

Kasey Zronek walked into our door in 2015 wanting to intern. We had nothing posted. We had nothing available, but we liked her pluck and gave her a shot. She had a Masters degree and good job experience, but still hadn’t found a platform on which to truly develop her talent. We set her up with an oral history research project.

A year later, she became the Director of Education.

Kasey knows how important this opportunity was for her, and is dedicated to offering that same real world experience and opportunity for others. She knows how a great internship can be a career game-changer.

Our summer intern team has created no less than four different education programs that we will implement this fall. They’ve also re-created our popular Ghost Walk tour and established several key elements of our visitor experience that have immediately become standard practice. They’ve also helped design a host of new marketing materials. Where are they going next? Kristin is headed to finishing her PhD. Raleigh has her eyes on law school after she gets her degree. Camille has her sights on archeology. Brianna also continues her undergraduate journey.

Rocket-ships. Every one of them.

They are bright, brilliant, blazes of light when we watch them launch from our little pad. It’s hard to watch them go, sometimes. We’ve worked hard together. We did the long days, the late nights. We ate the cold pizza. We laughed so hard that it hurt. So it’s emotional to watch the Rockets leave. But that’s the point. That’s why we built this platform.

I personally consider it a top priority to continue to develop our intern program to help that talent, that vision, that extraordinary ability launch into the world at full speed.

If one of them lands at your company, at your school, at your organization, hire them. Hire them immediately. Then give them the tools to succeed.

Then, please…please, do us this one favor:

Let them fly.