The Center for the Performing Arts
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Janel Lee

Major: English
Hometown: Monaca, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

A teacher of mine invited me to a dinner to meet a poet visiting Penn State for readings and class visits. At the dinner were a few other English majors, my teacher, the poet, and a woman in the English department that helps English majors acquire internships (Elizabeth Jenkins). Because the dinner was small and intimate, the attention passed to each student. When it came my turn, and I admitted I didn't know what I wanted to do, nor had any internships lined up, Elizabeth Jenkins volunteered to help me find an internship. So we set up a time to meet, spoke about my interests, and found an opportunity I might be interested in. I applied and acquired the internship this way.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I helped Medora Ebersole and Melissa Croushorn create Google Documents and various other paperwork. I attended and helped ArtOut on Mondays from 4pm-5pm where I was able to participate in the activities Melissa had. Some ArtOut sessions I enjoyed were beginners' swing dance, an instrument petting zoo where I tried out a violin and a saxophone, a writer's workshop where I had the privilege of interacting with experienced playwrights and theatre people, and an open mic time where I met and spoke with an Asian American with an interesting story. I also attended Sphinx Virtuosi's Welcome Dinner where President Barron spoke and introduced the "All In" initiative for the first time, and there, listened to Essence of Joy perform and have a sample of Sphinx Virtuosi’s performance for that coming week.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted me academically through developing my interpersonal skills. Since I participated in events where I had to interact with many strangers, I learned how to show warmth, friendliness, and other welcoming habits on my feet. This helped me academically through improvising in the moment with confidence. I was also encouraged outside of my comfort zone through participating in Melissa Croushorn’s ArtOut activities. Through this, I learned more about writing, instruments, and other art forms, which gave me new curiosity towards different areas of art I hadn’t considered before. These ArtOut times also helped me de-stress, which improved my work ethic and motivation.

"This helped me academically through improvising in the moment with confidence."

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I do not have a set career goal or plan though I have multiple avenues that I feel I can work in in the future. I’m interested in Christian ministry, writing stories and poetry, drawing and painting, and farming. This internship touched on my interactive skills, showing me how I act around strangers and those I am meant to welcome. I learned my need to grow in confidence, especially when interacting with peoples I don’t know, and that there is always a level of awkward that a person must accept in social interactions. This is something I will know and have with me for the rest of my life.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students if they were interested in behind-the-scenes activity for a theater and performing arts center. If they enjoy organizational activities and appreciate interacting with coordinators and artists, this is a good internship for them.

For more information on internship opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website. 
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