A couple of weeks ago, I flipped the page of my calendar at the start of the new month: August. The month of DC’s most notoriously swampy weather, the month I’ll spend awaiting my final semester at Michigan State University, and the month I’ll be ending my summer internship with the Smithsonian Associates and my time in this city. It seemed as though I had just unpacked my three-month supply of clothes and pinned photos and keepsakes to the walls. I finally considered myself a certified WMATA user, and there were even a few occasions where I was asked, “Do you know where ____ is?” and I could respond confidently with “YES!” I couldn’t believe it was almost time for me to hand in m
y shiny Smithsonian Intern badge, revoking my privilege to cut the line of hundreds of kids in matching, neon summer camp shirts awaiting peeks at Dorothy’s slippers and Tony Hawk’s skateboard.
This is my last week as the social media intern for the Smithsonian Associates, and it’s been an incredible summer. From photographing Smithsonian Summer Campers (#CAMPatSI, if you’re a loyal follower) at trips to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the National Arboretum to attending lectures hosted by Bones producer Kathy Reichs (#BONESatSI) and health expert Dr. John Whyte (#WackyHealthSI), every day has been a new experience.
The great thing about working for the Smithsonian Associates is the wide range of programs offered—I never got bored. I was able to research and write about programs spanning history, science, pop culture, culinary arts and more. I got my first taste of Peruvian food at the #SMITHSONIANat8 event, Chicha! A Peruvian Dance Party, from the El Fuego food truck and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I learned about the science behind cheese-making at the two part program, Say Cheese! (#SayCheeseSI), and watched a delicious halloumi-style cheese come together before my eyes with a lively audience. Moments after writing this, I’m getting the opportunity to live-tweet the first #Hirshhour: a weekly happy hour at Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Could there be a classier send-off celebration?
DC has been a wonderful place to be in its own right. There are free events going on every weekend, I’ve gotten to hit iconic eateries like Ben’s Chili Bowl and Oohh’s and Aahh’s, I’ve shared pitchers of sangria with new friends at Jazz in the Garden, and have met other ambitious interns who work for the Library of Congress, NPR, and the National Organization for Women. I even made time to hop on a bus for a weekend trip to Philadelphia, something that had never been an option (at least so spontaneously) living in the Midwest.
Aside from the priceless life experiences I’ve gained in this city, the professional skills I’ve acquired at the Smithsonian Associates will certainly propel me forward in my first “big girl” job search come autumn. Managing six social media accounts along with a blog has allowed me to get comfortable cycling between different voices and tones geared toward a general audience (Smithsonian Associates), an audience of families with young children (Discovery Theater), and, the most natural for me, an audience of young adults (SMITHSONIAN at 8). Writing blog posts gave
me a chance to do more intensive research on event topics and tell the stories behind them. I even have a few pieces of design work that I’ll be proud to add to my portfolio—it’s been a lot of fun playing around with typography and color schemes to create visually appealing graphics for our social media pages. I’m leaving this position satisfied with the things I’ve learned and eager to take on more responsibility at a full-time position.
Up next for me is a trip to sunny Los Angeles, two final college courses during a beautiful Michigan fall, and a (likely tearful) graduation ceremony in December. I’d be lying if I told you I knew my plans beyond that.
Thanks for following along with the Smithsonian Associates, it’s been a great summer!