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Summer Internships with a Twist

September 2020  —  It’s been an unprecedented summer for JazzArts Charlotte with the radical shifting of programs to an online environment and an expansion from monthly to weekly events, albeit online.  Behind the scenes, three summer interns have been a significant resource applying their fresh skill  and valuable skills to this transition.

This summer, Jake Harder, Junior at UNCC, Sydney Brown, Sophomore at UNCC, and Ellie Acheson, graduate of Queens, have been the driving force to our social media, marketing and communications projects.

In addition to these everyday needs, they have each improved our future effectiveness with analyses and process improvements. “Incorporating their energy and perspectives is an incredible benefit.  They really do dramatically expand what we are able to do.”  recognizes Rebecka Nelli, Marketing Director and the interns’ manager.  As a matter of fact, JazzArts Charlotte intern and volunteer support has added 50% more bandwidth to its efforts this past year.  “That’s a dramatic impact to the mission.”

The internship process was in mid-swing when COVID hit, so two of the three have not even met most of the JazzArts Charlotte team in person.  “We interviewed them on Zoom, ensured they had access to what they needed, and have worked with a flexible, team spirit.  They have truly been resilient.” says Rebecka.

All three identified the pandemic situation as a struggle at first.  “If things had been normal, I would have a routine.  Because I’m at home, I’m on my own schedule that I set up,”  says Sydney Brown.  “ I am accountable only for myself and really learned time management.”

“I feel like this internship has helped me learn what I want from my career.“ says Jake Harder.  “Seeing other people be passionate for what they do or enjoy, whether it is music, marketing, or finance.  It has helped me get a better perspective on where my motivations are.  Nothing beats real experience and being part of a team.” Ellie Acheson appreciated the dynamics of a small nonprofit environment.  “Because this is a smaller organization, you get to see how the sausage is made, what other people are doing.  I also liked the feeling that what I’m doing is enriching and maybe more noble than just selling something.”

The summer internship may have created three new jazz fans, as well. “I am interested in history, so when we were doing the Conversations with Curtis interviews, hearing people talk about the jazz scene and history, was a look into a world I don’t know,” says Ellie.  Jake agrees.  “There’s good music out there I didn’t know about.  Local artists I had never listened to. “

The best internships are those where both the intern and the organization rise to new levels together.  For JazzArts Charlotte, it has been a transportive summer.

If the idea of supporting JazzArts Charlotte sounds fun to you, we agree!  We are currently seeking support for the Fall season for a variety of roles and would love to speak with you.  Call 704-334-3900 or email and let us know how you’d like to help.

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