INTERNSHIP WITH HOUSTON GRAND OPERA

Time for another intern report, this time with a local connection. As opera fans, we arranged for an internship at Houston Grand Opera, and Sarah Frumkin spent some weeks in Houston working with HGO. Read her report below:

“I spent this summer in Houston, Texas interning at Houston Grand Opera (HGO). I served as a writer in its communications department. Although I worked independently to complete my assignments, I was accompanied by six colleagues within the department who were willing to stop their duties to answer any questions I had. They helped further enrich my learning experience as a writing intern, as well as everyone else I met in the company. I’m so grateful for the Alexandra L. Rowan Foundation for providing me the means to fully experience this opportunity.
From June to August, I worked Mondays 9am to 5:30pm, and Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9am to 1pm. At my internship site, I was provided with my own desk, laptop, and work email. I was responsible for keeping in touch with individuals from various departments on various projects. Doing this required excellent time-management skills since I had deadlines to meet. Keeping my colleagues updated on my progress was crucial so that the team could function properly. I participated in weekly meetings held every Monday morning that helped me understand where everyone else was at in their work. This aspect of my internship experience taught me how to apply my writing skills in a professional setting, and expanded my ability to be a team-player.
As a communications writing intern, I completed research-intensive projects, and performed journalistic duties like observing, taking photos, conducting interviews, and writing articles. Writing marketing emails was one among these research-intensive projects that consumed much of my time. Each email demanded originality, so I let my creativity run loose to piece together the material I found through research. This project was challenging, but I found it incredibly rewarding as my finished work received appreciative comments from the marketing coordinator and marketing manager.
Additional major projects I completed included revising the “Plan Your Visit” page on HGO’s website, and writing articles—all of which demanded much research. Two articles I wrote are currently published on the blog, and the destination of the others have yet to be determined. During the last week of my internship, I had some exposure to grant proposal writing. Jim Townsend, the development communications manager, is largely responsible for grant writing in the opera. He and I discussed the process extensively. After that, I managed to help Marion Frizzell, the communications coordinator, with social media content. Together, we brainstormed ideas on how we could engage HGO’s social media audience. I submitted my ideas to her which she may use as the 2017-18 season approaches.
Since I was fortunate enough to receive this grant from the Rowan family, I had an overall pleasant transition from Pennsylvania to Texas. I used the funds mostly on transportation, but also on other living expenses such as housing and food. This internship was an experience I will always remember. Everything about it was new to me—I essentially went into it blindfolded. It was my first internship. I had never been to Texas before. I was unfamiliar with my surroundings. I didn’t know a single person. I had no background in opera. I had everything to gain from this wonderful opportunity. Filling this gap of unfamiliarity is what caused me to further grow as an individual and as a working professional.”

With perfect bad timing, we unfortunately were out of town for the duration of Sarah’s time in Houston, so missed out on getting to know her. Sarah was also lucky in that her internship ended before the Opera was severely impacted  by Hurricane Harvey.
Please remember that coming up on November 28th is Giving Tuesday – our foundation welcomes donations that will allow us to grow the work we do. Funds gratefully received!