Stephanie David ’20: Philadelphia Museum of Art

Name: Stephanie David
Class Year: 2020
Major: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Hometown: Spring, Texas

Internship Organization: Philadelphia Museum of Art
Job Title: Human Resources Summer Intern
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

Recently, our department spearheaded event planning for a luncheon honoring employees who have been at the PMA from five to 45 years. It was chaotic getting everything ready on time, but we were happy to see the employees smiling as they got recognized. Day to day, I have been helping compile and check data for recruiting and employee benefits. I will continue to help with collecting data and assisting the department with tasks related to that — there is plenty to do! Aside from that, the interns are also being exposed to virtually every department in the museum, including curatorial, retail, construction, and protection services. This is information that my department can take to aid in making our bird’s eye view on the organization more reflective of the needs of the employees, which is great.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied to this internship because I value work that is rooted in the humanistic side of the working world. It’s important to me that whatever I do in the future involves engaging with people and growing empathy and understanding. These are aspects of career that regional studies have inspired me to focus on, and with Bryn Mawr students’ mission being similar, this has been a natural fit. Also, a nonprofit arts environment that is also a fairly large organization creates an interesting balance. It involves creative minds but also a need for objective function. The PMA is all about evolving thoughtfully. It is my favorite local museum even as a visitor, so I was curious about its cogs and how everything fits together. It’s so much more than pictures just hanging on the walls and it’s incredible to be able to see just how complex the organization is.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been talking to both my peers and my mentors. I appreciate hearing about so many different paths and stories. This internship is really thorough, and I have interacted with employees from many parts of the institution. Being able to converse with driven supervisors, museum staff, and fellow interns has been a moving experience. There is so much to think about and so much I want to hear from the people around me. Sitting in on meetings, chatting with others, or doing my work day to day have hardly been boring. Everyone being so receptive and brilliant in their interactions has been super awesome and helpful.

What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?

I think most of all a big takeaway was a different type of time management for me. I was focusing my expectations on tasks and skillset building. I feel like I only fully understood what the difference is once I was under organizational expectations. It’s different commuting along with the daily flow down the city street, making sure I am still mindful of how every second counts — but virtually as an employee, not just a student. The expectations change how I spend my time and what I spend my time doing. It’s hard to explain, but there is a sense to this experience that can only be learned from doing, and it has served as an important reminder of the future and of what will be asked of me when I formally enter the working world.