Insights from an Intern: Ashley Chin-Mark, School of Dance

August 26 2020

This is a series dedicated to highlighting the insights our students gained during their internships.

Name: Ashley Chin-Mark, School of Dance

Internship: Emerging Leaders Internship, College of Fine Arts 

What responsibilities did you have as an intern?

  • Attend weekly meetings with colleagues and Jennifer A. McLaurin, M.S., Academic Advising Coordinator & Emerging Leaders Ambassadors Supervisor. Document progress on Basecamp by uploading files and completing tasks.
  • Promote activities within/hosted by the College of Fine Arts (CFA) and explain value of an arts education.
  • Educate public on Fine Arts Fees Grants (FAF) by showcasing student projects (awards and short synopsis).
  • Communicate frequently with administrative staff, fellow CFA Interns, and fellow University of Utah students to provide updates on progress, feedback from events, and analysis of data. Information will be shared via email, online, or in-person (meetings with fellow CFA Interns).
  • Post consistently on blog site or webpage, at least 2x/semester and encourage readers to engage with work being produced.
  • Assist with events and activities hosted by The Party, Housing and Residential Education (including Emma Eccles Jones Fine Arts House and Fine Arts Floor), and Student Services.
  • Keep track of hours (Excel Spreadsheet) and submit timesheet to supervisors/applicant trainers

What new skills/knowledge did you gain from your internship?

The top skills I gained from this position were accountability and consistency. As an ambassador representing the College of Fine Arts, my words and actions were held accountable. I tried my best to foster positive interactions with the student body when interviewing artists, attending performances, and tabling campus activities. I practiced consistency by reporting to my advisor on a weekly basis, sending multiple emails and requests for interviews, submitting my timesheets, and guest writing for articles on the Finer Points blog.

What connections did you make and how do you think those connections may help you in your career?

The Emerging Leaders Ambassador Internship was split between two interns. Fortunately, I already knew the other intern, Rachel Luebbert, and from our existing friendship as dancers, we were able to form an even stronger partnership as ambassadors. We also worked closely with the ArtsForce Interns, another branch within the tree of the College of Fine Arts. Years later, in the professional world, we continue to support each other in our careers by staying in contact with one another, introducing mutual artist friends, and notifying each other of information and studies that may be useful to the work in our respective fields.

What advice would you give other students who are interested in a similar internship?

This type of internship is fantastic for those who are passionate about the arts and are interested in being a representative for the field. If you are committed, this internship is a great supplement to your college education and will take your work to the next level by broadening your horizons and expanding your network.

How did your internship compliment your arts education?

My internship was a unique experience tailored to my specific major of Ballet. Interns are usually thought as “the paper pushers” or the “latte lackeys,” but Advisor Jennifer McLaurin challenged me to share the “behind-the-scenes” happening in the School of Dance. For a particular assignment, I got to share my perspective as one of the 15 choreographers and producers for the upcoming annual Ballet Showcase on the Finer Points blog. Because of this internship, I went out of my comfort zone to interview fellow choreographers, costume technicians, lighting and production staff, and stage crew. I gained a newfound appreciation of the people I was working with to produce the show and was able to market the event to a wider audience using the College of Fine Arts’ online resources.

Are there other things you would like to tell us?

The value of my internship was enhanced by my residency in the Emma Eccles Jones Fine Arts Scholarship House in Officers Circle. The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs & CFA Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Liz Leckie, was the matriarch for the house and recommended me for the separate Emerging Leaders Ambassador position under Advisor Jennifer McLaurin. Living in the house with 11 fellow artists (all studying different majors) gave me ideas to collaborate on cross-disciplinary art projects and document the process through ambassador assignments. It was both eye-opening and rewarding to participate in these multi-perspective collaborations from start to finish and I am lucky to continue doing so in my current job as a professional dancer (albeit in a different location with different media artists in music, film, photography, and fashion via official contracts).