Sara Anderson, an English major graduating in May 2019, traveled far "off the Ridge" for her internship at the Field Museum in Chicago, Ill. as a web and digital communications intern.
How did you secure the opportunity?
I was a fan of the work done at the Field Museum from years of following ‘The Brain Scoop’ on YouTube. Pretty early on in my search for summer internship opportunities, I came across a job posting on LinkedIn for a writing internship at the museum and started working on my application that same day. I was contacted for a remote interview with the three web team members I would be working with. I had a nerve-wracking video chat with them from my living room (worrying the entire time that my WiFi would suddenly disconnect) and we had a great conversation. About a month after that, I was offered the position and accepted it immediately.
What did you do on a daily basis?
Chicago’s Museum Campus is stunning, so I always took a moment to appreciate the view on my way into work after an hour long commute. Most of my time was spent doing data entry, learning how to build and edit web pages on Drupal 7, conducting small research projects, assisting a fellow intern in my office with projects around the museum, sitting in on (often hilarious) meetings with other departments, and writing small pieces of copy for the weekly ‘Meet a Scientist’ events. I had three big projects over the summer, as well, that took up most of July and August. For one project, I conducted research on peer institutions to see if and how other nonprofits house their translated online content and later presented my findings to the web and marketing teams. I also wrote a blog post on the life of Bushman the Gorilla and the web page for the ‘What is an Animal?’ exhibit, both for fieldmuseum.org.
Most importantly, what did you learn?
The skill and experience I gained at the Field Museum cannot be overstated. Neither can the valuable conversations I had with industry professionals. But most importantly, I finally learned that I never need to be afraid to ask questions. I’m a naturally curious person, but it took working in an institution whose entire mission is promoting learning to finally get comfortable speaking up when I want to seek out new information, clarity, or confirmation on things I’m unsure of.
What advice do you have for future students?
I’ll pass on the best piece of feedback I received from my immediate supervisor. Of course you should always be open to criticism, but stay confident in your own voice and ability—there’s a reason you’ve gotten as far as you have!
How did NU's Office of Career Services help you?
You can get course credit for internships, even paid ones! I would have missed out on getting credit for this internship without Career Services.