Internships & Collaborations

SMU Meadows students have outstanding opportunities for stellar internships and collaborations on campus, in Dallas (a top-five media market, home to numerous Fortune 500 companies and home of the nation’s largest urban arts district) and in locales around the world. Hear from students and alumni about the many ways these experiences help prepare them for their careers.

Olivia Ramirez
BA in Advertising/Digital Media Strategy; BA in Art ’22
I had the opportunity to work as a media intern for Heineken USA the summer before my senior year. I learned so much through this position attending meetings with people from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and their ad agency CANVAS. Along with attending meetings throughout the day, I was tasked with creating a presentation where I provided recommendations on how Heineken can better connect with Gen Z. A lot of my input was about how they can better their social media accounts. It went so well that I ended up presenting it three different times to different teams when I was only supposed to present it once! Overall, I gained great experience and industry contacts while working on the brand side of advertising, and further developed my teamwork, research, and presentation skills.
Madison Castellano
B.A. Advertising/Creative; minor in graphic design ’19
During my internship at Citrus Advertising, I worked with the Alpha Project, a personal training gym known for its intense and effective workout programs and strong, close-knit community. I helped develop a 360 marketing campaign. Working with the owners of the gym, we created the brand’s new logo, produced out-of-home and in-store signage, designed t-shirts and other apparel and accessories, then developed an in-depth marketing plan that broke down budget, business objectives and goals within a detailed calendar for the next few years. This project allowed me to fully immerse myself into a brand and work directly with the client to help bring their business forward. This is why I love advertising; it’s wonderful to help a client with such a compelling story, who is passionate about their dream, find their own voice and find ways to tell that story to people who want to listen and contribute to that growing dream. Next year I will be working at TracyLocke as a junior copywriter for Samsung.
Hannah Tymochko
B.A. Advertising/Digital Media Strategy; minor in psychology '19
Working as a brand media intern at The Richards Group gave me the real-life experience most students look for. I worked on projects for various clients that sharpened my planning, reporting and analytical thinking skills. I did a variety of projects for multiple clients at various points of the planning stage. This enabled me to see all the elements that go into media planning. Throughout my internship, I got more involved in the programmatic specialty. I learned about programmatic in many of my digital media strategy classes, and working with the team allowed me to see what type of work it actually entails. I produced client-facing documents and was given the opportunity to own projects that made me a key member of the team. My experience at The Richards Group gave me insight into agency life and overall was extremely positive and valuable.
Anna Grace Godoy
B.A. Advertising/Creative, minor in sociology ’19
During the spring semester of my senior year, I interned at 3HeadedMonster in Dallas. It was amazing because I got to have a hand on so many different projects because it was a small agency. I worked on campaigns for Nothing Bundt Cakes, Wingstop, products and companies that haven't been released yet, and different personal branding projects. I even got to do some branding for the agency itself. I loved my internship at 3HM because it allowed me to see so many different sides of agency life and meet some solid people. It taught me a lot about life in the work force and skills that would help me in any field I go into.
Hannah Belsinger
(B.A. Advertising, minor in law and legal reasoning ’19)
As a brand media intern at The Richards Group in summer 2018, I was able to explore the many specialties within media planning including search engine optimization, digital strategy, media buying and social media across multiple accounts. Having such hands-on and diverse experience working with various teams allowed me to grow not only as a media planner but also as a professional and team player. I also worked with other interns on a group presentation, having to refine my collaboration, research and communication skills every day. Nothing will get you more prepared for the industry than having to give a 25-minute presentation in front of the entire department, which consisted of 100+ directors, planners, buyers and strategists. Getting such exposure to the unique culture of an ad agency allowed me to better understand how every discipline works together to successfully tackle every client’s needs. The Richards Group is a great place for anyone looking to speak up and have their ideas valued and put to great use.
Amy Cooley
B.A. Advertising/Strategic Brand Management; B.A. in Spanish ’18
“I spent fall semester 2017 interning for the nationally syndicated radio show ‘The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show.”’ While I got to play around on their various social platforms, my main task was running the show’s Twitter feed. It’s kind of crazy, honestly, to think that I was putting out content to over 95,000 followers every day. I also had the opportunity to record my own podcast, ‘21 & Up,’ with my co-intern. We started an Instagram account and figured out the right combination of buttons to hit in a recording studio to make magic happen. Working there was a great experience, getting to see the ins and outs of what it takes to run a radio show, how advertising and marketing works from the media side, and getting to meet some very cool people along the way – celebrities and the fun people who work there. Most importantly, however, I learned to never take for granted getting to sleep past 5:00 a.m. every morning.” [Amy is now a project manager for Dieste, Dallas/New York.]
Alex Gurasich
B.A. Advertising/Creative and B.A. Film & Media Arts ’18
“My internship experience at GSD&M in Austin was great. I worked in the digital production department and collaborated on projects for Popeyes and the United States Air Force. Some of those projects included testing and distributing recruitment tools for the Air Force and brainstorming on future interactive campaigns for Popeyes. GSD&M also hosted workshops for interns to meet with members from each team at the agency, along with meeting the founders and CEO of the company. Being able to make these kinds of connections and learn about the various teams that work at an agency was incredible and exactly what I was looking for in an internship. All of my coworkers have been friendly and helpful and I could not have asked for a better place to be. I’m honored to have been part of the AAF Vance and Betty Lee Stickell internship.”
Marissa Lopez
B.A. Advertising 2016
“My internship with Southwest Airlines was extremely rewarding and allowed me to be extremely hands-on and involved in the brand beginning to end. I created digital content for and the Southwest mobile application. One of the biggest takeaways from this experience was the importance of company culture. Southwest embodies everything one would look for when it comes to a wonderful work environment. I got to work with friendly, hard-working individuals whose drive and creativity inspired me. My boss and supervisors understood the importance of work-life balance and really worked with me whenever I felt overwhelmed. My internship with Southwest was truly beneficial for my growth as a designer and young professional. My Meadows professors gave me the tools and knowledge to walk into this internship with confidence and an excellent design and advertising skill set. Southwest gave me the real-world experience that prepared me to succeed in my post-graduation career now.“ [Marissa now works as a junior designer at BBDO New York.]
Samantha Butz
Samantha Butz
B.A. Advertising/Creative; B.A. Fashion Media '17
"I was able to travel to the Dominican Republic through SMU's Engaged Learning program. There, I got to experience the culture while visiting a living-wage garment factory and staying in the homes of the workers. I took everything I learned and have created an initiative on campus to promote ethical apparel. The underlying goal is to let students know that sweatshops are unnecessary but also, and more importantly, that we can make a difference in people's lives by the way we choose to purchase items in our everyday life. I want students to know that we are the difference and we have the power to prove that ethical apparel is possible. With the help of my professors and experience through advertising classes, I've been able to create a conversation on campus around the origin of our shirts. It's been an exciting and challenging experience and I'm excited to see how it impacts SMU in the future! In addition, in summer 2016 I had the opportunity to serve as creative intern with Weller Media Agency in New York City, which was an amazing experience. And I'm excited to be interning with Dallas-based Canonball Agency for the fall of my senior year.” (Photo: Samantha with Alta Gracia garment factory worker Alfredo Toledo.) [Samantha is now art director for Citrus Advertising, Dallas.]
Tien Dang
B.A. Advertising/Creative ’16
"I was a creative copy intern at Publicis HCG in New York City in summer 2015. The coolest part of my internship was being put on a pitch where I worked directly with the associate creative director. My input and ideas were valued and some of my concepts were utilized. I was also a part of a larger internship program called MAIP, which provided me with a lot of awesome opportunities and connections as well. Interning in New York has been a great experience." [Tien now works as the diversity and inclusion coordinator for 4A’s in New York.]
Sue Hyun Han
B.A. Advertising/Creative ’16
"I loved my first agency experience! I did my internship through MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Intern Program), which placed me in McCann Detroit. The people at McCann Detroit were so kind and accommodating. When I realized that I didn't want to do account management they let me help out in creative. I got to see how everyone in the agency worked together. I became close friends with the fellow interns; we brainstormed together, ate lunch together and came up with our first ads together. Through MAIP, I was also able to go to New York City where we found out that our group won the 2015 MAIP Summer Project for Nike and Wieden+Kennedy."
Gabi Graceffo
B.F.A. Art and B.A. English/Creative Writing Specialization ’20
“While studying abroad in Siena, Italy, for a semester, I was able to work at a graphic design studio, Mc Brain’s, as a graphic designer, photographer and translator. This internship built on my experience with magazine work as the editor-in-chief of Kairos, SMU’s premier undergraduate literary and creative magazine, combining my artistic studies with my writing. I became a translator for the studio and was able to bridge them with English and American companies they had previously had limited access to. The internship skyrocketed my graphic design and linguistic skills and I was offered a job and visa sponsorship at the end of the semester, something I’m considering taking them up on before grad school. I was able to pursue this experience because of Meadows scholarships and have come back ready to dive into my senior year, now with more experience to look toward future work with creative magazine work as both a writer and artist.”
Jennifer Wester
M.F.A. Art ’21
"Through a project grant and residency with the City of Dallas, provided through the Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, I've had the extensively rewarding opportunity to design and distribute culturally specific paper modeling activities and workshops that hone fine motor skills and spatial reasoning while providing creative inspiration to underserved communities in the area. This work has furthered my paper-works practice, led me to develop important grant writing and project scheduling skills critical to a sustainable arts career and led to the creation of many positive relationships with other local organizations and city entities such as the Dallas Public Library, Love For Kids, Deep Vellum Publishing and Dallas Park & Recreation facilities. The ability to work in collaboration with and have so much agency in a city as large and diverse as Dallas has been invaluable in the development of my goals and vision as an artist. I don't believe there is any other city in the country with as much opportunity for artists to have voice and impact as in Dallas right now."
Julia Jalowiec
B.F.A. Art ’18
“I came to Meadows as a transfer student and right away dove into the resources and opportunities SMU had to offer. In addition to classes and a trip to study in France, I did an internship with sculptor Deborah Ballard; conducted funded research as an Engaged Learning Fellow on Art Fellowship in Paris, which resulted in a solo sculpture show in downtown Dallas; held a resident artist internship at the Dallas Farmers Market (DFM), for which I organized a collaborative, 150-foot public art wall mural. After the DFM internship, I started work on another public art wall mural and curated a large-scale steel sculpture show featuring the work of artist Dewane Hughes. My opportunities helped me grow not only as an artist, they also helped me grow my network in the art community.” [Photo Southern Methodist University, Hillsman S. Jackson.]
Nida Bangash
M.F.A. Art ’19
"I'm thrilled to be invited to participate in an exhibition celebrating The Crow Collection of Asian Art Museum's 20th Anniversary this year, where I have been paired with one of the objects I selected from the collection. An answer I give to a set of questions asked in an interview will be chosen as part of the object's in-gallery label. In addition to a solo exhibition at The Reading Room in Dallas in November, I am also working towards a group exhibition titled "I Contain Multitudes" at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in January. Here at SMU, I am fortunate to be given an opportunity to be amid a group of wonderful creatives the DFW area has to offer."
Andy Davis
M.F.A. Art ’16
“One of the features that attracted me to SMU for my M.F.A. in Studio Art was the potential for collaboration with other disciplines. Housed within the Owen Arts Building are the divisions of music, visual art, theatre and dance, to name a few. With the atmosphere of the various arts coexisting in the same space, I saw an opportunity to blur the boundaries between these so-called “divisions.” In my final semester, I approached students from the music and dance divisions to collaborate in producing a chamber operetta for the 2016 M.F.A. Thesis Show, “Above and Below the Surface.” The openness and rigorous abilities of the performers helped bring the work from a fragmented set of impressions to a fully realized project. Interdisciplinary experimentation, navigating unknown territories, challenging categories - these acts constitute a vibrant arts ecosystem and I am grateful to my collaborators and the faculty at Meadows for facilitating this exchange.” [See “Watergrass” video on: ]
D S Chapman
B.F.A. Studio Art ’17
The only thing greater than the Meadows School itself are the outstanding professors who dedicate their time and effort to making students like myself successful in our chosen field. Since my junior year, I have been an exhibitions & programs intern at The Power Station, a not-for-profit contemporary art exhibition space, after Chair of the Division of Art Dr. Noah Simblist connected me with The Power Station Gallery Manager Gregory Ruppe. I have helped with the installation of two exhibitions, one of which was for the international Dallas Art Fair, and I assist with the day-to-day running of The Power Station. The Power Station permitted me to organize a screening of video work from SMU students and alums, and I have been invited to curate the work for one night of their “Sunscreen” summer film series. In addition to continuing my internship at The Power Station during my senior year, I will be working as the studio assistant to artist Jeff Zilm (M.F.A. ’11), a former SMU alumnus. [DS was accepted to three grad schools and will attend University of California San Diego beginning fall 2017.]
Diana Antohe
B.F.A. Art ’14
My time at Meadows was instrumental in setting the foundation for my career, and continues on with having an incredible and supportive community in the Dallas arts. The summer after graduation I got a studio in the Deep Ellum district in Dallas, where I currently hold my professional studio practice. My studio space has led to several past and upcoming exhibitions. I'll be showing works at a downtown gallery in the spring; I recently had a show with another painter at North Lake College; was selected as a "Rising Star" for the Turner House exhibition at the Oak Cliff Society of Fine Arts; and will be in a women printmaking show at the Bath House Cultural Center in the spring. I am also a studio assistant to another Meadows alumnus, Matthew Cusick (M.F.A. ’13), whom I met during my studies. [Note: In 2016, Diana had residencies at the London Summer Intensive Residency and at the Can Serrat International Center in El Bruc, Spain. Upcoming residencies include the Vermont Studio Center in spring 2017.]
Nicolas Gonzalez
B.F.A. Art, B.A. Art History ’17
Over the summer I was granted an opportunity to be a part of Pike Park’s first-ever summer camp, where I worked with children ages 5 through 12. Together we were able to construct a huge mural titled “My Pike Park” to bring awareness to the diminishing history of Pike Park and of Little Mexico here in Dallas. This project directed the use of my artistic abilities using a different approach known as social practice. It has opened new possibilities for me, such as a new body of work and recognition throughout the art community. I’ve always believed that art can change the world in some way. (Photo by Parker Smitherman [B.F.A. Film & Media Arts ’15])
Claudia Zapata
Ph.D. candidate in Art History ’19
“In the summer of 2017, I was selected as a Marsh Foundation Curatorial Intern by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. As an intern I developed several feasibility reports related to prospective virtual reality applications and programming. The museum’s unique organization as a single-artist museum with historical properties in a remote area provided a unique challenge for integrating technological innovation as a form of preservation. The internship allowed me to extend my professional curatorial experience to a world-renowned museum that incorporates its natural landscape as part of the visitor experience. Each museum has a specific set of opportunities it provides for its visitors, and as an intern, I was able to gain more valuable insight into the considerations of the single-artist museum. The administrative and programmatic diversity training that I receive from such experiences is an invaluable professional asset that will incentivize any future employer regarding my abilities to adapt to an arts institution’s professional objectives.”
Lauren Richman
M.A. Art History ’13; Ph.D. candidate in Art History ’19
"Fellowships complement the pursuit of a Ph.D. in art history by expanding students’ resources and enriching their professional network. For the 2017-18 academic year, I was awarded the Terra Foundation for American Art Predoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), which honors projects focused on cross-cultural exchange. While at SAAM, I have been able to access archival materials for dissertation research/writing which concluded in a public lecture, work one-on-one with curators, and meet scholars across disciplines thanks to Washington, D.C.’s rich museum community. Not only has my time at SAAM been instrumental for the completion of my Meadows degree, but also it has provided me with valuable exposure to curatorial work. With the support of the faculty in the Art History Department, I have been able to tailor my education and external opportunities to suit my career ambitions."
Lauren King
B.A. Art History ’18
“As a student interested in both art history and archaeology, interning with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science was a fulfilling experience. It allowed me to pursue both of my interests in the workplace, understand how research is done in a museum setting and meet people with similar backgrounds further along in their careers. I left the internship with much more knowledge on the workings of a museum, and on what steps I can take to better my chances for success in the future. This internship was a valuable opportunity to match my education with correlating work experience and to gain a better understanding in what kind of projects I enjoy doing outside the classroom.”
Rachel Spradley
M.A. Art History ’15
As a graduate student hoping to pursue a career in museums, I knew internships would be an important part of achieving my goals. With support from the Meadows Art History faculty, I gained museum work experience both during and after my graduate work. An internship at the Metropolitan Museum in New York offered an opportunity to learn about the variety of roles available throughout a large museum. Now, as a 2015-16 graduate intern at the J. Paul Getty Museum, I am gaining valuable firsthand experience in the Exhibitions department, which manages the logistics surrounding special exhibitions, coordinating the efforts of departments across the museum. The experience is a valuable complement to my Meadows education and one that will further my career goals. [Rachel now works as an exhibitions assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art.]
Estelle Hernandez
B.A. Art History ’16
It was the best feeling when my education and work experience first began to overlap. Internships with the Dallas Contemporary and other Dallas galleries have given me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge in this field, meet people I admire and have exciting experiences like working in the Dallas Art Fair. Perhaps most important, they have given me the chance to explore my interests and hone my skills. I am currently working in a part-time position with the Dallas Museum of Art, where I have the privilege of doing research work with the Keir Collection. I owe this experience to the foundation I gained from my art history courses and the support of my professors.
Lauren Janicki
B.A. Art History ’16
With the Jordan Internship at the Meadows Museum I hope to gain a better understanding of the people who are responsible for the everyday and special operations of a museum. I will use my time here at Meadows to help get a better sense of what career I will pursue in the art and museum world and to decide what steps I need to take after I graduate from SMU. I also hope to make lasting connections with the people here who might be able to help and guide me in the next stages of my life.
Molly McNulty
B.A. in Public Relations and Strategic Communication; minor in Arts Management ’20
I had the internship of a lifetime at House of Blues as the marketing and talent buyer intern. As their intern, my favorite task was capturing content from various concerts each month and posting it to the House of Blues Instagram story. Some concerts I covered included Jeremy Zucker and Mike Shinoda. As the intern for the talent buyer, I assisted in creating artist deals for both the Cambridge Room and Music Hall. We conducted research about how a particular artist’s previous shows in Dallas or other similar venues did and created an offer using that information. Artist deals that I assisted in included Still Woozy and Rooney. My course work at SMU helped me in my internship, specifically the Cultural Policy course with Dr. Kathleen Gallagher. Throughout my semester-long project, I learned about the Music Modernization Act, which made me even more excited for a career in the music industry.
Valerie Pizzato
M.A./M.B.A. Candidate and Forté Fellow ’20
I interned at the Dallas Theater Center in their development department. Coming from a nonprofit theater in New York City, it was enlightening to see the difference in the arts fundraising environment in these two cities. I gained experience with many aspects of fundraising, from individual giving to events, which builds upon SMU’s fall Fundraising in the Arts course. My direct supervisor was an alumna of the M.A./M.B.A. program, Robin Rose ’10, and I had a tremendous time learning from her. While working on individual giving goals, I mastered the art of donor research. I also learned how to use Tessitura, which is central to patron management at many arts organizations. I am well prepared to hold conversations with leaders across the organization about their strategies. My time at the Dallas Theater Center gave me experience at a premiere regional theater (2017 Tony winner, Best Regional Theater) while applying classroom knowledge to real world situations.
Paige Harrington
M.A./M.B.A. Candidate and Forte Fellow ’19
"My internship with Deep Vellum Publishing initiated me into the Dallas fundraising climate. Because it is such a young organization, I was able to work side by side with the executive director and production editor to build Deep Vellum’s contributed income portfolio and address the organization’s financial needs. I attended grant writing seminars hosted by prominent Dallas nonprofit organizations and wrote 10 grants for four different upcoming projects and programs. The fundraising courses with Julia Diaz provided all the knowledge and practice that I needed to be successful in development. Each of the M.A professors share current, first-hand experience, providing a unique awareness of nonprofit function, which was integral to my success during my internship. I walked into Deep Vellum with not only a passion for books but all the essential knowledge to help the organization continue to grow. I gained a new understanding of running a business with a dynamic environment, which has prepared me to launch my own nonprofit publishing house."
Julia Farina
M.A./M.B.A. Candidate and Forte Fellow ’19
“As the development intern at Theatre Communications Group (TCG) I was able to work with both their Individual Giving & Specials Events and Institutional Advancement & Partnerships departments. This dual position allowed me to experience and work on projects that touched many aspects of fundraising. Summer is a busy time at TCG - they host their annual national conference in June, the end of their fiscal year occurs in July, gala planning is underway and many foundation reports and government grant applications are due. While working on these things and more, I was able to work on hard skills, such as mastering Raiser’s Edge and writing grant proposals, and soft skills, such as communicating with current and prospective donors and managing cross-functional teams. TCG is truly at the center of the nonprofit theater world, and it was a fantastic experience being able to witness and learn about all the amazing work happening in the field nationwide.”
Angie Reisch
B.F.A. Art, minor in arts entrepreneurship ’18; SMU President’s Scholar, Meadows Scholar
"While I was interning at the North Texas Business Council for the Arts (BCA) in Dallas, I worked on a research project looking at which businesses in North Texas were supporting arts and cultural organizations. It was the first time I had worked on such a long-term and exhaustive research project and worked with a professional economist to analyze my work. The results of the research will be published in a white paper in fall 2018. My internship was incredibly valuable to me because I got to see firsthand how an arts nonprofit operates and runs on a day-to-day basis, which was something I had learned a lot about in my AMAE classes. I am very excited to be working with BCA full time now as their programs manager." [Photo: Reisch, lower left, with BCA staff members and volunteers at the 2017 BCA Obelisk Awards.]
Andrew Reynolds
M.A./M.B.A. ’18
During my internship at Interlochen Center for the Arts, I was an events manager and administrative assistant for Trey Devey, Interlochen’s newly appointed president. The opportunity to witness and collaborate on the transition of power, multiple methods of executive time management, board relations, external relations, restructuring and the confidential and critical issues that run through the president’s office has been invaluable to crafting my own executive strategy. The M.A./M.B.A. allowed me to have substantive conversations with senior management. The M.A. portion of the degree has prepared me with the most up-to-date and researched practices in arts and culture management, development, nonprofit finance and governance. The M.B.A. has prepared me for operational success, financial awareness, conversations with a board primarily made up of for-profit business minds and deriving strategy based on the current economic environment. Without both parts of the degree, successfully managing all relevant stakeholders of an arts and culture organization would prove much more challenging.
Mariama Holman
M.A./M.B.A. ’18
My internship experience at Americans for the Arts in New York City helped me understand the broader role the arts play in creating an economic impact within their communities. By working on projects relating to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Study and the Business Contributions to the Arts: 2017 research, I learned how local arts agencies can meet head-to-head with other industries within their community to advocate for partnerships and initiatives that support the development of the arts economy. My graduate coursework in marketing with Zannie Voss and Jill Robinson was instrumental in understanding not only the complex ecosystem of arts community stakeholders, but also learning how to cultivate unilateral interest in Americans for the Arts content among businesses, chambers of commerce and local arts agencies.
Chelsea Marshall
M.A./M.B.A. ’18
“The lessons and case studies from Meadows were an integral part of my day at the Solomon R. Guggenheim, where I interned in the marketing department. Courses like ‘Nonprofit Marketing Strategy’ and ‘Audience Development & Marketing in the Arts’ provided me with the confidence to jump right into projects and the practical experience to collaborate on teams. Through digital strategy and brand positioning initiatives, I helped promote public awareness and monitor visitor experiences at the museum. The Guggenheim also encouraged interns to gain a broad understanding of museum operations and the cultural community through its Museum Culture Seminar Program. These discussions with gallery owners, curators, artists, and designers offered a unique insight into the art mecca of New York City as well as the broader role of museums in our world.”
Phuong Vu
M.A./M.B.A. ’17
“It was an exciting time to intern at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum communications department with their recent re-branding effort and big international travelling exhibitions, all during the busiest travel season in Santa Fe. I benefited greatly from the Web & Social Media Analytics course at SMU Cox School of Business, where I learned more about cutting-edge tools and refined digital media strategy. My Meadows courses all set the firm foundation for my understanding of nonprofit organizations, challenged my marketing views, allowed me to see the big picture and helped improve my collaboration skills with other departments. The impact of data-driven decisions in art administration has opened my perspective to a new career track.”
Veronica Treviño
M.A./M.B.A. ’17
“Having the good fortune to intern in the multifaceted exhibitions department of the Dallas Museum of Art, I enjoyed a very dynamic experience, with exposure to an assortment of tasks and responsibilities. Comprised of a multitude of departments, the museum’s welcoming staff made scheduled and impromptu informational interviews possible. Possessing a cursory knowledge of the diverse sets of priorities and obligations held by the various constituents involved in a nonprofit organization was a framework afforded by my course work. This context propelled my conversations at the museum into fruitful and potent exchanges of knowledge that I will take with me throughout my career.” [Photo: Veronica at the Dallas Museum of Art.]
Caroline Webb
M.A./M.B.A. ’17
“My experience as the annual fund and donor benefits intern at The Santa Fe Opera contributed greatly to my comprehensive understanding of the fundraising process. Lessons learned in SMU’s M.A./M.B.A program - especially in Fundraising in the Arts and Advanced Fundraising Strategy with JoLynne Jensen - were critical to successfully meeting the challenges of my hands-on involvement in the fundraising and special events activities of this world-class development department. Applying lessons learned at SMU to such real world situations allowed me to grow as an arts administration professional and gave me a clearer vision of possibilities going forward.”
Kristen Lega
M.A./M.B.A. ’16
During my time as an intern with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, I was able to be thoroughly immersed in the arts administration atmosphere. Having the opportunity to work with a variety of departments there gave me an overarching view of the industry, as well as some hands-on involvement, and I found it to be extremely valuable. Getting that insight into the inner workings of an organization such as this provided me with a tremendous amount of new knowledge that seamlessly complements the education I am receiving through SMU’s M.A./M.B.A. program. [Kristen now works as a search coordinator for Resolution Media in Chicago, working on campaign plans, strategies and optimizations, data analysis, industry changes and more.]
Emily VanderWall
M.A./M.B.A. ’16
I had the opportunity to intern at the Dallas Museum of Art in the marketing department. I was given an audience overview project which allowed me to combine the concepts I was learning in class to real life situations. For instance, creating a museum budget for our finance class helped me understand potential revenue streams while our marketing class gave me ideas for direct marketing tactics and ways to utilize available data. My internship project allowed me to better understand museum audiences and exposed me to the types of strategies and goals a museum might implement from a marketing perspective. [After her subsequent internship at Christie’s, Emily now works as a category marketing specialist for Heritage Auctions.]
Lauren Lehner
Lauren Lehner
B.A. Corporate Communication and Public Affairs; B.A. Public Policy ’21
"During my time as a policy intern at Cornerstone Government Affairs, I had the tremendous opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the field of government relations and how private industry influences policy. Additionally, working with a myriad of clients allowed me to not only deepen my understanding of certain policy areas, but also learn and expand those interests to encompass other areas. Over the course of my internship, I was also able to see firsthand how important clear and thoughtful communication is in ensuring the best materials are given to more senior individuals within the firm and ultimately to our clients.  My assignments included viewing and summarizing congressional hearings, by drafting analysis memos, identifying and reporting on the current news and legislation trends, and preparing materials for clients testifying before Congress.  All of these experiences collectively sharpened my critical thinking and writing skills. As I look toward starting law school, I believe the skills and tools I gained from this internship will prove quite valuable and will help me succeed in the future."
Melanie Ekizian
B.A. Public Relations and Strategic Communications; B.A. Environmental Studies; minor in Environmental Anthropology ’20
My experience as the global communications intern at Salesforce in San Francisco gave me a true look into the world of public relations in the tech industry. During my 12-week internship, I worked alongside talented professionals who focused on product public relations, corporate affairs and the company blog. By working at such an expansive company, I was able to learn about crisis response in real time and even assisted in the creation of a crisis and issues management toolkit. Additionally, I learned the company's data analytics program to provide insight for future projects across all teams. By the end of my summer, I was excited to share my well-rounded experience with my classes during my senior year and apply my learnings to my future career. [Photo: Ekizian, left, alongside SMU alumnus (B.A. Political Science '87) Brad Burns, executive vice president and chief communications officer at Salesforce.]
Hank Cohen
B.A. Political Science, B.A. Corporate Communication and Public Affairs/Political Communication; minors in International Studies and Spanish ’20
“Through my internship with ExxonMobil I was given a fantastic opportunity to learn more about how the energy industry influences international politics and economics. More so, it became extremely apparent to me how critical communication is in ensuring that multinational corporations can operate efficiently wherever they’re present. As an intern focusing on global digital communications I had the chance to see how data science is becoming an increasingly dynamic and exciting space to work in as a public affairs professional. Being able to understand the science behind how individuals interact with messaging so that you can increase people’s understanding of your company is pivotal. As I continue my professional development, the understanding I have been able to gain as a result of working in an evolving media environment for multinational corporation will continue to offer me an invaluable perspective going forward.”
Caroline Curran
B.A. Public Relations and Strategic Communication; B.A. Corporate Communication and Public Affairs/Political; minor in Law and Legal Reasoning ’19
"My internship experiences have prepared me for life beyond graduation in ways I never could have imagined. From the Washington, D.C.-based Twenty-First Century Group, I learned valuable skills in congressional and client relations, even creating materials to aid in winning a $15 million grant for one of our clients. As an external affairs intern at the George W. Bush Presidential Center (Dallas), I assisted the editor in chief with transcription of interviews for their new book, Listening to Leaders, including an interview with former President George W. Bush. At The Power Group, I have learned the ins and outs of media relations. From pitching stories to providing on-site assistance at interviews and television segments, the experience I gained has shaped me into the well-rounded student and professional I am today. Upon graduation, I am excited to begin my career as an account coordinator with RKD Group, a leading fundraising and marketing agency to over 250 regional and national nonprofits." [Photo: Caroline, left, with colleagues Dylan DiGeronimo and Lexie Fields at Twenty-First Century Group.]
Shayan Gaziani
B.A. Corporate Communication and Public Affairs/Political; B.A. World Languages and Literature (Arabic and Spanish)
"After graduating from SMU, I decided to take a gap year before attending law school. Introduced to QMobius and its CEO, Carolyn Covey Morris, by Professor Sandra Duhé, I immediately felt a sense of camaraderie and a collaborative atmosphere, something that can be a rare find in today’s market. I worked on national accounts like HomeTeam Pest Defense, writing for social media and creating fact sheets for their customers. For Nissan and INFINITI Financial Services, I supported the team for customer and consumer research and assisted in upgrading communications to improve their customers’ journey; we also worked on videos to welcome new customers and to help customers through the end-of-lease experience. The QMobius team cares for each other and their clients. Successes are shared, and impediments are treated as reminders for constant improvement and refinement. The internship was a whirlwind, but few companies afford their interns the experiences and responsibilities that QMobius did. I am grateful for that." [Photo: Shaya Gaziani, left, at lunch with QMobius coworkers.]
Beth Rose
B.A. Corporate Communication and Public Affairs/Organizational Communication; B.A. Advertising/Digital Media Strategy ’18 (Dec.)
"I had the opportunity to intern with AT&T in summer 2018, primarily working on project management for their sales and service centers. My main project was to find a nonprofit for the centers to partner with and get employees involved in a fun, easy and engaging way. For example, we partnered with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to have lemonade stands across the country and raise money to fund childhood cancer research. This required me to work with a large group of employees to inform centers about our partnership. Taking what I had learned in my CCPA classes, I was able to effectively communicate with people all across our organization. From visiting employees in our Houston and Austin centers to presenting my ideas to all of the chiefs of staff in my organization, I was able to get a good idea of what AT&T’s sales and service centers do and why they’re important. One of the most significant things I am taking away from this internship is that you need to love the company you work for. If you love the culture and the people you work with, it doesn’t feel like work at all."
Yamleque Murillo
B.A. Public Relations & Strategic Communication ’18
“At LDWW Group, I was able to grow professionally and personally. I felt more than prepared to take on my tasks as an intern thanks to the knowledge I gained from my CCPA classes. During my internship experience I realized how much the CCPA classes really mimic real-world public relations work, as nothing I was assigned was ever completely unfamiliar. At LDWW I worked on many client projects that ranged from sending out pitches, tracking media coverage, and event planning, to creating a crisis communications plan for a beverage company client! I feel satisfied knowing that I will continue using the skills learned in my CCPA classes on a daily basis in my career and future endeavors.”
Courtney Baptiste
B.A. Public Relations and Strategic Communication; B.A. Corporate Communication and Public Affairs/Political Communication ’17 (Dec.)
“My classes in the CCPA department helped me find my passion for digital marketing, which I was able to apply at my internship as a social media and public relations intern at Ten90Success. The CCPA curriculum allows you to pursue so many different specializations within public relations. This allowed me to develop videography skills, which really differentiated me within my internship. Throughout my time at Ten90Success, I had opportunities to do everything from strategic planning to video production and editing. In addition, I was able to work closely with clients, which helped me to further develop my professional communication skills, which will be an asset as I move forward in my career.”
Gabby Greig
B.A. in Public Relations and Strategic Communication ’17
“I felt prepared coming into my internship at Bratskeir & Company, a public relations firm in New York City, because of the knowledge I gained in my Meadows classes over the past three years at SMU. Prior to the internship I had worked with clients in the local Dallas area, learned how to write the perfect pitch, prepared public relations strategies and learned all about business literacy, among other skills. At Bratskeir, I got to learn everything that goes into creating a successful event, including connecting with clients and customers leading up to, during and after the event. I also learned first-hand everything about keeping a mutually beneficial relationship between a company and its clients, which is essential for the field I am pursuing.”
Andy Embody
B.A. Public Relations and Strategic Communication ’17
“I would not have been able to succeed at my internship with the Washington Redskins if not for all of the material I learned in my classes at SMU. The repetition and practice of AP Style writing gave me the tools I needed to succeed in editing and writing various forms of writing such as press releases, bios and fact sheets. This internship gave me a great deal of experience in interacting with members of the media in a professional manner, which is something I will need to continue a career in sports PR.” [Andy also interned with the Dallas Stars in spring 2017.]
Natalie Yezbick
(B.A. Journalism; B.A. Public Relations and Strategic Communications; and B.A. Communication Studies ’15) Press Assistant for Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
"I wouldn't be working on the Hill without doing internships in different disciplines. Who else but an SMU Meadows student can say they were published on the front page of a newspaper in a top five media market and interned for a past President in the same school year? My professors gave me the tools to be one of the best in any of the fields I could have pursued, and that is the best kind of job security."
Emily Grace Walsh
(B.A. Public Relations and Strategic Communication ’15), Account Executive, Brynn Bagot Public Relations, Dallas
"After two great internships as an undergrad with Weber Shandwick in their Chicago and Dallas offices, I accepted an account executive position at Brynn Bagot Public Relations in Dallas shortly after graduation. I would not have been able to accept this position without the skills I learned in the SMU Communication Studies program. On a daily basis, I consistently use my writing skills, research skills and interpersonal skills to communicate directly with clients." [Emily is now a corporate communications specialist for Mary Kay Inc.]
Kyle Baker
B.A. Creative Computing; minors in Musical Theatre and Graphic Design ’20
“This past summer I served as the creative intern for MarketScale, a business-to-business marketing firm in downtown Dallas. I worked in the Creative Department doing 3D animation. It was an awesome hands-on experience where I was working on real projects from day one. I learned more about the 3D animation production pipeline through storyboarding, creating photorealistic textures, lighting and doing camera work. My manager worked with me to develop my skills in each of these areas. He showed me how to see things as an animator. Now when I see an object made of something as general as say, plastic, I notice the subtle nuances that give it its own distinct character. For example, I notice its surface’s small imperfections, or the way the light hits it and reflects. This experience was phenomenal and I am so excited to apply what I learned back into my classes this fall.”
Eric Miao
B.A. Creative Computing, B.A. Computer Science ’20; Second Century Scholar
In the summer of 2018, I worked as a web development and design intern at Nickson, LLC. The internship gave me firsthand knowledge on how to transform classroom work to real-world projects. It was an honor to work directly with the management and technology teams at Nickson, headquartered in Dallas with a satellite office in New York City. During my time at Nickson, my main project revolved around the collaborating and developing of Nickson’s new website as well as creating collateral to be used by the chief marketing officer in her marketing campaign. My creative computing and computer science background gave me a strong foundation to think both as an artist and as an engineer. The courses I took at SMU prepared me for the challenges that arose and helped me deliver projects through effective communication and collaboration. The work forced me to be extremely detail oriented and diligent in every task presented. Overall, my internship enhanced my hard and soft skills and made me a better person going forward.
Stejara Dinulescu
B.A. Creative Computing, B.A. Studio Art, B.S. Psychology ’19; President's Scholar, Meadows Scholar
In summer 2018, I began researching the self-referential effect and its relation with aspects of social cognition through SMU's Psychology Department. This work is through the Social and Clinical Neuroscience lab, led by Dr. Benjamin Tabak. Before I was able to begin running statistical analyses, I had to sort and process tens of thousands of data points from our large research study conducted over the past year. Instead of spending weeks completing this manually, I was able to write a program in a few hours to automate this process with practically no error, giving me the desired data in less than a second. The creative computing department equipped me with the tools necessary for programming and problem-solving, not only in this more statistical, data-oriented realm but also in the domains of art, artificial intelligence and video game creation. One example is “Drawing with Movement,” which takes accelerometer data input from Wii remotes strapped to ballroom dancers, processes it through a Markov chain (basic probabilistic artificial intelligence) and draws lines on-screen based on their movement. The result is an interactive performance that illustrates the pure movement of the dancers as well as an autonomous “bot” that draws on-screen based on the data from the dancers.
Eskinder Abebe
B.A. Creative Computing ’18
“Working for the SMU Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity has been a unique experience because it incorporates different disciplines where scientists, professors and students work together to solve humanitarian issues locally and globally. My main task working there was to develop an affordable computer tablet for remote locations where education is scarce. I was also privileged to work toward the mission and goal of the Institute. In addition, I have been creating visual assets for the Institute, like logo design, brochures, flyers and posters.”
Kali Ruppert
B.A. Creative Computing; B.A. Art History ’16
"Last summer I worked for the design sector of SAP in Palo Alto, specifically with, the chief design officer's initiative to bring design thinking into global organizations. I also co-facilitated design thinking workshops for SAP University Alliances at the Stanford, SAP, the Hanahaus in downtown Palo Alto and Delaware State University. Design thinking closely aligned with my studies at SMU, particularly my arts entrepreneurship minor. In fact, I integrated Professor Jim Hart's game, "Speed Dating Market Feedback," into several workshops. My managers and SAP clients were also very intrigued by the Creative Computing major." [Kali is now a creative technologist with RP3 Agency in Washington, D.C.]
Harley Swick
B.A. Creative Computing ’16
"My internship at PricewaterhouseCoopers gave me a taste of the real world and how effective my skills could be at a professional level. It was a great experience. The skills I've gained at SMU really came in handy in the workplace and the hands-on learning that I got in the Creative Computing Center gave me quite the edge. My recruitment process included a personal recommendation from my professor. Without that connection, I never would have had such a great opportunity. The best takeaway I got from the internship is a very nice offer to work at PwC when I graduate." [Harley is now an associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers.]
Emely Villeda-Principe
B.A. Creative Computing; B.A. Computer Science ’17
"I interned in the AT&T TDP - Emerging Technologies program in summer 2015. The best part about the internship was that I was able to work on projects specific to my interest in UI/UX Development, which greatly helped me improve my skills. Thanks to my C3 professors, I can approach problems as both an artist and programmer to take on projects that require creativity and logic." [Upon graduation, Emely began working as an associate application developer in AT&T’s software development program.]
Emily Slater
BFA in Dance Performance; minors in Business and in Educational Studies ’22
Going into my first year at Southern Methodist University, I knew that I needed to find a complementary career path to dance and was able to utilize the online classes offered in summer 2020 to obtain a business minor. Eager and nervous, I submitted my application to American Ballet Theatre in New York. Meanwhile, I was working with Silas Farley in preparation for our Hope Show. One night I realized that Silas, a former New York City Ballet dancer, may have a connection at ABT. I decided to meet with him and talk about the opportunity. Silas was glad to help and extremely supportive of my endeavor. A few interviews later, I was offered the position in May! As the end of June was approaching, so was the premiere of the ABT Summer Celebration! For this event, I worked alongside my mentors in weekly meetings as well as emailing and documenting hundreds of donors. During this event, Silas Farley’s work Collage and Creed premiered. Before the premiere, I was honored to attend multiple zoom rehearsals and watch him create on the ABT company!
Kendall Lockhart
B.F.A. Dance ’19
“I had the wonderful opportunity to perform on tour in South Africa as a cast member of Wading Home, a beautiful opera about the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. As an individual preparing to dance professionally for a dance company after college, I was eager to experience dancing on tour for the first time in a place as cultural and historically rich as South Africa. This trip impacted and enriched me professionally, artistically and spiritually. I performed at three different universities in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Pretoria. I learned how to travel, communicate with various types of people and how to remain a responsible and accountable company member. In my free time, I saw a multitude of incredible views, enjoyed a farm-to-table breakfast at a vineyard and toured important landmarks relating to the history of Apartheid. It both humbled and inspired me to work closely with South African university students and SMU vocal artists and musicians in collaboration. I developed deep relationships in just two weeks with people I otherwise would have never met.”
Kat Barragan
B.F.A. Dance Performance, B.A. History 2017
“To me, the Movement Exchange Program stands out as the most special and rare thing the Meadows Dance Division has to offer: Not only are you going on a service trip to orphanages throughout Panama, but you also get to experience classes in salsa, modern dance, aerial, and other Panamanian types of dance, with local dancers. Our guides were fellow dancers who had grown up in Panama, and for one week, they immersed us in Panama’s culture. It would be difficult to choose one memory from the trip, but my personal favorite was taking an improvisation modern class with a professional dance company in Panama City. We were given a partner for one exercise, and although I spoke awful Spanish, my partner and I were able to communicate solely through our bodies in the dance: Dance itself became connective language. I have never felt so in love with my art as I did in that moment.” [Photo: Kat, front row on the right, with fellow dancers on the beach in Panama.]
Fallon Reedy
B.F.A. Dance Performance ’17
“For two years now, I’ve spent my summers in downtown Dallas working for Larrwell Productions as a contracted dancer for Mary Kay’s corporate seminars held at the Kay Bailey Hutchins Convention Center. It has been such a fulfilling and worthwhile experience for me, benefiting my professionalism and diversity as an artist in so many ways. I not only learned firsthand how to conduct myself as a working professional, but I was also exposed to the incredible benefits of working in a more industrial setting, such as backup dancing for major performing artists. Dancing for Mary Kay was also a great platform that allowed me to work with other young professionals in and around the Dallas area. My training from Meadows definitely prepared me for an experience like this, especially in terms of the audition process. The audition experience I receive at SMU is a direct representation of what to expect in the real world, and for that preparation I’m very grateful.” [Photo: Fallon, right, at Mary Kay event with Sarah Larr of Larrwell Productions.]
Molly Kate Dalton
B.F.A. Dance Performance ’18
During spring break I traveled to Panama through the Movement Exchange organization. We taught dance to kids ages 5-15 who were living in orphanages. Although the language barrier was a challenge at first, within a few days we were all brought together through our love of movement, and we witnessed moments of pure bliss. My return to the States made me realize there is so much more to dance than meets the eye: It is a passion, a way of expression, and it is the universal language. My dance professors at SMU teach from a place of passion, heart and encouragement, which have helped me grow as a dancer and a person. I can only hope that I have touched someone’s life in the way my professors and peers have touched mine.
Mallory Ketch
B.F.A. Dance Performance Dec. 2015
Dancing in the Bruce Wood Dance Project's "5 Years" show advanced my knowledge of the professional dance world. I experienced tremendous growth in my technique, my knowledge of professionalism as an artist and my ability to adapt to new choreographic ideas. I brought my experiences from this inspiring environment back into my work as a dance major at SMU. I also will never forget dancing in the José Limón Festival at the Joyce Theater in New York City with the Division of Dance. These opportunities have shaped me tremendously as a dancer, positively influencing my work at SMU and preparing me for a successful career in dance.
Emily Bernet
B.F.A. Dance Performance ’16
Outside of Meadows Division of Dance, I have had the incredible opportunity to perform with Dark Circles Contemporary Dance USA, directed by SMU alumni Joshua L. Peugh. Working with DCCD has given me valuable professional experience, teaching me the challenges and rewards of being a part of a professional dance company. In addition to performing in Dallas, I have toured with the company to New York, Houston, Austin and the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts, where we met and performed alongside inspiring artists from all over America and abroad. Rehearsing and performing with the company has allowed me to put all of the training I have gained at SMU into practice in a professional environment and become more involved in the Dallas dance community. (Photo by Sergio Garcia; courtesy of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. With Emily is company member Kelsey Rohr [B.F.A. Dance ’15]).
Alli Barta
B.F.A. Film and Media Arts; minor in arts management ’20
"After working as a seasonal guest services worker at Live Nation Entertainment – a national live events promoter and music venue operator – at the Dallas Dos Equis Pavilion over summer 2018, I applied for and was offered their operation internship for the 2019 concert season. I learned how to manage stress, both my own and other people’s; how to take the reins of a situation even if it is “above your pay grade”; and witnessed first-hand the delicacy it takes to manage all of the moving parts in such a complex machine. I also learned what a truly phenomenal manager looks like. These experiences taught me to try things. Through it all, I was offered a third internship with Live Nation Productions, their movie production branch in Los Angeles, a place where my love for music and film meet in the middle."
Film Student Aggie Ryan using camera equipment
Aggie Ryan
B.F.A. Film and Media Arts ’20, minor in arts management
"Filmmaking is more than just "Lights! Camera! Action!" I had a strong suspicion of this after seven semesters pursuing a B.F.A. in Film and Media Arts and a minor in Arts Management, but it was never so fully confirmed than during my 2019 summer internship at Valiant Pictures, a boutique production company in downtown Manhattan where I experienced firsthand the detailed preparation and hard work required to produce commercials, shorts and feature films. In the office, I read pre-production books, treatments and scripts, and also assisted with editing. On set, I worked as a PA [production assistant] on four commercials and as a second camera assistant on a short film. Beyond general know-how and professional set etiquette, I received advice from my supervisors, including DIT [digital imaging technician] recommendations and tips on how to pitch a script. I'm thankful to have had this opportunity to explore NYC's film scene, learn the day-to-day of production and apply professionalism to my projects."
Maci Mallahan
(B.A. Film & Media Arts, B.A. Markets and Culture ’19 [Dec.])
During fall semester 2017 I interned at the Dallas Film Society (DFS) in the Educational Outreach department. DFS is a nonprofit organization, and part of what they do is set up workshops and Q&As for high school students in the Dallas area. I was responsible for keeping up with which schools would be attending the events. I also helped put on the events and learned from each speaker. DFS also puts on screenings for the public and I helped the team introduce two of the screenings that semester. One was a screening of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992) for DFS members. At the screening I was introduced to James V. Hart, who wrote the screenplay and the scripts for “Hook,” “Contact,” “August Rush” and many more. He grew up in the same city as me and graduated from SMU. While interning with the Dallas Film Society, they helped me realize there are more careers in film besides being behind the camera. [Photo: Maci Mallahan, left; James V. Hart, right; fellow Dallas Film Society intern, center.]
Natalie Khraish
B.A. Film and Media Arts ’17
“In summer 2016 I was chosen by the department to be an intern for AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women in Los Angeles. I was also informed of the generous donation I would receive to help pay for my travel and lodging expenses. I can say without a doubt that it was the best experience of my life. I got to work on several different independent film sets, meet and learn from industry professionals, and explore and live in Los Angeles – one of the most amazing cities in the world. This internship allowed me to observe and also be a part of some of the most intricate and professional film sets I have ever seen. I met so many people and made invaluable connections that will surely help me enter the industry once I graduate.”
Lawrence Jiang
B.F.A. Film & Media Arts; B.B.A. Management ’17
“During summer 2016 I interned at WWE Studios in L.A. I gained exposure to the several stages of production, from reading and analyzing scripts for prospective projects to observing editors put together different cuts for feature films. Through my internship at WWE Studios, I learned how to work in a professional movie studio, became better acquainted with getting around in L.A., and gained insight into what job positions to pursue after graduation. Prior to doing the internship I took Media Career Preparation, which helped me prepare an impressive résumé and cover letter that helped me land this internship.” [Lawrence also held an internship with the American Pavilion at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.]
Janay Higgins
B.A in Interdisciplinary Studies ’17
“During summer 2016 I had the opportunity to intern at charlieuniformtango – Dallas in their audio department. During my time there I worked on several projects for companies like American Airlines, Choctaw Nation and Johnson Brothers. Some of my responsibilities were assisting in recording sessions and with editing/mixing audio in Pro Tools. From this experience I gained necessary skills and learned best practices used in the audio field. My courses in Meadows gave me the experience and knowledge needed to hit the ground running on the projects and in my career.”
Kim Kooker
B.A. Film & Media Arts; B.B.A. Marketing ’17
During fall 2015 of my junior year I had the amazing opportunity to intern at The Levenson Group on their Paramount Pictures, CBS Films and Warner Bros. accounts. My duties included planning local promotional events, staffing advanced screenings, distributing promotional materials and partnering with local businesses to promote the films. I handled the grassroots promotions for about 10 films and gained valuable insight into the field marketing strategies of three very different studios. The most important thing I learned from the experience was that you can be an integral part of the marketing and release of a film by working on the ground level in a large city like Dallas - you don't necessarily have to be in L.A. (Photo from Wicklow National Park in Ireland during the summer when Kim studied abroad in London.)
Samantha Doctor
B.A. Film & Media Arts ’17
During summer 2015 I interned for Paramount Pictures within their World Wide Marketing group. During my nine weeks working in L.A., I gained exposure to qualitative marketing research, presentations made for marketing strategy, and editing print and video advertising content. The program offered seminars on how the entertainment industry works within a large studio. The entire experience gave me a huge perspective on which avenues I would like to pursue, and a fun summer in a new city! By working with Meadows faculty, I was given the tools and alumni connections to land this great opportunity.
Sara Magalio
B.A. Journalism, B.F.A. Dance Performance ’19
In the fall 2018 semester, I worked as a breaking news reporter for The Dallas Morning News. I published numerous articles covering a range of topics, from Dallas crime to the Texas State Fair. This internship challenged me to complete stories on a tight deadline, while also allowing me to become acclimated to working in a professional newsroom. In the spring 2019 semester, I worked as an online editorial assistant for D Magazine. D challenged me to complete lengthier, more thoroughly researched pieces. I specifically covered politics and urban development in Dallas. Both of these internship opportunities have given me invaluable, professional experience in the field that I feel will greatly help me in my future career.
Cassidy Najarian
B.A. Journalism; B.A. Advertising/Digital Media ’19 [Dec.]
In spring of 2019, I worked as a breaking news reporter for The Dallas Morning News. Working at a major newspaper sharpened my writing and communication skills and gave me hands-on experience in a fast-paced environment. A lot of my stories are centered around crime and I often had to analyze police reports or call local police stations to get information. This type of work made me step outside my comfort zone and ultimately made me a better journalist.
Maddie Church
(B.A. Fashion Media, minor in advertising ’19)
“As an intern at Seacrest Studios for the Red Balloon Network at Children’s Health hospital, I gained valuable experience working in broadcast journalism and programming at a multimedia center. During this time, I developed skills in operating the TriCaster and soundboard, as well as hosting on-air radio and game shows. The program is broadcast directly to TVs in every patient’s room to provide entertainment, especially to those who cannot leave their room. It has been a very rewarding experience knowing that I can make a difference doing something I love. This internship has solidified my passion for broadcast journalism and has equipped me with the necessary tools to further explore the industry.”
Kelly Kolff
(B.A. Journalism, minors in art history and in advertising ’18 [Dec.])
“Spoke Media was single handedly the best internship I’ve ever had to further my journalistic career. From my first day, I was involved in nearly every step of the show creation process. For the summer and fall of 2018, I had the privilege of being a production assistant at Spoke Media, a podcasting company in downtown Dallas. I have always desired to work in the podcasting field and through the day-to-day tasks assigned to me, I mastered the foundation that will help me succeed going forward. Specifically, I had the immense pleasure of working on a podcast dealing with the death of an absent father. Not only did I learn valuable techniques, but also I was challenged to grow emotionally. I was challenged to rise to this professional level, however I feel like I overcame my obstacles and grew in educational, professional and emotional ways.”
Morgan Chandler Smith
B.A. Journalism ’18
“I had the privilege of interning for Zanna Roberts Rassi, senior fashion editor at Marie Claire Magazine in New York, stylist for Target, and correspondent for E! News and The Today Show. My typical day consisted of assisting with styling on the set of photo and video shoots and researching fashion trends for Zanna’s segments (I even wrote her red carpet questions for the CFDA awards!). The experience provided clarity for my future, both personally and professionally. Working for one of the most influential people in fashion connected me with stylists and businesspeople that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. The glitz and glamour does wear off, but living in the moment and going in with a willingness to learn and experience as much as you can makes every day as good as it can be.” [Morgan also interned her junior year at D CEO magazine.]
Macye Marshall
B.A. Journalism ’18
“Interning at Seacrest Studios for the Red Balloon Network at Children’s Health hospital was such a rewarding experience. I served as a radio and TV host, worked the TriCaster system and audio board, and set up the visual set before we went live. Not only did I gain further experience that will make me a capable asset in an active news environment, I was also able to impact the lives of the patients and their families who have been hospitalized for long periods of time. While serving as an on-air host of my own radio and television show, the kids became more outgoing and realized how special they are! Using the studio’s professional audio and video broadcast equipment would not have been easy without the help from my Meadows professors. The first day going live I was confident due to all the time and dedication my professors gave me to do my best.”
Patrick Engel
B.A. Journalism ’17
“I’ve had plenty of great journalism experiences at SMU, but I didn’t work in a newsroom until I spent the summer of 2016 at FOX4 in Dallas as a web producer intern. I wrote news stories for the station’s website, My writing speed and story organization skills improved a lot, but the most valuable part for me was working the day after the July 7 police shootings in Dallas. That experience showed me how “real” the coverage was and how important professional coverage is to breaking news. To experience and be part of the coverage was incredible. Through my internship I was guided by SMU alum Mark Norris, the station’s senior web producer.”
India Pougher
B.A. Journalism, B.A. Fashion Media ’17
“Working in the beauty closet at Marie Claire in New York City, I learned the ins and outs of magazine production, as well as the beauty and fashion industries. Throughout the summer I took part in writing, reporting, market work, social media production and other creative projects, and interacted with editors across multiple departments. With encouragement and advice from fashion media professors Camille Kraeplin and Jayne Suhler I embarked on one of the best experiences of my life. This internship solidified my desire to work in fashion media after graduation, and has put me so much closer to that goal.” [Copy and paste to see India’s journalism and fashion media website:]
Natalia Bru
B.A. Journalism ’17
"My whole life I've had one goal: to run/produce late night television. When I interned at "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider" with CBS in L.A., I was introduced to Stephen Colbert by "The Insider" host Louis Aguirre. Colbert told me to never give up on my dreams and to strive for excellence. He got to meet David Letterman, who told him maybe one day he would be taking over Letterman's chair ... and he did! My summer wouldn't have been possible without the guidance and help of professors Michele Houston and Pam Harris Hackett. They both push me to do my best." [Natalia also interned at “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in summer 2016.]
Ashley Almquist
B.A. Journalism ’16
"I interned at CBS Television Studios for "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider" in Studio City, Calif. I got to work on all aspects of production for both shows. I transcribed interviews, ran scripts to talent, prepared post-shoot updates, gathered content for the shows and even acted as production assistant at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards. This summer was a great experience because the journalism professors had really prepared me for this opportunity." [Ashley is now a social media manager for the APA Agency in Beverly Hills.]
Greg Eckhardt
M.M. in Musicology ’20
"When I try to explain to someone what musicology is, I tend to say that I "read and write about music." While this is true, I often leave out the many steps that go into becoming a musicologist. Presenting at conferences is just one of these steps. In the past year I've had the opportunity to present at three different conferences, including the New England chapter of the American Musicological Society. Presenting at conferences yields a variety of experiences, most notably the connections one makes when at an event such as this one. This journey will continue as my graduate career continues, but without the support I've received from my professors at Meadows I wouldn't be where I am today. Teaching me the skills that I need to succeed has proved paramount in this academic journey." [In spring 2020 Eckhardt presented a paper at the University of North Texas GAMuT Student Conference on Gustav Mahler and Alfred Roller's 1903-07 Vienna Court Opera productions.]
Nicolas Farmer
B.M. Composition/Horn Performance ’20
"In July 2019, I attended the Analysis, Creation, and Teaching of Orchestration Conference at IRCAM in Paris, France. At the sponsorship of former Meadows Musicology Professor Zachary Wallmark, and in addition to networking with many composers and musicologists, I presented my research on the esoteric orchestration techniques Alexander Scriabin used in his late orchestral music and how they influenced later composers in the early 20th century. At the conference I received valuable feedback on my ongoing research, and I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue a research interest of mine beyond composition and horn during my undergraduate career at Meadows."
Julia Baca
B.M. Performance/Viola, B.M. Music Education ’20
“As a musician, I’ve always found it important to be familiar with as many aspects of a performance as possible. A lot must happen before a performance entertains an audience, and this internship has shown me how successful an institution can be at building relationships with its patrons and producing high-quality publications with limited time, while maintaining professionalism and passion for the task at hand. As an intern, I had the privilege of contributing ideas and edits to the annual program book, season brochure, social media initiatives and first-ever television commercial. This unforgettable summer has allowed me to contribute to the many successes at the Santa Fe Opera and further cemented my passion for yet another part of the music industry.”
Abigail Hawthorne
Abigail Hawthorne
B.M. Performance/Oboe, B.A. Psychology ’18
“In summer 2017, I played with the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colo. Over the course of eight weeks, we performed in 21 full orchestra concerts as well as smaller-scale chamber music outreach events in the beautiful Summit County community. I learned so much through my collaboration with music director Carl Topilow, guest conductors, and my talented colleagues within the orchestra. We played fantastic programs of pieces from the standard classical music repertoire, as well as popular music programs including patriotic music for the Fourth of July, the music of “Star Wars,” and family concerts aimed toward introducing children to the instruments of the orchestra. I had a wonderful summer and grew so much as a musician and artistic community member!” [Photo: Abigail, left, with members of the NRO oboe section.]
Mary Lena Bleile
B.M. Performance/Cello ’18
“I'm a student researcher in Meadows’ MuSci Cognition Lab. I got the wonderful opportunity to attend the Methods in Empirical Music Research workshop at Ohio State University, where I learned from one of America's leading musicologists! Dr. David Huron's workshop was incredibly inspiring and informative, something that definitely helped develop my skills and expand my breadth of knowledge of current research. It was also such a pleasure to be around the 14 other like-minded workshop attendees. I'd highly recommend this workshop to anyone interested in empirical music research.”
Isaiah Pennington
B.M. Performance/Cello ’18
"As a member of Bridge the Gap Chamber Players (BTG), I have witnessed the small student-run nonprofit transform into a strong force for arts advocacy in Dallas due to the hard work of dedicated Meadows students. We have been able to help start a youth orchestra for underprivileged students in South Dallas, forming a close relationship with the kids we teach and the community where we work. Meadows is invaluable at preparing its students for the kind of entrepreneurial and pedagogical work BTG does. The faculty at Meadows equip students with the kind of real-world skills needed to create a thriving arts organization and personal career.” [Photo: Isaiah with students at Dunbar Elementary.]
Alexis Nguyen
B.M. Music Education ’17
“In the summer of 2016, I was the Operations Intern and House Manager for Music@Menlo, a Chamber Music Festival and Institute, in Menlo Park/Atherton, California. I absolutely loved my time in the Bay Area. I was able to network with not only Music@Menlo artists but also people interning from around the globe. By working closely with the administrative staff, production crew and artists, I gained hands-on experience running a festival. The high quality of musicianship, professionalism and overall rigor of the Meadows School prepares its students for this field of work.”
Nilsa Pozo
B.M. Music Therapy ’17
In summer 2016 I researched the uses of music therapy to support individuals in their weight loss efforts by working with a group of 11 women in a private medical office in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Each week I led group sessions to address behavioral and emotional barriers to weight loss and provide 30 minutes of drumming and exercise. The experience challenged me to use every musical and therapeutic skill I have learned from my professors in the MUTY program. It was immensely rewarding to see how the interventions motivated participants to take control of the weight loss process and enjoy it at the same time. The results of the study have inspired me to improve my clinician skills and conduct further research on this topic.
Vinnie Mahal
B.M. Vocal Performance ’17
Last spring I had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the Voices of Change chamber music ensemble on "Tibet Fantasia," composed by SMU Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory Xi Wang. It was a wonderful but very challenging experience as I had never before sung any modern classical music. It challenged my musicianship abilities, but getting to work with Dr. Xi and Professor of Voice Virginia Dupuy helped me immensely. Professor Dupuy taught me valuable lessons in vocal technique, pitch reference and the importance of preparation in the professional world. For that, I am very grateful.
Moretta Irchirl
B.M. Music Therapy, B.M. Vocal Performance ’16
The Music Therapy program has given me the great honor of working at My Possibilities, a continuing education facility for adults with disabilities. Each week, I do one-on-one and group music therapy sessions with the HIPsters (Highly Important People) to help improve their everyday life skills. It is an amazing experience to see them function at a higher level when participating in personalized musical activities. With this hands-on experience, I am learning and implementing new therapeutic techniques that I will use for the rest of my career as a music therapist.
Lawson Malnory
B.M. Music Education ’17
The motivational environment created by Meadows inspiring professors led me to found my own nonprofit, Helping Hand Drums. Meadows has equally inspiring students, such as those who lead and allow me to be a part of Bridge the Gap Chamber Players, which brings great student musicians out to the community, and the South Dallas Strings project, a music education program for elementary students in South Dallas. Meadows is a great place to learn how to"do more" with your craft than just perform on stage or hang something on a wall. You learn how to build the stage, and make the wall, and bring it to the community. [In addition to serving as the president of Dallas’s Bridge the Gap Chamber Players, Lawson also interned with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 2016 and 2017.]
John Whittington-Manning MFA-Dec2019
Josh Whittington-Manning
M.F.A. in Design ’21
"I had the honor of collaborating with Lindsay Silva (M.F.A. '19) on a number of shows she designed for Jubilee Theater in Fort Worth, Texas. Assisting her was such a treat because it brought me two opportunities: One, we have very different styles, so I got to learn new lighting design techniques from her, many of which I would have never considered on my own. Two, I was able to broaden my network by working with the artistic director, director and other designers at Jubilee. Working with Lindsay and the Jubilee accelerated my development as a designer."
Janice Rabian MFA Design2021
Janice Rabian
M.F.A. in Design ’21
"I was the assistant costume designer on Public Works Dallas 2019 working with NYC-based costume designer Lex Liang, who designed costumes for over 100 cast members. I helped create the design of the production. Lex was a wonderful mentor, and gave me a lot of creative freedom and leadership opportunities. I worked closely with the equity actors and community members in fittings and during the tech process. I also worked as an associate costume designer to Professor Claudia Stephens on Cape Fear Regional Theatre's production of "Mamma Mia!" I led creative discussions and collaborated with the CFRT team, the NYC director and NYC choreographer to create a fresh and modern take on this '90s jukebox classic. I led the production process, working closely with the shop manager and professional actors to fit the production. The production was fabulous and sparkly and I walked away from the experience with a great portfolio piece and a new professional network."
Stakiah Washington
B.F.A. Theatre Studies ’21
I had the honor of going to New York City to be in the Stella Adler Black Art Intensive. The six-week intensive took place at the legendary Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn. Besides making lifelong friends, I also had the opportunity to network with well-known actors. Several of the workshops included scene study, monologue work, African dancing, wellness and mental health for artists, music, playwriting and business management in the theatre industry. I had the opportunity of being trained by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Michele Shay, Harry Lennix and many more. Through this program I have gained great knowledge and understanding of myself, my craft and those who have come before me.
Rose Cobey-Dec2019
Rose Cobey
M.F.A. in Design ’20
“I was a lighting intern at Cincinnati Opera—the second-oldest opera company in the U.S.—over the course of the five-show season. During that time, I worked with Thomas Hase, a truly world-famous opera designer, as an intern, second assistant and assistant lighting designer (ALD). It was an exceptional opportunity to experience a prestigious opera company from the inside out, as well as to work with one of the best in the business. My duties were wide-ranging, including traditional ALD tasks such as drafting light plots, as well as unexpected responsibilities such as handling quotes and bids from suppliers. The internship focused almost as much on running a department as it did on design. The most memorable part was working as Thomas’s ALD on a brand-new opera called ‘Blind Injustice,’ commissioned by Cincinnati Opera and based on the Ohio Innocence Project.”
Bri Tobin MFA Design 2020
Bri Tobin
M.F.A. in Design ’20
"My fellowship at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York, really kickstarted my design career! In the span of a few months I participated in the Hangar’s competitive “design boot camp,” designing two children’s plays, two experimental plays in a shared art space, and assisting New York City designers on three productions. The first few weeks were rigorous as we had a short time to collaborate and pitch full designs to the company’s artistic director. To accomplish this, we roomed in a communal living space with our design teams and directing fellows. It was such a unique and fun experience to collaborate day and night with other young professionals. One of the most rewarding parts of the fellowship was the opportunity to workshop with eight successful designers whose credits ranged from Broadway to international opera houses. The fellowship was intense, but I will never forget the skills and confidence I gained!"
Coda Boyce
B.F.A. Theatre/Acting ’20
I attended SpringboardNYC with The American Theatre Wing, a program that introduces theatre students to life in New York City. I learned what it was like to thrive as an actor and pursue the career I was meant for. I attended nine Broadway productions and the Tony Awards! I talked with well-known actors such as Jeremy Pope, Cynthia Erivo, Patti LuPone, and LaTanya Richardson Jackson, who gave some very encouraging advice. We worked all day at Pearl Studios, only blocks away from amazing theatres. We took the subway every morning (the MTA is not your friend), attended workshops and master classes all day, and ended our nights with a show. SpringboardNYC teaches you that the work never stops after graduation, you must keep perfecting your craft by taking classes and seeing shows and going out for auditions. I built so many connections at this program that not only am I excited but I’m also incredibly prepared to make my journey to the Big Apple in 2020.
Yvonne Johnson
(M.F.A. Stage Design ’20)
“My internship through the Television Academy in Los Angeles for costume design was one of the most epic experiences of my life! I was assigned to Bill Hargate Costumes, the facility that builds the costumes for Marvel as well as for ‘American Horror Story,’ DC’s ‘Superman,’ the new Quentin Tarantino film starring Brad Pitt and a host of other film, television and theatre productions. I got to go on set and see them film the last episode of ‘Strange Angel,’ a CBS streaming show, attend Comic-Con in San Diego where I met Ruth Carter, the costume designer of Marvel’s ‘Black Panther,’ and went costume shopping with Michelle Cole, Emmy-nominated costume designer for ABC’s ‘Black-ish.’ The Television Academy also held networking events for around 60 interns that included a behind-the-scenes experience with HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ process. I made some great connections and even received an invitation to the Creative Arts Emmy awards! I can’t wait to go back and see all my idols receive recognition for their great work and hope to one day get to stand in their shoes.” [Photo: Yvonne Johnson, left, with Ruth E. Carter, costume designer of Marvel’s “Black Panther.” Carter is also known for her costume designs for “Malcolm X,” “Roots” (TV series), “Amistad,” “Selma” and multiple additional television shows and films.]
Kassy Amoi
B.F.A. Theatre ’18
“In my work for Ignite/Arts Dallas, I collaborated with Public Works Dallas as a teacher's assistant and company member of the Dallas Theatre Center 2017 production of ‘The Tempest.’ The production involved over 150 actors from throughout the Dallas community and was a collaboration between SMU Meadows, Ignite/Arts Dallas and Dallas Theater Center, in affiliation with New York City’s The Public Theater’s Public Works and Dallas’s AT&T Performing Arts Center. I continue to work for Ignite/Arts Dallas as both a student and artist to learn more about my community in the most fulfilling way possible. The lessons I learn never disappoint me.”
Leslie Ballart
B.F.A. Theatre/Acting ’17
“I worked with Public Works Dallas as a community liaison during “The Tempest” at Dallas Theater Center. This was an incredible opportunity to connect with community members from various backgrounds. I worked with people who never thought they would be involved in a professional production along with those who’ve been theater professionals for most of their lives. Helping non-English speaking cast members by using my first language, Spanish -- which I hadn’t utilized in-depth in a long time -- was extremely gratifying. This experience has opened my eyes and heart to the extraordinary power of theatre. Watching others achieve their dreams, face new challenges and inspire their community has in turn inspired me to go after my own dreams once I graduate, and reconfirmed why I love theatre.”
Christina Sittser
Christina Sittser
B.F.A. Theatre/Theatre Studies ’17 (Minors in: Fashion Media, European Studies, History of Visual & Performing Arts)
“I was an actress and assistant teaching artist for Public Works Dallas, and boy was it a great experience! I got to teach acting classes at two community centers, and my students were so much fun. Then, together with professionals from Dallas Theater Center and over 150 other Dallasites, we put on a beautiful production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” On our last day, I felt like my heart was being ripped out because I’d made so many friends. It’s okay, though, because we’ve kept in touch! That was my seventh professional theatre job while enrolled at SMU. Who knew I’d feel this ready to graduate and get out there?!” (Photo by Susan Hamilton)
Haley Nelson
B.F.A. Theatre/Theatre Studies ’17
"My liberal arts and theatre classes were equally important during my internship at the Ko Festival in Amherst, Massachusetts. I worked on solo performances and devised theatre pieces, many of which focused on social justice issues including urban violence, mass incarceration and the refugee crisis. My non-theatre classes helped me converse knowledgeably about these issues in the rehearsal room with an international cast and crew, and my playwriting, solo performance and tech classes allowed me to assume technical roles and script development opportunities with ease. My internship combined my passions for theatre and politics, and taught me about successfully producing touring theatre."
Darren Diggle MFA Design 2016
M.F.A. in Design ’16
I am the primary scenic associate for Clint Ramos, a Broadway scenic and costume designer. Together, we have collaborated on over 13 productions. Most recently, we opened "Slave Play" on Broadway and we are about to open another Broadway show, "Grand Horizons." Working as his associate designer has not only propelled my knowledge as a designer but has acted as a catalyst for my own design career. I am now a union designer in the IATSE Scenic Artist Union Local 829 and I am represented by an agent at Abrams Artists Agency.
Tiana Johnson
M.F.A. Acting ’16
"Working in the Dallas area with professional theater companies such as Dallas Theater Center has given me the opportunity to gain professional experience and a chance to meet fellow actors working within the community. It presents me with many options of what a career in the arts could look like and connections that will launch me into my career. SMU Meadows has prepared me to know what is expected of me when I step into a room under the title of an actor or an artist."
Sasha Davis
B.F.A. Theatre Studies ’16
"I had great experiences working with a national Dallas Faces Race conference, which focuses on shifting the racial imbalance in our country. Playwrights from nine Dallas theatre companies wrote 10-minute plays based off a prompt about the Trayvon Martin shooting. I served as production manager for the readings as well as an actor and was paid for both. The plays were later produced at the Kitchen Dog Theatre, which was founded by SMU alums, three of whom I've been lucky enough to call my teachers. Both experiences exposed me to a completely different side of theatre that is very different from acting; both introduced me to wonderful artists in the greater Dallas area."
Dylan Guerra
B.F.A Theater ’16
"I worked with the Dallas Theater Center as an assistant director on the play "The School for Wives" by Moliere. Through this experience I gained knowledge and hands-on experience on directing in the professional world. I also learned how to run a rehearsal room and work with not only actors, but also designers and crew. My classes in Meadows really prepared me for the challenges in directing at a professional theater and I always felt prepared and ready for whatever task I needed to perform. After working with DTC, I now have several connections and perhaps even job opportunities when I graduate and have no doubt I will be able to practice my craft in the real world."