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January 28th, 2014

Internship Reflections: Dharma Khlasa

Dharma interned in the External Affairs department at here at SITE in the fall of 2013. Here is her reflection:

On one of my first days working in the museum, I remember walking through the building. It was closed that day but the Enrique Martínez Celaya exhibition was up, which meant there were objects to dodge, sounds being made, and paintings to look at. It was a multi-sensory experience. I was going from one set of offices to the copier and the echoing of the clank of my shoes—amongst the show—resounded through the building. This simple noise was exciting to me. It sounded important, like something was happening in that space that I was now a part of.

I was able to intern at SITE in the fall of 2013. I worked in the External Affairs department with Anne Wrinkle. When I first started at SITE, Brittany Dayes, who was in charge of Social Media—among other things—left for a new job. This meant that there was suddenly a hole in the department when it came to most social network and e-blast information. Because I have some experience with digital media and Brittany gave me a quick rundown of certain programs that they used before she left, I stepped in to help keep things running.

It was a great way to experience how skills I have learned for personal reasons could really be applicable in a work environment. Things as simple as using Twitter and Facebook in an appropriate way were now assets and not just other ways to waste time. I found that having a basic understanding of graphic design programs and aesthetics helped for these social media platforms and for creating invites and small advertisements. These all were skills that I had never formally used or really thought about transferring to a job.

I was able to keep most of the tasks that Brittany had done alive and even teach some of the other staff. As an intern, I feel like I was able to connect with most of the people who work at SITE, whether it was at an event, an opening, in everyday office work, by being mentored or at times even transferring my own skills. I am very grateful that I was able to learn and interact with the employees as well as the programs of SITE. I took every opportunity to volunteer helping out at events to really throw myself into the workings of the museum.

Since I spent a lot of time in the development office working closely with the team there, I feel like I was given I glimpse into what it means not only to run an art museum, but also a non-profit. Through our personal intern meetings with most every staff member, I not only got to see how everything worked but also hear about it, along with interesting stories on how each person come to work at SITE.

What I learned from this experience was that it is not the same journey for everyone. Getting to a career you like does not necessarily mean graduating in four years, going to graduate school right away and than magically procuring a dream job. It can take various paths and detours but it always seems to come down to being in the right place at the right time and that first day at SITE, walking through the halls, I felt like I was exactly that.