Internship Stories

Internships allow you to enhance your skills and apply classroom knowledge to a professional environment. They provide a supervised short-term experience in a career field of interest. Internships focus on the learning that takes place as a result of the work you are doing.

Learn more about different internships from Visual and Performing Arts faculty by going to the art, theatre, or dance internship pages.


Matthew Espey

Matthew and the rest of the cast of Footloose pose for a group photo.When: Summer 2017
Where: Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, Clinton, Iowa
Major: Theatre

Matthew has interned with the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre since high school. While interning, he performed in mainstage productions each summer. Another duty was working in the costume shop, scene shop, and box office. Matthew and other interns also attended workshops about acting, dancing, and singing which were led by professional performers. At the end of the season, the interns put on their own show showcasing what they learned.

Once Matthew began his studies at Luther, he was promoted to administrative and secretarial duties for the company. This allowed him to gain even more professional experience. Matthew loved having a voice in running the theatre. Even with these extra jobs, Matthew was still able to perform in the mainstage productions as an actor. These experiences and the connections he made were very rewarding. Matthew is most grateful for the influential and professional artists he met at the Showboat. After all, in theatre, connections mean everything.

Vanessa Mendez

Vanessa poses in front of her desk at The San Diego Children's Discovery Museum.When: Summer 2017
Where: The San Diego Children's Discovery Museum, Escondido, CA
Major: Art with a Communications minor

This summer, Vanessa worked in Escondido, California, at The San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum. Vanessa primarily assisted with marketing and event planning. She was in charge of creating calendars, website headers, and social media posts. Her two biggest projects were helping with the Annual Spring Gala and facilitating a partnership with the Westfield Malls. Vanessa enjoyed the independence and creativity the position gave her. She also learned about what it takes to be a graphic designer. This added experience had the biggest impact on Vanessa, and she is now considering going into art marketing and graphic design. Using her artistic ability in this setting was exciting for Vanessa, and she is eager to explore her new field.

Miranda Joslin

Photo for Miranda Joslin's internship story.When: Spring 2016 
Where: The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum 
Major: Art with minors in Spanish and Museum Studies

The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the immigrant story through their objects, traditions, and artwork. For her internship, Miranda worked with the museum’s Chief Curator to update the Fine Art Collection’s records and gain notoriety for the collection on a national level. Specifically, she worked with the Smithsonian Database of American Painting and Sculpture to get 452 new pieces from 96 different artists registered for public use and study. Not only was it exciting to get to work so closely with the collection pieces (both through their records and physically handling the works), but Miranda enjoyed helping the collection grow and bringing attention to the hidden treasures of this “small-town” museum. 


Steffenee Voigt

Steffenee VoigtWhen: Summer, 2016 
Where: The Porter House Museum 
Major: Art with minors in Education and Museum Studies 

The Porter House Museum preserves and interprets its structures, grounds, and collections to inspire diverse audiences to share in the educational and recreational benefits of learning about Adelbert Field Porter and Grace Young Porter in the context of Winneshiek County history and Mr. Porter’s love of the natural environment. During Steffenee’s internship she worked as a docent giving tours of the museum. In addition, she created various museum education resources for the Porter House such as a worksheet for children and a visual aid demonstrating the butterfly mounting process that Bert Porter would have used. This was an exciting experience that helped Steffenee to develop skills in creating fun and engaging educational resources.

Laura Thoms

Laura Thoms '16When: January 2016
Where: Dry Run Studio, Decorah, IA
Major: Theatre

For her internship with Dry Run Studio, Laura participated in meditation and daily discussions with her supervisor. Each day, Laura meditated in a different location on Luther’s campus or around the Decorah area. While at these sites, she would reflect on how ordinary life can be beneficial for creativity. These meditative observations helped her develop a deeper understanding of her own learning process. Through this, Laura was able to refine her creative discussions and process. She also kept a blog, where she was able to track how her ideas grew and became polished. The most rewarding part of the internship was learning how meditation and reflection can heighten creativity. In relation to her theatre major, Laura plans to uses these new tools to further her artistic development.

Abigail Suhr

Abigail with the students of Yaro Dance CompanyWhen: January 2016
Where: Yaro Dance Company, Urbandale, Iowa
Major: Dance with a Psychology minor

Abigail interned with a Yaro dance company, a professional dance company in Urbandale, Iowa. She wanted to learn how a company produces their shows and was glad that one of her duties involved attending board meetings. In these meetings, she learned about choosing dates, venues, and marketing techniques for a season of dance. She also assisted in dance rehearsal. That allowed her to compare Luther’s Movement Fundamentals courses to ballet. Other duties she had included costume upkeep, poster distribution, and being a stagehand during performance. The most rewarding part of her internship was when she saw her name in a program and knew she had done her part to earn it. Abigail’s internship taught her that she wants to be more confident in sharing her ideas because dance is a collaborative art form.

Kristin Anderson

Interned at inspire(d) magazine over January 2016When: January 2016
Inspire(d) Magazine, Decorah, IA

Kristin had the opportunity to intern with the local magazine, Inspire(d), as a graphic designer. Some of the tasks included copy editing blog posts, managing the web page, and developing her own graphics for blog posts. She also had a paper project to work on where she created a kaleidocycle with paper and designed a step-by-step ad on how to recreate it. This experience made Kristin realize that she enjoys the nitty gritty of design work. She also improved her visual communication skills because now she can't help but analyze and deconstruct images. Additionally, she learned a lot about self-management because she worked on campus and met up with her supervisor every few days. This gave her the knowledge of what it takes to own her own graphic design business some day. She was also inspired to start her own web page and submit her art to galleries.

Hannah Tulgren

Hannah Tulgren at Norway House in Minneapolis, MNWhen: January 2016
Norway House, Minneapolis, MN

Hannah Tulgren is a sophomore majoring in art and minoring in management. During the month of January, she worked with the Norway House art gallery, café, and bookstore located in Minneapolis, MN. Her internship focused on marketing and project management, which allowed her to blend her interests in art and business administration. Hannah found the internship to be incredibly valuable because it gave her an inside look at a volunteer-run non-profit. During her experience, she learned the importance of communication, time management, and collaboration. She also discovered a great deal about herself and her goals for life after Luther.

Christie Owens

Christie OwensWhen: Summer 2015
Where: The Painted Turtle
Major: Dance

Christie spent her summer working at The Painted Turtle, a Serious Fun camp in Lake Hughes, California. Founded by Paul Newman, Serious Fun camps provide programs for children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses. Christie taught a creative arts program and worked as a cabin counselor for girls and boys ages seven to sixteen. As a counselor, her daily activities included helping the kids with morning routines, getting ready for bed, eating, and having fun. With the creative arts program, Christie facilitated theatre games, warm-ups, improvisation, movement, dress-up, and imaginative play. Throughout the summer, Christie gained new medical knowledge about the campers’ illnesses while maintaining an energetic and positive outlook. The most rewarding part of her job was creating an atmosphere where the campers could forget their illnesses and just be kids. Christie’s studies at Luther thoroughly prepared her for the work. Her experiences on campus helped her to confidently teach theatre, yoga, music, and dance. She was fortunate enough to dance with kids of all abilities several times a day. She passionately believes that dance can be created by anybody and by adapting the dances to suit her campers’ needs, she gave the kids the opportunity to explore their own creative processes through dance.

Elaena Hoekstra

Elaena HoekstraWhen: Summer 2015
Where: SummerStage at Lapham Peak
Major: Theatre

Elaena spent her summer working as the marketing and publicity intern for SummerStage at Lapham Peak in Delafield, Wisconsin. She was responsible for developing weekly press releases, emails, and daily social media posts. Many of these responsibilities were new to Elaena, so she was able to develop and refine her skills in marketing and publicity. On the weekends, Elaena also worked as a house manager for SummerStage which helped her realize that she prefers working on the artistic side of theatre. She worked with volunteers, caterers, and performers to ensure each performance went smoothly. The most rewarding part of her internship was working with people older than her as she was able to practice voicing her opinions in a new setting. Working independently gave Elaena confidence in her abilities, but she ultimately discovered that she loves working with others.

Maggie Mae Sulentic

Maggie Mae SulenticWhen: Summer 2015
Where: St. Croix Festival Theatre
Major: Theatre

Maggie spent her summer playing the role of Ronette in Little Shop of Horrors at the St. Croix Festival Theatre in Wisconsin. Outside of her work onstage, Maggie taught performance classes to children in kindergarten through high school. She gained many new skills during her internship, including tips for rapid memorization and how to keep her body healthy and performance ready. From her classes, she learned new teaching methods and classroom-management skills. The most rewarding part of Maggie’s work with the Festival Theatre was inspiring her students through her performances. As a child, Maggie was given the gift of the arts by a role model in her life, and being able to return this gift to others was an amazing experience. Maggie’s internship helped her to discover what being a theatre professional entails. She also realized she can handle the difficulties of working in theatre and is more determined to make her dreams a reality.

Rachel Madryga

Rachel Madryga at her internshipWhen: Summer 2015
Where: Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gund Hall
Major: Biology/Art

Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts is known for having a rigorous internship process. Interns are expected to work June through August from 8 to 12 a.m.—with no weekends off—in order to perfect their design skills. Rachel's days began with a lecture that went until lunch. After lunch, she and the other interns would work in the studio until 6 p.m. and would receive an assignment that was to be completed that night. Although this was a daunting challenge, Rachel loved every moment of it. Through her internship, Rachel gained many skills such as model building, architectural drawing, representation styles, and site studies. This experience was valuable to her because it solidified her dream of going to graduate school to become an architect.

Becca Chapin

Becca Chapin

When: Summer, 2014
Where: Des Moines Metro Opera

Celebrating its 42nd festival season this summer, Des Moines Metro Opera is the largest performing arts organization in Iowa. The organization offers three main stage operatic works, produced by over 200 people, including well-accomplished singers, apprenticeship artists, designers, a production crew, and interns. As a wig and makeup intern, Becca washed, blocked, styled, and applied wigs to the singers heads, as well as hats and head pieces. She also helped with makeup and any miscellaneous tasks that needed to be done during the run of the shows. A highlight for Becca was researching, making stencils, and applying temporary prison tattoos to singers using acrylic paint. As a theatre major wanting to go into costume, hair, and makeup design, Becca’s internship gave her a better idea for the industry and made her excited for the career ahead!

Jill Hess

Jill HessWhen: Spring, 2014
The National Portrait Gallery
Major: Art

Jill Hess spent her internship last spring with the National Portrait Gallery, a Smithsonian Museum compromised of the artwork of important people in history and culture. The majority of Jill’s tasks involved working with the Design and Production team on gallery maintenance, installation and tear-down, and other tasks to keep the department and museum running smoothly. Jill built a strong and positive work relationship with the staff and by the end of her internship was trusted to work independently on her own projects. After this formative experience in Washington D.C., Jill’s focus has been to return to the city because of its cultural and historical ties.  Jill is proud to have worked with an important collection in such an established museum and now wants to pursue museum work as a career.

Anna Johnson

Internship Stories - Anna JohnsonWhen: Spring, 2015
Where: Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
Major: Art

Anna is currently interning at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, a museum in Chicago, IL. She has been interning here since the start of the spring semester while studying off campus with Associated Colleges of the Midwest's Chicago Program. Intuit works to ​promote public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of intuitive and outsider art through a program of education, exhibition, collecting, and publishing. Intuitive and Outsider Art is defined by Intuit as the work of artists who demonstrate little influence from the mainstream art world and who instead are motivated by their unique personal visions. Day to day tasks vary greatly at Intuit, ranging from managing the store to putting contacts into the computer system. Anna spends most of her time helping with research on grants or artists. One of Anna’s most memorable tasks was curating a selection of five artworks from the current exhibit to be emphasized during Slow Art Day on April 11. This allowed visitors to spend time looking at artwork at a slow and leisurely pace. Anna also led a discussion afterward to talk about the experience with those who came to participate. Being at Intuit has really shown Anna that she is involved in the right field and has encouraged her to think about opening her own art gallery one day. Anna has a deep love of art and is excited to pursue and explore the career possibilities that it provides.

Kajsa Jones

Kajsa Jones head shot.When: January, 2015
Where: Springboard for the Arts and Nautilus Music-Theater
Major: Management

Kajsa spent her January assisting Springboard for the Arts, an artist resources organization that connects artists with communities, and Nautilus Music-Theater, a small music-theater company in the Twin Cities that creates original music, theater, and opera pieces, as well as innovative productions of existing work. Her involvement with Nautilus included observing an artistic team and filling the role of production assistant for a local performing arts production of “Fugitive Songs,” where she was a part of the rehearsals and performance. Putting up a production in three weeks was complex and difficult, but Kajsa found it very rewarding to be a part of the process. At Springboard, Kajsa helped monitor the Artist Resource Center, attended a resource fair, and worked with the company’s online Artists Services Directory to build a more efficient process for the community. The staff at both organizations helped Kajsa understand what possibilities are available for her as a future artist and administrator. She admires the people she worked with and feels many of the connections she made will continue to be strengthened in the future.

Tim Komatsu

Internship - Tim Komatsu

When: Summer, 2014
Where: Steppenwolf Theatre

Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, IL is one of the largest regional theatres in America and is known nationwide for developing and premiering new plays. Tim spent his summer as their literary intern, which dealt with agent correspondence, reading and reviewing plays, and an in-depth research of theatre history. One of his proudest accomplishments was establishing a process for cataloging Steppenwolf's commission history, which spans almost 30 years and includes plays that have won Tony and Pulitzer prizes. Tim says it was fascinating to be able to dig through documents and contracts, discover several world famous plays that had been commissioned by the theatre, and now hopes to move to Chicago after graduation to continue working in their vibrant theatre scene.

Kara Maloney

Kara Maloney standing outside the Lanesboro Arts Center.When: January, 2015
Where: Lanesboro Arts
Major: Art and Management

This past January, Kara spent her time as an intern for Lanesboro Arts in Lanesboro, Minnesota. The business acts as a creative outlet and benefits the public by providing galleries, performing arts space, artist residencies, and educational outreach. Kara kept plenty busy over the month by helping with general administrative duties, such as mailings and filings, taking pictures for and adding information to their new website, creating an advertising email, researching past and potential grants, advertising and hosting two events, and organizing art supplies for educational classes. One project she spent a lot of time on was comparing the potential revenue and actual revenue created from the rented art lofts. Kara found it would be more cost efficient to turn one loft into an office space since it had such low rental sales, and developed a new way to market the other loft to encourage additional rentals. After her internship, Kara found the variety of tasks, constant use of creativity, and the teamwork required to make progress increased her excitement to work in a non-profit someday, preferably one that makes positive impacts on the community and the economy through art.

Deveny Miles

Denevy MilesWhen: January, 2015
Where: Dry Run Studio
Major: Biology/Dance

Deveny spent this past January as an intern with locally owned Dry Run Studio. She helped brainstorm, plan, and execute several artistic projects connected to Body of Water the interdisciplinary production performed at Luther College. The projects Deveny worked on varied from art installments around Decorah, to a participatory performance on campus and the planning of several educational workshops for different age groups, combining dance and biology. All of these projects were designed to raise awareness about local water issues and a general awareness of water usage. During her time with Dry Run Studios, Deveny was surprised how much thought, time, and work is put into the artistic process, from discussing many possibilities all the way through the execution of the final projects. She learned to collaborate with other artists, discussing and trying new ideas and concepts. She experienced the process of finding a venue for the finished projects, not only an available space, but the one that would showcase the project the best. Finally, the workshops that she helped develop showed her how the arts can inform and improve the understanding of other disciplines for people of all ages.

Evan Sowder

Even Sowder with Rebecca Handler in New York for his photography internship.When: January, 2015
Where: Rebecca Handler Photography
Major: Art

Evan spent his January working with Rebecca Handler, a professional conceptual photographer based in New York City, by planning and carrying out photo shoots. His tasks included interacting with modeling agencies, assisting with light tests, and managing equipment. He also learned about the business functions of operating a photo studio and marketing to potential clients, and gained valuable experience in post-production techniques, including retouching images. Evan was excited to have the opportunity to learn from Rebecca and her staff and interact with other creatives (art directors, models, filmmakers, and make up artists) in New York City. This internship gave Evan a much clearer idea of what it takes to progress in this field, and strengthened his commitment to pursuing photography as a career. 

Brooke Stauffer

Luther student Brooke StaufferWhen: January, 2015
Nordic Chiropractic

This past January, Brooke spent her time as an intern with Dr. Laurie Meinholz--a Luther dance alumna--at Nordic Chiropractic in Decorah.  She completed tasks such as scheduling patients, taking payments, and helping Laurie with other tasks that come with owning your own business.  She even helped transfer patient files from hard copies to an electronic health record keeping system online for patient records and note taking.  This helped cut down on paper, save time, and keep the day running smoothly.  Working in a health care facility that is owned and operated by a single doctor helped Brooke realize the value of meeting and getting to know patients on a personal level.  This internship gave her insight that will be beneficial in her business management and accounting career by understanding the big picture of what goes into operating a business, rather than specializing in one area.

Laura Turco

Internship Stories - Laura TurcoWhen: Fall, 2014
Where: Florence, Italy
Major: Art

Laura’s internship last fall, actually more of an apprenticeship, was with Rossella Lari, one of the most prominent art restorers in Florence, Italy. Rossella has a private studio that she and Laura used during their studio time on the artisan side of the city. Laura also made several trips to visit the studios of other types of restorers in Florence. She visited a gold and frame restorer, a musical instrument restorer, a fresco restorer (during which she climbed scaffolding to see a fresco restoration on the ceiling of Palazzo Vecchio), and a tapestry restorer. Laura also attended several conferences about restoration at the Museo Nove Cento. Rossella was also the curator of the Galleria dell’Accademia, the museum that houses Michelangelo’s famed statue of David. Rossella arranged a private meeting during which she and Laura spent intimate one-on-one time with the statue of David. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Laura learned specifically that she wants to focus on pictorial restoration, which focuses on the painted surface. During studio time, she got to try her hand at actual restoration on a collection of paintings by Lola Costa, a prominent artist of the Impressionist period. With these paintings, she repainted abrasions on the painted surface with watercolor, leveled off stucco on panel painting, and re-stretched canvases, just to mention a few of her tasks. Laura is aspiring to be an art restorer and now has connections in Florence, Italy, the center of restoration of the world. With these connections, she has the goal of attending the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, the most prestigious art restoration school in Italy. Her apprenticeship was truly one of the best experiences of her life and it occurred within the best experience in her life, her study aboard experience in Italy.
Photo credit: Niles George.

Alyssa Wildenauer

Internship Story - Alyssa WildenauerWhen: January, 2015
Where: St. Croix Therapy
Major: Psychology

St. Croix Therapy in Hudson, Wisconsin is a clinic that offers therapeutic services to children and adults. As a non-profit whose mission is “reaching higher potential and creating new opportunities,” they incorporate therapeutic services with social and emotional interactions to improve the quality of life for children and adults. Since it was a volunteer based internship, Alyssa got to experience a wide variety of tasks such as shadowing staff, interacting with client sessions, and working on projects ranging from cleaning bathrooms to creating handouts for future interns. Her favorite part was interacting with clients and therapists, which helped build excitement for a possible future with occupational therapy. One key project Alyssa worked on during her internship was creating an example packet for future interns who wanted a letter of recommendation from St. Croix Therapy. By including a personal statement, resume, skills, and strengths, the organization can write a more direct and focused letter to benefit the intern. Overall, this experience helped Alyssa discover what it might be like to work in a clinical setting, making her feel more informed and prepared for the future.

Holly Williams

Luther student Holly Williams, '15When: January, 2015
Crave Dance Studio

Crave Dance is a dance studio in Decorah, Iowa dedicated to providing quality instruction that focuses on technique while fostering creativity and a love of movement.  Dance classes are available for ages three to adult. Holly spent January of 2015 interning at Crave Dance Studio. During her internship Holly both taught and observed classes while also learning more about the business side of running a dance studio. She worked to create mock start up budgets and a timeline of the skills and abilities of children and adults. Through this internship Holly was able to focus on her goal of opening a dance studio while gaining hands on experience in both the studio office and the teaching dance classes.