Internships galore: Arts & Science students excel as D'Arcy Fellows this summer

Internships galore: Arts & Science students excel as D’Arcy Fellows this summer

Internships have always been a great way for college students to enhance their education outside of the classroom, while also giving them real-world experience before they graduate. Since 2016, as part of the D’Arcy Fellows program 25 students in The University of Tulsa’s Kendall College of Arts and Science have undertaken internships with 13 different businesses and nonprofit organizations.

During summer 2020, five TU students were named D’Arcy Fellows: Molly Burns, Dylan Chilcoat, Naomi Dunn, Lauren Kerr and Emma Palmer. For several months, these intrepid individuals helped their host organizations, gained experience in potential career fields and overcame obstacles tossed in their paths by COVID-19.

Molly Burns

Molly Burns wearing sunglasses and a blue shirt while standing beside a white pillar with the blue sea in the backgroundMolly Burns is pursuing a BFA in graphic design at TU, with minors in art history and advertising. Her summer 2020 internship was with Mainspring LLC. Burns sought out her internship hoping to gain experience in a different field of design. Initially, her role entailed updating Mainspring’s two websites and setting up a company social media strategy. However, her position quickly evolved into not just updating but consolidating their two websites into a more user-friendly one. Additionally, Burns was tasked with creating content calendars and general templates for their social media pages, including setting up software that ensures posts are consistent in time, verbiage and design.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Burns’ internship was remote with flexible hours. To overcome the challenge of properly scheduling herself, she established a routine and set deadlines. Another skill Burns worked on was communicating ideas in the concept stages of a project: “Explaining my thought process and learning how to back up my choices in order to ‘sell’ them on my favorite design was something I hadn’t really done before!”

Dylan Chilcoat

young Caucasian man smiling and wearing a black sweatshirtDylan Chilcoat is an English major at TU. His summer 2020 internship was with Living Arts of Tulsa. As a gallery intern, Chilcoat’s responsibilities included helping set up the gallery (e.g., moving podiums and walls, mounting artwork), promoting Living Arts’ education program, writing reports and letters, archiving old material, tracking grant allocations and various other tasks. Previously only having written creative pieces, Chilcoat sought out this internship in order to gain experience in advertising and media writing.

From skills specific to an art gallery to corresponding with organizations and running a social media platform, Chilcoat used his internship experience as a chance to develop useful skills he had not yet learned: “I was almost completely clueless when I came into this internship. Tasks like writing reports, plans and social media content were pretty hard without any prior experience. To overcome these challenges, I had to work with my team!”

Naomi Dunn

Naomi Dunn outdoors in front of green leaves on a sunny day wearing glasses and a black topNaomi Dunn is completing a double major in anthropology and art, with an emphasis in graphic design, at TU. She also is pursuing an art history minor. At 108|Contemporary, Dunn served as the facilitating arts intern. Dunn initially pursued this internship because she wanted experience working in an art gallery, given that she would like to work in a gallery or museum after graduation.

Dunn’s internship entailed working mainly on graphic design and some animation. She created vinyl posters, an advertisement, banners for the website gift shop, edited images for the gift shop and animated scenes for two collaborative social media videos. “Through this internship I learned more about the art world through an insider’s look at the day-to-day mechanics of a local gallery,” remarked Dunn. Working remotely proved challenging as it was hard to share designs and collaborate with coworkers virtually. However, she got around this through email, text and voice and video calls.

Lauren Kerr

Lauren Kerr smiling, wearing a black top and standing in front of framed visual art in a galleryLauren Kerr is pursuing a photography major and an art history minor at TU. During the summer, she served as a media and communications intern with Tulsa City Council. Kerr sought this internship as a way to get a better understanding of how media is used for large-scale communication within an organization that has potentially widespread outreach. Her internship entailed a variety of tasks, from attending several live-streamed meetings throughout the week and watching/recording citizen feedback, to creating, designing and establishing community involvement areas within the council’s website.

Through her internship, Kerr was able to learn about the various structures of local government and how to engage with the public on a governmental level. One challenge she faced was the virtual component, which made communication between partners more difficult. “However,” Kerr said, “I think that not being able to meet/discuss things in person results in the whole team becoming more intentional and direct when asking questions or feedback.”

Emma Palmer

Emma Palmer is an English, creative writing and art major at TU. She is also minoring in art history. Palmer’s internship was with Third Floor Design, which she applied for through Handshake. Seeking to gain more experience in her field, her internship mainly entailed graphic design work, including designs for books, postcards, posters and outdoor signage for a butterfly house.

young Caucasian woman smiling, wearing a white top, and standing in front of a wall of green ivyDuring her internship, Palmer not only honed her technical skills, she also obtained a lot of practice with something that is equally important in her field: working with people. “Meeting with clients takes up a solid third or so of the process, if not more,” said Palmer. “It’s something that you can only really get good at once you are working an actual job. So, I was grateful for the practice!” In terms of challenges, she cited time management while working from home as her biggest. From navigating Zoom to critiquing work, certain tasks were “a new kind of challenging when done remotely,” yet the internship gave Palmer valuable time-management experience.

If you are interested in hosting a D’Arcy intern, please contact Suzy Thompson at for more information.