September 4, 2013
Kelly Lynch (right) with camp colleague.
Name: Kelly Lynch
Hometown: Sugar Land
Internship: Unit Leader for the High School Girls Division at Interlochen Arts Camp, part of Interlochen Center for the Arts
How did you find out about this internship?
My cello professor, Jeffrey Lastrapes, is on the string faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp. Last year he encouraged me to apply for a summer job; I applied and was offered a position as a high school girls counselor. This year I was offered a higher position as a unit leader for the high school girls division.
What was the application and interview process like?
Since I had previously worked at Interlochen, I only had to fill out an application and had a phone interview with the director of the high school girls division. For the counselor position I had the year before, I filled out an application, sent in three letters of recommendation and had a phone interview.
What kind of work do you do for your employer?
As a unit leader I oversee around 100 high school girls who will be freshmen or sophomores in high school, along with their 12 cabin counselors. My job is to be something between a mom, a waitress and a best friend—basically I am a counselor for the counselors. I work one on one with the counselors I supervise—giving them feedback and helping solve problems. I have administrative duties such as attendance, checking email, camper checkouts, taking parent phone calls and many other miscellaneous things. This is a 24-hour job, but I love every minute of it!
How has Texas Tech prepared you for this opportunity?
If I had decided to go to another university, I may have never learned about this opportunity. My professor, like other great faculty members at Texas Tech, saw in me the ability to succeed at this job, encouraged me to apply for it and wrote a recommendation letter for me. He told me that I would work harder than I ever had to before but that I would have a wonderful time, and it is true! This sort of networking and encouragement has brought the name of Texas Tech to Interlochen and will continue to do so.
What have you learned from this experience?
Working at Interlochen is an amazing experience. I have learned how to work with high school students, organizational and administrative skills, and how to be a leader. I have also learned about the different forms of fine arts, the students who are so passionate for them, and the community and collaboration that happens among them.
How will this experience help you in your future career?
Although some people may think this is just a “camp job,” I have gained so much knowledge that can be applied to my career after I graduate. I have learned so much about creative problem-solving, mediation, how to give and receive feedback, and how to be a boss and a best friend at the same time. This is also a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and learn how to work with very different types of people. Interlochen has around 200 camp life staff, and I work closely with the 51 high school girls staff and also the 45 high school boys staff. The amazing women that I work with are between the ages of 19 and 29 and come from all over the country. Being able to work with and talk to people from very different backgrounds and places is thrilling and also very educational.
What advice would you give to other students about the internship experience?
This summer job requires you to be flexible, hardworking, patient and tough. Working with high school girls can be a challenge, and you have to really want to do it for seven weeks out of the summer. Sometimes you have to make yourself laugh when you really want to cry, and you learn to love the little moments that make camp so special. You have to wake up early and eat cafeteria food, but you’ll have the time of your life.
What do you hope to do in the future?
First of all, I hope to be able to continue working at Interlochen. After graduating I would love to be an elementary general music teacher or a middle school orchestra director, and in the future I hope to be working in fine arts advocacy or outreach.
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