In her fall semester, Rowan Hewson interned at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. She met with Michele Poruban, a career advisor in Career and Professional Development, who suggested the opportunity. When Rowan started her internship, she began her day by selling movie tickets in the box office. Then, she would go up to the office and review films that they had screened over the years. The theater had no real record of what entertainment they had featured from 1903 to 1996, so Rowan was assigned to spend a few hours every week at the Phoenixville Historical Society to go through their newspaper archives and find any advertisements in the entertainment sections for special features at the Colonial. She compiled a list of features while learning how to use a microfiche machine. Her favorite aspect of the experience was going through the newspaper archives; however, it was also challenging to scroll through almost 90 years of daily newspapers and not always finding the information she needed.
Working independently was a skill that this internship helped Rowan to strengthen since she was on her own researching. “There wasn’t anyone giving me step-by-step guidelines on how to go about the research. I just knew that I had to do it and to figure out when I had enough information,” adds the senior. By learning how to use the microfiche machine, Rowan was able to discover a new way to conduct research other than looking online. She can now apply these new research methods in the classroom or in her future career.
Who I Met that Made a Difference
“I think that the biggest group of people who make a difference at the theater are the volunteers. It is owned by a nonprofit organization and relies heavily on volunteers to do the jobs that every patron witnesses when they walk into a theater, such as selling tickets and concessions, ushering, cleaning up after patrons, etc. They have about 200 volunteers, but are always looking for more because their help ensures that the people working higher up can focus on the success of the theater behind the scenes without splitting time.”
Rowan never had a job that required her to be in an office or do a lot of computer work, so learning how to use different data entry programs is going to be helpful in the future. She feels more confident in her ability to work in a professional office space with experienced people. “With my internship, I felt like when I wasn’t actually at the theater or the historical society, I was still thinking about what I needed to do for it and trying to research at home if I didn’t have enough time at the other locations,” explains Rowan. Overall, she learned about the theatre’s history and its future plans. After interning at the Colonial Theatre, Rowan is not sure if this is the career path that she would pursue. However, she definitely made important connections with her co-workers because while they were very knowledgeable about the film industry, she felt that she was able to teach them about the theater, as well.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
The coolest part of the experience was that the theater was so close to Ursinus and Rowan was able to go back with her friends to see a movie and show them what she was working on. The theater was also undergoing renovations, which was interesting to see.
Rowan advises to go to Career and Professional Development or any type of networking fair that you can find. As an English major, she was only looking for internships that would gel with her major, such as a public relations position. Once she met with Michele, she felt a huge wave of relief because she didn’t have to search for an internship alone. Rowan found this internship not only worked with her Film Studies minor, but was a great opportunity, overall.