Beyond the Classroom: On Campus Writing Arts Internship

Marissa poses for a portrait while wearing a green plaid shirt.

Today, we talk to Marissa Stanko, a junior Writing Arts major from Quinton, NJ (Salem County) with a concentration in Creative Writing, who transferred to Rowan from community college. She tells us about how she found an internship within Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts as a Writing Arts Intern and the experience she’s gained from it.

Marissa stands in front of a brick wall.

 Why did you choose Rowan University?

I started considering four-year colleges when I was in high school. Rowan had always been on my radar since it is close enough to me that I can commute and is also affordable. However, it became my number one option when I switched my major from Biology to Writing my freshman semester at community college. Rowan’s Writing Arts program is so unique that I couldn’t find anything like it anywhere, and my community college mentor Jorie Rao, who is a Writing Arts alumna, strongly recommended the program. I also wanted a university that was a little smaller and closer to home.

Why did you choose your major? 

Originally, I wanted to be a writing professor, and I knew that Writing Arts would help me achieve that goal. Recently, I have shifted my career interest to higher education administration. I was afraid that I would have to change my major, but this semester I am realizing the universality of Writing Arts and how what I am learning in my courses and internship will help me develop professional skills I can use anywhere. I am also considering adding another concentration or a minor, options that wouldn’t be open to me in another major. The main allure was definitely the uniqueness of the program and the flexibility it offered me.

How did you come to find your internship? Did anyone push you in the right direction?

Marissa is smiling and posing in front of the Communications and Creative Arts building.

I noticed during my first semester that my department offered internships as courses, and I was really interested in learning more. I thought that the internships were only available to seniors, but late in my first semester the department put up an Instagram post saying that they were looking for internship applicants. I applied the next day, interviewed the next week and registered for the next semester. I’m a go-getter — I kept my eye out for opportunities, and I went out of my comfort zone by deciding to apply for the position basically overnight. One of the best in-the-moment decisions I’ve ever made.

Marissa stands below a sign for the communications building.

What’s been the best part of your internship? Have you learned anything new?

I have! Before I started my internship, I had a lot of professional experience, but I was lacking in knowledge of current digital platforms. Since becoming a Writing Arts intern, I’ve learned how to use Weebly, Canva, Hootsuite and other platforms that I know are currently in use by higher education administrators at Rowan and other colleges. I’m still learning more about the digital side of administration and how to become digitally literate so that I can integrate that knowledge into my professional endeavors.

Has your experience helped you inside and outside of school?

Yes, because I’m learning new things about myself. Something I’ve been thinking about lately is that I’ll be moving into the professional world very soon, and the fact that a lot of employers prefer employees who can create and execute great ideas. I’ve held a lot of leadership positions before, but for the most part I preferred to let other people come up with ideas that I would then carry out, and I was worried that I’m not enough of an idea person to thrive professionally. One of the very first things I was required to do in this internship was to contribute ideas and listen to the rest of my team discuss them. That was hard, but eventually some of my ideas were chosen to be put into practice, and I learned something valuable — I can come up with great ideas. I have taken that newfound confidence and applied it in my internship, my job and my classes. Knowing that I am more versatile than I imagined and that I am a creative person boosted my self-confidence and my motivation to succeed.

Any advice to anyone looking for an internship in Writing Arts or in general?

If an opportunity becomes available to you that looks interesting, take it. If you are looking particularly for a Writing Arts internship, check out the department’s social media and the Writing Arts intern portfolios to find out more. Contact the professors who are listed for the courses and ask them how to become an intern. Really though, the most important thing is to keep your eyes and mind open. If you are too afraid to take chances and try something new, you will never experience life to the fullest. That’s been my mantra throughout my college years, and it has always led me to new lessons and life experiences.

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Story and photography by:
Bianca Torres, junior music industry major

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