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Kyle Graves, Black Hills State University graphic design/communications/theatre major from Rapid City, works with Jayne Rose, marketing manager at The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center during his internship. Graves says working in an eclectic and fun environment is an added bonus to gaining work experience at The Matthews in Spearfish. Graves is a paid employee of The Matthews while earning college credit for his internship at the same time. He says he enjoys his work and the relationships he has forged through his internship.

Students attending Black Hills State University can find unique and beneficial internships in the supportive community of Spearfish. For the 2017 fall semester, The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center has provided three opportunities for current students Elizabeth Harms, Kyle Graves, and Karley Guthmiller to expand their learning and prepare them for their futures.

The interns have a variety of assignments to build skills in their chosen careers, such as researching local history, creating promotional materials, and telling stories through photography.

Harms, an English Education major from Rapid City, has found her task to research century-old Spearfish businesses to be an interesting challenge. Her hard work will help The Matthews educate the public on the history behind the current restorations to important art-works in the theatre. Conducting local research was a new challenge for Harms.

“I’ve never had a topic that I couldn’t Google search to find out the information before this,” said Harms. “It’s a new concept for me. In the end, I’ll have something published with my name on it because of my research this semester.”

Working in an eclectic and fun environment is an added bonus to gaining work experience for Graves, a graphic design/communications/theatre major from Rapid City. Graves is also a paid employee of The Matthews while earning college credit for his internship at the same time. He says he enjoys his work and the relationships he has forged through his internship.

“That’s my favorite part of the job,” said Graves. “It’s awesome that they can give me an opportunity like this. As I’m working, I’m giving something back to the community.” Graves designs graphics, prepares statements for the media, and interacts with the public on a daily basis – all skills that will strengthen his resume.

On her return to college this semester, Guthmiller, a mass communications/photography senior from Lake City, Colo., was disappointed to find The Matthews did not have an open internship position available. However, she persisted by showcasing her strengths and explaining how she could be beneficial and provide quality work. Her persistence paid off when an opportunity arose to help with ArtCentral, a project aimed at advancing arts in the community, and she jumped at the chance to prove herself.

“I think the writing I do for ArtCentral will help me because I’d like to become a photojournalist,” said Guthmiller. “It is fun and The Matthews staff have a lot of experience on their side. The fact that they are willing to share that knowledge is really appreciated.”

All three students advise others to find internships early on in the course of their college studies. Interns experience first-hand what work after graduation will be like.

“A great part of a student internship is that your mentors have a lot of expertise,” said Graves. “They know that you are still learning and you can learn so much from them.”

Janette Hettick, a recruitment and retention specialist at BHSU who assists students with finding internships, knows that positive internships are beneficial for both the employer and the student intern.

“Internships are a window into the communication, teamwork, and customer relation dynamics of a student’s potential future work environment,” said Hettick. “Every task at an internship is an opportunity to learn, further develop skills, and build a reputation of integrity, respect, and positive work ethic.” 

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