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Summer internship blog series: MoMA intern combines passion for art and business

By Contributing Writer on August 9, 2013
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Pam Duncan ’14

Pam Duncan ’14 outside the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Colgate students, interning this summer at companies such as NBCUniversal, Hukkster, Nike, and Facebook, are sharing their experiences. This post is written by Pam Duncan ’14 at the Museum of Modern Art.

This summer, I am interning on the Special Programming and Events team at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. MoMA has the most extensive collection of modern and contemporary art in the world and is one of the most visited museums in the country.

One of my team’s major responsibilities is to plan MoMA benefit events. At these benefits, major benefactors give as much as $100,000 to the museum in exchange for a seat at the party. That might seem like a steep price to pay for dinner and dancing, but these benefactors know that their contribution will benefit the arts in a number of ways.

As a division of the External Affairs Department, the special events team has a lot of contact with MoMA trustees. One of my summer responsibilities has been to assist with all communication with these trustees.

For example, a letter was sent out to the trustees last week, and it was my duty to edit the letters and the envelopes to ensure that they were perfect. An incorrect salutation or a misspelled word has the potential to upset the trustees, which would be very unfortunate, since an upset trustee is much less likely to continue to give money, time, and gifts to the museum.

Every Tuesday, I attend MoMA internship events with the other 47 interns. These events expose the interns to different facets of the museum and the art world. Past events have included a visit to Agnes Gund’s home to hear about her time as a trustee and art collector, a curator-led walk-through of the Claes Oldenburg exhibit, and a question/answer session with Glenn Lowry, the museum’s director.

Back in October of 2012, I told Teresa Olsen in Career Services that I wanted to have an internship that combined my passions for both art and business. She suggested that I reach out to Maddy Casella ’11, who is currently working at Sotheby’s (a company that is in the business of art – perfect for me!). When I spoke with Maddy, she told me that I just had to apply to the MoMA internship – she had interned there and had loved it. If I had not tapped into my Colgate resources, I would have never learned about this opportunity.

As much as I have loved my time at Colgate, this internship has made me excited for the real world. If I could love my post-graduation job half as much as I have loved this internship, I would be very happy indeed.

-Pam Duncan ’14

With the help of the university’s remarkable alumni network, Colgate’s Center for Career Services helps hundreds of undergraduates find invaluable internships each summer. For more information on the center and its efforts on behalf of Colgate students, visit colgate.edu/careerservices.

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