Cameron Smith is a rising junior and a Radio/Television/Film major in the School of Communications. As a Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP) recipient, he is interning this summer at The Modern Dance Music Research and Archiving Foundation.
Did you hear the one about a Northwestern Student walking into a radio station full of House Music Legends? That’s not a cheesy joke, but rather, it has been my life for the past couple of months.
Through my involvement with WNUR, Northwestern’s official radio station, one of the biggest campus run stations in the US, I was able to obtain an internship for the summer. More specifically, I met my bosses for the summer during an interview panel that the station had organized towards the end of the school year. The panel was on the music industry, with a couple entertainment lawyers, former DJs, and a Production Manager for a local Chicago Venue engaging in the discussion. I listened to entertainment lawyer Charles Matlock speak about his involvement in the industry and his desire to preserve the immense history of Chicago dance music. He spoke about his new company, ‘The Modern Dance Music Research and Archiving Foundation’ that he had been putting together with Northwestern Alum Lauren Lowery. Curious about the Foundation, I spoke with both of them afterwards. Lauren informed me that she was looking for interns for the summer and I put my name into the running right away.
My responsibilities with the Foundation have included but have not been limited to, operating social media, putting together their new archive in Evanston and more excitingly, producing their new show on WNUR. Titled ‘Vintage House’, the show is meant to illuminate the rich history of House Music in Chicago. This is accomplished through Lauren Lowery inviting guests into the studio for interviews. Some of these guests are pioneers and legends in the field, most notably Jesse Saunders, who is credited with creating the first House Music Record. Other guests have been former WNUR DJs, too. Their wisdom and experience has been especially significant for me considering that I will be the producer of WNUR’s dance music programming ‘Streetbeat’ in the fall.
I’ve gotten the chance to wear countless hats during my time with the Dance Music Foundation, and have enjoyed helping a young company maximize its potential. Lauren Lowery has been able to help me in my own career pursuits as well, through using her status on the Northwestern Alumni panel to help me meet individuals that share my passion of creating films. I’ve gotten experience with networking and also learned a thing or too about professionalism. I would recommend that students use their organizations on campus to invite people they look up to talk. You never know who’ll be interested and what opportunities they could potentially offer you.
Here’s to another great summer!