Views from the Cube: Time Warner Cable News in Raleigh


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Bethany (’17) is a journalism major in The Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications, with a minor in Asian American studies.

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I was a news intern with News Carolina 14 (Time Warner Cable News in Raleigh) this summer. I know I want to work in the media industry eventually, so I thought it would be wise to pick up some broadcast news skills.

As a news intern, I rotated throughout different departments in the newsroom for the first few weeks. I sat with the assignment desk and learned how they sort through hundreds of pitches a day and assign the interesting ones to reporters. I learned how to edit VOs and VOSOTs (voiceovers and voiceover-to-sound segments) with the media management desk and watched them communicate with live trucks in the field. I wrote my first VO and VOSOT scripts with the producers and learned how to build a “wheel,” which determines the order the segments run in. I followed reporters and photographers to government meetings and live shots at 5 a.m. in the morning. I helped the web producers write up stories and post them to the website with video clips.

At first, I was intimidated by this internship because I had absolutely no broadcast experience prior to this summer. The technology was overwhelming and I constantly felt like I had no idea what I was doing or what everyone was talking about during meetings. I felt insecure about the scripts I wrote because they weren’t as “television friendly” as the ones the producers wrote. But after two months, I finally felt comfortable with the software used in the newsroom. I even knew most of the employees’ names. I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone — and it paid off.

Towards the end of the internship, my supervisor asked all the interns to come together and put together a newscast with no rehearsal beforehand. One intern was the anchor, another the reporter, and so on. I was the producer, so I came in early that morning to write scripts for the national stories I thought were interesting. I organized my “wheel” and communicated with the news director and the intern operating the soundboard in the production room, and even dealt with “breaking news” halfway through the newscast. Even though it was hectic and definitely challenging, I felt so proud at the end of it because I had just proved to myself that I can do broadcast news — something I had previously ruled out of my future possible careers.

Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned from this internship is that internships are meant for students to try various careers and see what fits them the best. Just because you don’t think you’re going to excel in a certain field does not necessarily mean you should rule out all possibilities of an internship there. At the end of the day, we’re there to grow and no growth is possible without risks.

Views from the Cube: Lendlease Construction Inc.


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Daniel San Gabino (McCormick ’16) is a civil engineering major. He spent this summer as a project management and construction intern at Lendlease Construction Inc.

Daniel (McCormick '16) assisted project managers on several construction projects in Chicago this summer as a project management and construction intern.

Daniel (McCormick ’16) assisted project managers on several construction projects in Chicago this summer as a project management and construction intern.

What are your main internship responsibilities – from daily tasks to bigger projects?
During my internship, I have had the opportunity to assist several project managers on the 451 E. Grand (Parkview) and the Abe & Ida Cooper Center projects. Parkview is a $251 million, 68-story high-rise building designed by renowned New York architect Robert A.M. Stern located in Streeterville. On the other hand, the Cooper Center is a small, 16,000 square-foot office facility funded by Jewish Child & Family Services located in Chicago’s far North Side. For Parkview, we are currently in the process of bidding out the job to various subcontractors and providing preconstruction services to our client, Related Midwest. This task includes preparing bid packages for trades such as earth retention, caissons, elevator, precast concrete and excavation. We then host scope review meetings with the various companies to discuss their bid before we award various trades the job. I have also generated and filed cost analysis reports, submittals, and request for information documents. As for the Cooper Center, we have just broken ground and I have helped with submittal documentation and preconstruction meetings.

What have you enjoyed the most about your internship?
Throughout my internship, I have had to integrate my undergraduate knowledge of structural, geotechnical, environmental, transportation, and foundation engineering on and off the job-site in order to accomplish my day to day tasks and responsibilities. I really have to thank the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering for preparing me so well to take the next step into the real world. My ultimate goal is to be the project manager on a skyscraper project in Chicago, and after this internship I can say that I am one step closer towards accomplishing that goal. Upon graduation, it would be a dream come true to have a full-time job with Lendlease.

What advice do you have for students pursuing internships in this field?
I would recommend that students interested in pursuing internships in civil engineering or construction do a lot of research about the companies beforehand so you have a better idea of the type of projects and areas they specialize in. My past two internships were mainly transportation-based and I was able to work on a highway and light rail train expansion in Illinois and Colorado. This time around, I knew that I wanted to go into building construction so I decided to go with the top residential builder in the Midwest which is Lendlease, who built the Trump Tower. Calling companies for information and creating an excel spreadsheet compiling all of your research is invaluable and allows you to visually compare and assess your options.

SIGP Views from the Cube: AIESEC international exchange program


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AIESECMatthias (’17) is studying mathematics with a double minor in Spanish and Latin American history in Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences. This summer Matthias worked as a marketing intern with AIESEC, an international exchange program, for Fundação Cecosne in Recife, Brazil as part of the Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP). Matthias’ career goals are varied, ranging from education to consulting to architecture/design.

I entered my job search this summer with the goal of completing an interesting internship while also exposing myself to new people, situations, and ideas. My experience with AIESEC in Recife has been nothing short of this.

The most unique part of my internship has been the work climate. Although I had a supervisor, the work was incredibly independent. A team of three other interns and I were responsible for designing the projects we wished to accomplish. We got to decide what we could best do to help increase the impact radius of Fundação Cecosne. This work environment fostered many opportunities for leadership, as well as a general entrepreneurial spirit in the office. While it’s certainly not what I expected when I applied for the marketing position, it’s given me new skills and experiences that I would have otherwise not been exposed to.

I want to first introduce Cecosne as an organization and business. The nonprofit is thirty years old and focuses on educating and providing a home to at-risk youth in the Recife area. To cover its costs, the organization owns and operates three businesses on-site: a bakery, a restaurant, and a hostel. Financially, the organization is stable, but has had problems in the past with broken equipment, lack of restaurant patronage, and a lack of web presence.

Knowing this, and to the extent that we chose our own course in the internship, we pursued several goals, namely: (1) A $6000 fundraising campaign to renovate existing facilities; (2) Increased web presence via the creation of an Instagram profile and the updating of a Facebook profile; (3) Increased street presence with an advertising campaign in the neighborhood. Each day we would either divide into groups of two to work on the projects, or collaborate as four to brainstorm and contribute ideas. I worked mostly on fundraising and advertising. In the process, I taught myself how to use Microsoft Publisher to design banners and flyers, as well as practiced grant writing technique.

After several weeks of work, both in and out of the office, I can say that I’m very satisfied with what my team and I have accomplished. We were moderately successful with the fundraising campaign – targeting local businesses, we were able to fund the purchase of two industrial kitchen tables and cabinets, roughly half of our target goal. The most difficult part of the process was communicating in Portuguese. Although I am proficient on a professional level in Spanish, I was only just starting to become conversational in Portuguese when we began making calls. Luckily, I was able to recruit help from the Cecosne administration to set up meetings with local businesses, at which we were able to communicate adequately our message.

CecosneThe advertising campaign was more successful. To the right is the advertising banner I designed for the restaurant. I also designed a banner for the bakery and quartersheets to advertise the two in the neighborhood. The advertisements ensure that both the bakery and restaurant, invisible from the street, will get the exposure they need to generate revenue for the organization for years to come.

The part I’ve enjoyed most about my time in Brazil, however, has not been the work but rather the people I’ve met and interacted with. Of the four interns, we are from the United States, Mexico, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Beyond this, other interns in the Recife area hail from dozens of countries from around the world. The host with whom I lived is Chilean; his roommates, Venezuelan and Peruvian. Chances stand that I will not see most of them ever again, but the time I’ve had with them has been incredible. I’ve been exposed to a plethora of languages, values, and perspectives, and I’ve adjusted to completely new living conditions in a culture and city so removed from the one I’ve grown up in. There are few words that can truly sum up my time in Brazil and the people I’ve met. I hope these suffice.


SIGP Views from the Cube: Elite DNA Comprehensive Therapy


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Michelle ('16) interned this summer with Elite DNA Comprehensive Therapy as a part of SIGP.

Michelle (WCAS ’17) interned this summer with Elite DNA Comprehensive Therapy as a part of SIGP.

Michelle Pickett is a rising junior in WCAS, pursuing a major in Cognitive Science and a minor in Human Communication Sciences. She is studying to become a Speech-Language Pathologist and interned this summer with Elite DNA Comprehensive Therapy as a part of the Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP).

When I began my internship at Elite DNA Comprehensive Therapy this summer, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I knew I would be observing speech therapy sessions and helping with office paperwork and their day camp, but I could have never imagined that I would make the connections I have not only with the therapists, but with the clients as well. To say this internship has been a learning-experience is an understatement. It has been so much more. I cannot begin to list the new skills and techniques that I have acquired at this clinic, but what will remain with me most is the rewarding feeling you experience when you see progress being made and you realize the impact that the therapists have on these kids’ lives. This feeling is what has solidified my interest in working with children as a speech pathologist.

Elite DNA is a clinic that provides speech and occupational therapy as well as mental health services. Their focus is mainly on children, but some adults are seen as well. During the summer, they also offer an enrichment day camp for younger children. In a job description it might say that my responsibilities include scanning and uploading patient documents, helping in their enrichment camp, and shadowing speech pathologists. While these are my daily tasks, they manifest themselves in very different ways. One day I may be finger painting and making paper animals, while others I may be on the floor building towers and racing cars. This internship has taught me that speech therapy is more than alphabet flashcards and evaluations. While these are important pieces, simple play can be just as useful when integrated with traditional therapy. I have learned that, sometimes, letting the child lead can foster the most effective learning opportunities.

This internship has provided me with hands-on experience for my future career. My advice for students pursuing internships in this field is to not be afraid to personally reach out to clinics that you have an interest in and ask to shadow. In this field, hands-on experience is what can distinguish you from others when applying to graduate school, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and call. I also found it helpful to intern in a clinic that offers occupational and behavioral therapy as I had the opportunity to observe some of those sessions as well. This allowed me to learn about different types of therapy and to see firsthand how they complement each other.

Overall, this internship has taught me much more than I expected and has left me with an increased confidence in my career path, knowledge that cannot be learned from textbooks, and new friends that have made this experience unforgettable.

Career Advising Series: Making a Good Impression with Your Informational Interviewing Strategy


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Mearah, Student Career Advising,TGSBy Mearah Quinn-Brauner, NCA assistant director of student career advising, serving students in The Graduate School.

Conducting informational interviews is a great way to gather intelligence on a career field that sounds interesting to you while also building connections with people working in the field. While informational interviewing is in some ways very simple—you just have to talk to people!—there are many things you can do to help ensure you make a good impression. That positive impression can increase the likelihood that an interviewee will share her contacts with you; will feel comfortable recommending you for an open position; and will even think of you as a good candidate for an opportunity in her organization, should one arise. Here are some tips:

  • Make scheduling as easy as possible. This includes keeping your email brief (one to two sentences each: who you are, why you are writing, and what you want), using formatting to make your email easy to skim (now is the time to play with sentence-long paragraphs!), and ending with a clear request for a conversation, so your contact doesn’t have to guess about your reasons for writing. Once you hear back, suggest some dates and times. If your conversation will be over the phone, share your phone number, but also write that you are happy to call your contact, if she prefers. Most people are very busy and will appreciate your willingness and ability to take on the details of scheduling.
  • Do research before the informational interview. Read your contact’s LinkedIn profile and everything else you can find about her online. Scour her organization’s webpage. Then, develop some questions that you can’t answer by Googling. This whole process may take as little as an hour and will help you make the best use of your contact’s limited time.
  • Ask questions that you are really interested in getting answered and then LISTEN to the answers. Nothing is more impressive than a really good listener. Don’t spend a lot of time developing complex questions that you think will knock the socks off of your contact, if you couldn’t care less what the answers will be. Ask thoughtful questions that will help you gather the information you need. Also, once you’ve asked a question, try to simply pay attention to what your contact is saying and not zone out until they stop talking and it’s your turn to ask another question. Your contact will feel like he is wasting his time if he can tell you aren’t really listening.
  • Ask if you can take notes, and then take notes. If you are doing many informational interviews, the information will start to get jumbled in your head. So, make sure you have a system for keeping track of everything you learn. Also, you demonstrate your organizational skills and your interest by recording the information your contact shares.
  • Make it easy for the interviewee to help you. In other words, don’t ask for something that your contact will have a hard time delivering. Most obviously, this means not asking for a job or internship, since most people are not in a position to hand these out (even if they wanted to). This also means not asking your contacts what career you should pursue. They barely know you! Instead, ask specific questions about their jobs and career paths so that you can use the information you gather to make your own decisions about what career to pursue.
  • Don’t ask “Do you like your job?” This question is misguided for at least two reasons: First, you and your interviewee may have very different interests, skills, and career values, which means that whether they like their job may be interesting to know, but not really relevant to your career exploration or job search. If you are trying to understand what might make this particular job enjoyable, meaningful, and rewarding to you, ask specific questions to elicit relevant information. For example, if you know you enjoy working on projects with others, you might ask, “What kinds of opportunities do you have to collaborate with others in the office?” Or, “Could you tell me about some team projects you are working on?”Second, not everyone likes their job all of the time, but most people will feel it’s important to maintain a positive attitude about their job. Especially when talking to strangers. So, avoid inadvertently asking your interviewee to lie to you by rephrasing this question to get at what you really want to know. If you are looking for information about what makes the position challenging, ask “What are some of the challenges in this job?” Or, “What do you think are the biggest challenges for new employees in this organization?”

Once you’ve made that good first impression, give yourself the opportunity to build on it by following up! One of the most common questions I get about informational interviewing is how to keep in touch with contacts after an initial informational interview and thank you email. My advice is to make following up easier by ending your first conversation with the question, “do you mind if I contact you in the future with any additional questions?” Of course, you don’t need to ask this in order to email, but if it helps you feel more relaxed about writing again, do it.

Also, remember that most people will be happy to hear from you again, especially if you had a pleasant first conversation.

Try these strategies as you plan your next informational interview!

SIGP Views from the Cube: The Atlantis Project


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SIGP recipient EsterEster Hernandez (WCAS ’18) is an anthropology major interning this summer with the Atlantis Project as part of the Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP).

The internship that I took part in was under the coordination of the Atlantis Project. This is a program that I came about through the Internet while spending time researching pre-med opportunities for my summer. I was searching for some volunteer opportunities that could relate to medicine such as working at a clinic or helping at a shelter center. I was considering opportunities that would allow me to experience something in the health system. I had never shadowed doctors nor had the opportunity and after reading the purpose and goals of this program I was intrigued to apply immediately. The application process was a very simple online form. The letters of recommendation were also an online format. This simple application process was easily accessible and took no efforts explaining my interest in medicine. It offered me a broad range of programs that took place in various parts of Spain as well as various different times throughout the year. After getting accepted I was thrilled at how informed the organization kept me after submitting my deposit. They helped me with various inland and foreign coordinators to guide me throughout my entire trip.

My experience abroad has been beyond helpful towards my career goals. I am observing doctors of various departments in a local hospital under a different health care system than the one I am accustomed to in the United States. As an academic student, pursuing a career in the healthcare and medicine, & not having a close relation to any contacts that have such a career it is entirely useful to experience real life work of different specialties. It helps to identify what is real in a health system and what is perhaps myth or fiction such as knowing everything in a field instantly. I was able to see how even doctors are sometimes unaware of a certain illness and have to confer with other physicians or even literature to find a rapid response. It has helped me see what talents and abilities I will need to enhance or work on to be able to reach my goal as a medic.

I was also able to interact with strangers from different places in the US and had the opportunity to enhance my people skills. It was a foreign experience entirely but I was able to trust my coordinators and my fellows to make the best of the experience. It was a well deserved experience to meet other aspiring medics as well as members of a different culture performing healthcare responsibilities as one unit.

‘Cats Connect: What I learned from networking with NU alumni


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Sophomore Hannah Wald attended the Chicago 'Cats Connect networking reception on July 15.

Sophomore Hannah Wald attended the Chicago ‘Cats Connect networking reception on July 15.

Hannah Wald is a WCAS sophomore double majoring in international studies and political science. Hannah attended the ‘Cats Connect student-alumni networking reception in Chicago on July 15. Hannah is originally from California and is interested in pursuing a career in marketing and communications.

Why did you attend the Cats Connect alumni-student networking event in Chicago?
I decided to attend the ‘Cats Connect Student-Alumni networking reception because I wanted to be able to meet some great alumni who could provide me with valuable insight on their careers after Northwestern and opportunities to think about career paths based on our interests and passions. I knew what my major was and what I was interested in, but I didn’t have any idea on where to look for what kinds of careers I could make from them or what kind of industry I wanted to go into. Talking to alumni really opened my eyes into exploring the possibilities of different career paths and to not limit myself to just one field. I learned the importance of being open to different fields and to allow myself to try new things along the way as I look into building my career.

Northwestern students and alumni network at the Chicago 'Cats Connect.

Northwestern students and alumni network at the Chicago ‘Cats Connect.

How did you navigate the networking event? What advice do you have for other students?
I navigated the event by finding people to talk to one-in-one so I could have a meaningful conversation with an alumnus/alumna. Because of my hearing disorder, I often feel overwhelmed in a big group of people talking at once and it makes it difficult for me to hear people. It made things easier for me to talk and not be anxious, and with the more personal interactions I was able to receive more valuable insight catered to my unique experiences. I was comfortable talking with the alumni at the event because I knew that they were there to listen to me and for me to listen to them and to have a conversation.

Did you meet anyone interesting?
At the Cats Connect event, I met with two different people, Kristen Grisius from the Law table and Marilyn Stein from the Marketing and Communications table.  They were both very nice and willing to talk to me and give me advice on the things that I can do with an International Relations and Political Science.  Ms. Stein shared a similar background in me and went into the marketing field and offered me advice that I can go into multiple career fields.

Chicago Event 2What was your biggest takeaway from Cats Connect?
I would say my biggest takeaway from Cats Connect was the reassurance that I still had the ability to decide how I wanted to pursue my future career and the realization that my specific majors and areas of interest were not limited to one type of career or field of industry.  I had a greater level of freedom of exploring different professions and jobs than I ever thought I had before, which really excited me for what is ahead.  I have learned that it’s okay to change career paths and to even try a bunch of different things before you finally settle into a career that you are passionate about, and it is the best of both worlds if you enjoy your work and are successful at the same time.

Would you recommend other Northwestern students attend? If so, why?
I would highly recommend other Northwestern students attend this event because you never know who you end up meeting in the process. If someone is nervous about always staying professional or worrying about saying the wrong thing, it is important to remember that the alumni that speak to you are there to help you and are there to guide you in a career path that is perfect for you.  Just keep an open mind and open ears and I think anyone can gain from attending unique event such as Cats Connect.

SIGP Views from the Cube: The Modern Dance Music Research and Archiving Foundation


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Rising Junior and RTVF major Cameron (second from right) interns this summer at The Modern Dance Music Research and Archiving Foundation as part of the SIGP program.

Rising Junior and RTVF major Cameron (second from right) interns this summer at The Modern Dance Music Research and Archiving Foundation as part of the SIGP program.

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!

‘Cats Connect: What I learned from networking with NU alumni


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SoC sophomore Aisha attended the Los Angeles 'Cats Connect networking reception on July 28.

SoC sophomore Aisha is interested in pursuing a career in advertising, marketing and public relations.

Aisha Hauser is a sophomore in the School of Communication majoring in communication studies. She attended the Los Angeles ‘Cats Connect student-alumni networking reception on July 28. Aisha is originally from California and is interested in pursuing a career in advertising, marketing and public relations.

Why did you attend the Cats Connect alumni-student networking event in Los Angeles?
I attended the Cats Connect networking event because I really value relationships and enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories. Due to the fact that I am a rising sophomore, I am very new to the business world of networking, but I knew that this event would be the perfect place to start.

What was it like to navigate the networking event?
At first, navigating the networking event was a little bit awkward. It was definitely an unfamiliar environment for me, but I soon realized that everyone at the event was extremely welcoming. Once I got comfortable, I began to really enjoy myself. I still have 3 more years of college ahead of me, and as a result, I really fed off of the interesting and unique stories of both the alumni and current students. By the time that I left the event, I was extremely energized and excited for what the future holds for me.

Aisha  '18 talks w/ alumna Amy Millstone and her husband Tommy at the Los Angeles 'Cats Connect on July 28. Photo Credit: Northwestern Alumni Association

Aisha talks w/alumna Amy Millstone and her husband Tommy at the Los Angeles ‘Cats Connect on July 28. Photo Credit: Northwestern Alumni Association

Did you meet anyone interesting?
During Cats Connect, I learned about so many interesting jobs, but more importantly, I met some incredibly interesting people. I met people who worked hard for many years and ended up in a place they would have never imagined, as well as people who had very specific goals and worked their way right to them. Being in that room with so many accomplished professionals truly made me proud to be a Wildcat. In the coming weeks I will be meeting up with two amazing women who are recent Northwestern graduates. Melissa Cline, who graduated this past spring, is currently interning at OWN and I am extremely excited to pick her brain about her experiences both at Northwestern and OWN. Natalie Burch, a 2011 graduate, currently works at Warner Records across the street from where I intern at Warner Bros. Telepictures Productions and I am extremely excited to grab lunch with her and talk about the similarities and differences of the WB business on the pictures and records sides.

Northwestern students and alumni network at the Los Angeles 'Cats Connect.

Northwestern students and alumni network at the Los Angeles ‘Cats Connect.

What was your biggest takeaway from Cats Connect?
My biggest takeaway from Cats Connect is that there is no one formula that equates to success. There are common ingredients such as hard work and integrity, but everyone has their own story and I can learn from them, but will never be able to reproduce them. Authenticity is key, and I will definitely take these next few years to become the best Aisha I can be which will eventually translate into being the best career woman that I can be. I also learned that Northwestern has such an amazing alumni network and that it is completely up to me to take full advantage of it.

Would you recommend other Northwestern students attend? If so, why?
I would without a doubt recommend this event to other students, whether or not they know exactly what they want to do upon graduation. I think that networking is something that is perfected with practice, and a Northwestern hosted networking event is a safe and comfortable space to begin that practice.

SIGP Views from the Cube: Miami Summer Music Festival


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SIGP recipient, FrankFrank Laucerica is a rising junior studying Voice & Opera Performance/Choral Music Education in the Bienen School of Music. He is a 2015 Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP) recipient.

Miami has always been my home; it’s where I grew up and where the seed of music was planted in my heart. Ever since I left for Northwestern, that plant has grown each day, but I never imagined that Miami’s sandy shores would serve as the rich soil where flowers would bloom once again. My relationship with the Miami Summer Music Festival began as the need to gain professional experience, as all young musicians are expected to, with the added convenience that I could be back at home. It has since grown to be the single-handedly most influential musical experience of my life.

In the three weeks that I have been attending the program, I have gotten to know people from all across the world, to sing for and with renowned artists and teachers, and have grown as an individual in the meantime. Within the first week, I was introduced to and singing for our maestro, Steven Gathman, from Washington National Opera, our director, Alan Hicks, from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and in an opera arias recital with Caren Levine, from the Metropolitan Opera. In the second two weeks, I have gotten to work with Manny Perez, from the University of Miami, been invited to sing in a masterclass of his, and to perform in a Zarzuela Concert with Sergio Puig, from the Florida Grand Opera.

Pride in one’s alma mater is what unites alumni across decades of time. I’ve always understood myself to be a proud wildcat, but it wasn’t until I attended this Opera Institute that I truly understood what it meant to be proud of one’s own alma mater. I am attending this festival with four other Northwestern students: Sam Garcia, Catherine McAree, Gabrielle Lowell and Laura Pitkin. Aside from giving me the opportunity for my friendships with each of them to grow, this program has given us the opportunity to represent the true strength that Northwestern has to offer the music world, and you can’t help but get a good feeling in your gut about that.

Northwestern is among the top universities in the nation for Voice & Opera Performance, but one of the issues with only ever having school-related experiences is that we cannot truly gauge where we stand in comparison to others if our perspective never changes. For that very reason, Miami Summer Music Festival has allowed us to have a glimpse of what the world outside of Northwestern offers. It is a place where I feel encouraged to pursue what I love and confident that I can achieve what I desire. Now with the renewed confidence that Northwestern is doing a good job with us, I will return to school with even more drive to take the opera world by storm.


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