K-State Department of Communications & Agricultural Education- McKayla Brubaker

As a student, I had always thought internships meant traveling to new places, sometimes far away from home, slaving away fetching coffee and making copies, and hoping to gain experience along the way.  However, my internship this past spring could not have proved me more wrong.    This past spring, I interned with Deb Pryor from K-State’s Department of Communications and Ag Education, right here in Manhattan, KS.  At the time, I wasn’t really looking for an internship, due to my busy summer schedule.  Dr. Ellis recommended me for the internship and I found out that the project was just right for me!

The purpose of my internship was to help preserve the history, customs, and culture of the Kaw Indians for current and future generations, as well as promoting public awareness, through an e-publication and a hardcopy book (hopefully in the near future).  The project started out with a trip to Kaw City, OK to visit their tribal lands and powwow grounds, where I was responsible for taking portraits of the Kaw members in their regalia, or traditional clothing.  I also distributed interview surveys, assisted Deb with video interviews, and visited with the Kaw Nation and the public to promote the Kaw Heritage Project.  My favorite part of the project was getting to set in on interviews.  It was so captivating to see how passionate the Kaw members were about their heritage.  Some people would be in tears, others in anger about how their tribe was treated by the government in the past.  Each person reacted a little differently and had something unique and truly eye-opening to say.

When we returned from our trip, I analyzed transcripts from Deb’s video interviews, picking out the important parts to put in each interviewee’s biography.  This was probably the most difficult part of my internship because they all had so many good stories and things to say.  I used those details to write up a biography about the interviewee.  The e-publication (as well as the book) is a showcase of different traditions, family histories, personal testimonies, and the importance of the Kaw culture. I also gained editing experience from the biographies.  When the biographies were complete, I used Adobe software to design and layout the pages, using my photos and biographies I had written.  For the e-publication, Deb inserted her video interview clips so online viewers could actually see the people telling parts of their story.

From October to March, I had a considerable amount of time to grow as an intern.  I learned a lot about varying my writing style from third to first person and from news writing to a more creative, feature piece.  At first, it was difficult to switch gears from writing class papers, but it soon became second nature. During my internship, I learned the basic functions of using the Adobe Creative Suite Programs (Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.).  Using this software was one thing I really wanted to get out of my internship.   I also was able to practice and refine my interviewing skills.  This internship really allowed me to learn a lot about myself.  The biggest area of growth was my personality.  I had to work though being a little shy and further develop my brain to critically think and analyze details more than I normally would. This internship really showed me the importance of being passionate about the company/cause you work for. I will also be able to use this experience in layout and design to help me in my future careers designing advertisements and other items.

This internship has been a memorable experience! I would recommend this particular type of internship to those who aren’t quite sure about an internship experience.  Starting from the comfort of the K-State Campus and Manhattan area is a great way to begin in the internship world.  Manhattan has plenty of experts in a variety of areas that you can definitely gain experience from.    Students that are interested in local internships can visit with their advisors or campus professors for more information. If you aren’t sure about trying an internship, this is the way to go!