Student Experiences


"Employers want to know that you can use your own personal skill set to creatively solve dilemmas. Well, what better way to learn how your "tools" are applicable than to use them and that's just want an internship can provide...You'll have to dedicate ten to fifteen hours a week but the internship experience is worth it. The chance to work with other people on a single, tangible goal is enthralling..."
-Morris Reese (Fall 2011)

"I would definitely intern at Blackbird again as a copy-editor.  I loved getting to know the people--staff, graduate students, and fellow undergrads.  By the time the internship was over, I learned so much about grammar, style, formatting, and spelling (especially compound words), that I feel much better about my future as an English major..."
-Stacy Belcher (Fall 2011)

"The respect for interns' opinions on submissions, and the generally open attitude of the staff played a large role in creating an enjoyable environment to work.  Blackbird was helpful to me because it introduced me not only to people who work with literature everyday outside of the classroom, as well as those striving to create new forms and stories for others to enjoy.  There are lots of options outside academia, and interning at Blackbird allowed me to make contact with some people who have successfully made their own way, outside the mold."
-Spencer Phillips (Fall 2011)

"Within my first meeting with the Blackbird team, I felt connected to the department, to VCU, and to the Richmond community in a way that I never could have simply attending lectures.  Because of Blackbird, I am a more careful reader and writer, and I have considerably more insight into the publishing world."
-Sarah Riddick (Fall 2011)

"I learned how to read more critically and carefully and benefited from the positive, constructive feedback amongst the other members.  I would encourage more undergraduates to get into this internship because it really is a foot in the door for understanding how online publications work and I know I will be able to use this resource on my resume and experiences in potential career choices for the future."
-Katherine Ball (Fall 2011)

James River Writers: 

"The format of the internship was what made [it] so rewarding. For one semester I was effectively given one-on-one personal instruction by the director of James River Writers; she and I worked together on many projects and events, and I felt as if I had a front row seat to the world of writing..."
-Daniel Payne (Fall 2011)

Podium Online: 

"Podium Online is not your typical literary journal not only because it is a journal for Richmond City youth, but because it is dedicated to providing an outlet for students to showcase their work in its most authentic form. While an editor's job is to make necessary adjustments to an author's work, I learned it is more important to be mindful and sensitive to the writer's voice and style. I was able to get real practice to help me understand what this really means..."
-Cindy Kim (Fall 2011)

"Working with Podium Online has helped enhance my skills as a student and future educator...Going into the schools gave me an appreciation for what teachers do on a daily basis, and further solidified my view of them as integral parts of a flourishing society. I was excited about being able to use different talents, fulfill a variety of responsibilities, and help lay the groundwork for what will hopefully become an invaluable piece of the Podium Foundation's mission."
-Jonathan Tobin (Fall 2011)


" What [SPARC] offers goes way beyond acting, singing, and dancing. What we are teaching these children is self-confidence, but what made the process easier for me through the writing process was the incredible talent of the students with which I was blessed to work.  If there are other English students who are looking for an opportunity to break out of their shells, SPARC may be a good fit..."
-Matt Polson (Fall 2011)

American Civil War Center:

"I learned how to apply my skills as an English major to the museum world, and saw firsthand that those skills are not only important but very much in demand.  I felt that I used my abilities as a writer to improve the museum in small but important ways, and was introduced to ways that my skills as an English major will help me get ahead in the business world.  It was a really fun place to work for a semester, and the experiences was not only useful, but memorable."
-Grace Albritton (Fall 2011)

Virginia Holocaust Museum:

"The work that I did was mainly the transcription of oral histories, with some editorial work in between.  I absolutely loved the work I was doing.  I don't know for sure where my English studies will take me, but it's opportunities like this internship that make me certain it will be somewhere good. When I was transcribing, I felt extremely privileged to hear the stories the survivors had to tell. As a writer I hope to have gained a deeper understanding of storytelling and dialogue.  I learned a great deal of valuable information. Over the course of the internship, I came to love history like no class has allowed me to. This was history: real people, real lives, real stories.  History from such an intimate angle is overwhelmingly powerful, and working at a Holocaust Museum was, naturally, depressing. But for every horrible thing humanity is capable of, there are people, like those I met at the museum, who are working towards a better future. Working to to educate, to build upon our mistakes, to become something greater. And that small hope is making something good out of a horrific situation. And that, most of all, is what [I took away] from this experience."

-Lyla Abi-Saab (Summer 2012)

Richmond City Jail:

"Though I want to teach young kids, probably elementary school age, teaching at the Richmond City Jail has taught me the importance of lesson planning and preparation.  Initially, I was not prepared enough to teach the creative writing class. Fortunately, I quickly realized I needed to change my performance and preparedness.  Once I did, I saw an improvement in the time spent in class.  The men were also more engaged and eager to participate in discussion and sharing.  It has also taught me that regardless of age, it can be difficult to keep a student's interest, so it is essential to have dynamic lessons that will make them excited to learn."

-Julie DiNisio