Allison Rieke is a graduate student in Emerson’s Integrated Marketing Communications Master’s Program. This spring she has been working as a Marketing Intern with the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. PEM, as it is affectionately called is “the nation’s oldest continuously operating museum” and has “emerged as a new and different kind of museum – one that creates a richer experience for visitors by bringing art, architecture and culture together in new ways, and by presenting art in the world in which it was made.”

I talked with Allison about her decision to intern at PEM and what drew her to non-profit work as a whole:

What drew you to this specific internship? How did you find the opportunity?

My undergraduate degree was in arts administration, and I wanted to continue with that. I plan on staying within the arts and am interested in non-profits in general. I’ve worked for other non-profit museums, so when I started thinking about grad school, I felt I needed specific talents to help the industry, which is why I went for a marketing degree.

How did you find out you got the internship?

I applied in late October, and they got back to me fairly quickly for an interview. During the interview, I gave a writing sample so they knew I would be able to write in the arts. I was hired around Thanksgiving, so it was figured out before Christmas time.

What was the culture like at PEM?

So much fun! It is a world-class institution so some of the most talented people I’ve met ever work there. The people who work there want to work there, they are happy to be there. It is a creative space where people are serious but also do fun stuff. Every day when I leave I have a great story to tell.

Have you applied any of the skills you’ve learned in the classroom to your internship? If so, what were they?

Very much so. I’m currently in a media planning course, and PEM has a large marketing team, so I get to hear who media partners are, what kind of ad placements they are doing, see the strategy, which parallels the things in class. Topics like, who is your audience and how to reach them. The terminology is discussed in class is used in conversations in PEM meetings.

Did you make any cool contacts/were there any networking opportunities for you?

Yes, that is one thing that I have really enjoyed about working at PEM. Not only within the staff, but the museum is such a big part of Salem and the North Shore community the people I see are on different boards and I get invited along and talk with people at different non-profits. I can see what is going on in the community and how other non-profits support each other and the Salem community.

What are your next steps?

I’d like to stay within non-profits. I have enjoyed the experience so far, this one and all the ones I’ve worked in. I’d like to work on the development and fundraising side or the marketing side. Right now I’m figuring out specifically where, maybe Boston maybe the North Shore.

Do you have any advice for students interested in this internship or similar opportunities?
There is a stigma about non-profits, about people being overworked and underpaid, but depending on where you are, the organization could be large and have just as many resources, but the difference in non-profits, you will have really dedicated people.