After four years as a cast member for “The Vagina Monologues,” non-traditional student Kelli Foutch said she wanted to explore other ways to be involved with the production.
Last year, Foutch worked as an intern for the show, as part of the programming internship offered by the University of Idaho Women’s Center.
“She helped us run the auditions,” said Women’s Center Director Lysa Salsbury. “She compiled all of the audition sheets, she maintained contact with the cast members … She basically did all of the communication with the cast.”
The programming internship is just one of the many yearly internship opportunities the Women’s Center offers UI students. Salsbury said the options are on the UI class schedule, and the first step for any student interested is to schedule a meeting with her, preferably before this school year lets out.
Salsbury said most of the internships offered result in one to two school credits, although some rake in as much as three. She said every 45 hours of work results in one credit.
One of the three credit internships is the editor for the Women’s Center blog. It’s a year-long job, but offers three credits per semester for English, JAMM, women’s studies or sociology. Salsbury said the internship brings with it an intensive workload, because the blog editor must supervise the blog and the writers, as well as write for the blog.
Writers for the blog can earn one to two credits per semester in English, JAMM, women’s studies or sociology, depending on how many stories they write each month. The topics for the articles are on women’s issues relevant to modern college women.
Students can also apply to be an intern for the Body rEvolution program for one credit in either women’s studies or sociology. Salsbury said the Women’s Center has been hosting this program for three years. Students in the program meet on a weekly basis to discuss a range of topics having to do with body image.
Another internship option for students is the mentoring program, which offers one credit per semester for women’s studies or sociology. According to Salsbury, the mentoring program is undergoing changes, which will make the program different for involved students by next year. Before, the mentors were made up of current UI students, either upperclassmen or graduate students. Now the mentors are UI faculty, and the incoming and transfer students being mentored are offered internship credit. Students will meet with their mentors once a week, as well as write a journal entry once a week, and meet with their mentors at scheduled events.
The programming internship, which Foutch participated in, is the most open ended internship opportunity the Women’s Center offers, according to Salsbury. Students can earn up to three credits in this program in either women’s studies or sociology. She said she had one student earn three credits by making 10 training manuals for the Women’s Center to distribute during presentations they make to classes throughout the school year.
Foutch said she earned one credit for about 40 hours of work in “The Vagina Monologues.” Although Foutch said she never felt like the internship came in conflict with any of her academic priorities, she said time management was probably what she struggled with most. She said this was because she is a non-traditional student, and works part time, is a student part time and is a full-time mom to three children.
Foutch said her favorite part about working for “The Vagina Monologues” was rubbing shoulders with so many great women. Foutch said although she was working hard the whole time, it felt more like an extracurricular to her.
“It kind of felt more like an extracurricular activity than it did an academic thing,” Foutch said. “I think that’s because, for me, I really enjoy the Women’s Center and am passionate about women’s studies.”
Salsbury said the only thing she asks for her interns is to be interested in the areas they offer. She also mentioned how much of an impact interns have on the Women’s Center, in the work they do, as well as how they connect with other students. Salsbury said the Women’s Center benefits from their interns, but the interns benefit as well.
“I think working for an organization that’s strongly rooted in social justice work and community outreach is really valuable, in terms of resume building,” Salsbury said. “I think also bridging that divide between the academic and non-academic sides of their degree is really valuable.”
Erin Bamer can be reached at email@example.com