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Regina Anderson asked me to send an update as to what I’ve been doing since my internship with RIC last year. Well, quite frankly, the answer is art internships. Why? Because while I have a general idea of what I’d like to do for a career (I know it’s something involving the arts). I’m not sure exactly what.
When I first entered the Master of Arts Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, I thought my dream job was to work for an art museum as either a deputy director or operations director. Well, after going through my first year of this program, I also realized I had interests in culture and arts foundations, arts advocacy, and public art. So as a result, I thought what better way to find out what it’s really like working for these organizations than to conduct some informational interviews and do art internships?
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to intern for the Research Department at a wonderful arts advocacy organization called Americans for the Arts (AFTA) in Washington D.C. Much of my work involved program analysis, specifically the Half Century Summit Annual Convention in Baltimore, MD. I also got to help determine the grades for the “arts report card” for the U.S. Senate which you can find here. Even though I had to sleep on my friend’s pullout couch for two and a half months just to be able to afford to live in D.C., this art internship experience was invaluable. I met so many wonderful people.
Then in August, I returned to Pittsburgh, and on my second day back, I had an interview with the Department of City Planning’s Public Art Manager for a possible Fall internship. I chose this internship, because coming from a museum background, I realized there was this whole world of public art of which I had limited knowledge. My public art internship so far has been great. I’ve gone on site visits, sat in on Art Commission hearings, etc.
So have I narrowed my choices down at all? Absolutely, but only time will tell what those are. Point is, interning at places where you think you might want to work is not only a great way to get your foot in the door, but to find out if you really want to work there in the first place.
If anyone has any questions about what it’s like interning for Americans for the Arts or the Department of City Planning, I would be happy to give my personal experiences with art internships. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I know what you’re thinking – I don’t have time to sit down to eat, let alone cook! Neither do we here at The Regional Internship Center. However, my roommate and I wanted to see if we could cook a healthy and delicious meal for under $2 per serving. We decided showing you how to make sleek, a vegan dish that is easy, healthy, and sure to please.
- ½ cup Dried Black-Eyed Peas
- 2 ½ cup Water
- 1 ½ lb. of Kale (or spinach if you must)
- ½ c Bulgur Wheat
- 1 c Sliced Onion (sweet onion preferred)
- ½ c Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
Keep in mind you need to soak your black-eyed peas overnight. You can decide to do a “quick soak” that involves boiling the peas and then letting them stand for an hour.
Overnight Soak: rinse peas, add 6 – 8 cups water to 2 cups of peas. Cover. Allow to sit for 6 to 8 hours, rinse and drain.
DAY OF GROCERY SHOPPING>
We headed to the East End Food Co-Op near Penn and Braddock: 7516 Meade St Pittsburgh, PA 15208, 412-242-3598.
Prices will vary
Kale: $2.89 ea.
Sweet Onion: 1.89 per lb.
Olive Oil: $12.99 for 33.8 oz. SALE! (This will last me for at least the entire Spring semester.)
Everything else we already had at home. That’s the beauty of buying items like black-eyed peas and bulgur wheat in bulk. They have a long shelf life, so they’re always there when you need them.
DAY OF COOKING:
Cooking Bulgur Wheat:
Boil 1 ¼ cup of water, add ½ cup of bulgur, cover, remove from heat. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Cooking Black-Eyed Peas:
Place black-eyed peas and water in saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.
At the same time, begin browning your onions in olive oil over medium heat. Spread the onions in a single layer on your pan. If there are too many onions in the pan, the liquid will not evaporate quickly which means the onions will cook but not caramelize.
*If you cook the onions over low heat for a longer period of time, you will get sweeter onions which is more ideal for our sleek recipe.
Thoroughly drain the bulgur wheat and add this to your peas and kale mixture. Then thoroughly drain this entire mixture.
Add chopped kale to your black-eyed peas for 6 minutes.
Serve with toasted pita bread, or just eat plain.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 45 minutes.
Serves 8 – 10. Average Cost per Serving: Less than $2.00! (We also calculated the costs for black-eyed peas and bulgur wheat in case you didn’t already have these in bulk.) And we even bought organic.
SUCCESS! So my roommate and I now have enough food for our next two to three courses.
Check out the other parts of this series:
Are you not only feeling pangs of hunger, but also the pangs of an empty wallet? Then you might want to consider seeing if you are eligible for food stamps.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with two representatives from Just Harvest, Noah Whelan, an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer and Ann Sanders, a Food Stamp Specialist, to get an idea of how SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) works.
(Just Harvest is an organization which promotes economic justice and works to influence public policy and to educate, empower, and mobilize the citizens of our community toward the elimination of hunger and poverty.)
Me: I had the notion that if I went on food stamps, I would be taking away someone else’s funding – is this true?
Noah: Just because you receive food stamps, doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Millions of dollars go untouched every year because people don’t realize that they are eligible for benefits.
Me: Are students eligible for food stamps? What about someone with an internship?
Ann: Students and food stamps is a complicated ordeal. If someone goes to school less than half-time, this doesn’t impact their eligibility. If they attend half-time or more, they must work at least 20 hours a week to be considered eligible. Some exceptions – if a student is over 50 years old, has children, or is receiving disability, they can be eligible without meeting the work requirements.
For those of you not in school but doing internships, you do not need to meet the work requirements. You may be asked by the Department of Public Welfare to participate in work-related programs. If you get a (non-AmeriCorps) stipend, remember that it counts as income.
Anyone under age 22 living with their parents has to apply with their parents. Married individuals must include spouses. They don’t look at your tax filing status, but they do care about where you reside and who you share food with. And there are income guidelines for every applicant.
Me: So what’s the process?
Ann: You need to fill out an application online at www.compass.state.pa.us. We at Just Harvest recommend that you give us a call and help you out with this. We can ask you the questions that are relevant only to food stamps and over the course of a 15 minute phone conversation, fill out your application for you.
After your application is submitted to the DPW, you need to send in 5 types of documentation:
- Proof of identity (photo ID)
- Proof of residency (something with your current address)
- Proof of income for the past month
- Proof of rent and utility expenses, and verification of your social security number.
Split bills with roommates? Bring a letter from them that describes how you split them (plus copies of the bills and that you don’t share food. If the bills aren’t in your name, get a letter verifying that you pay them.
DPW will want to have a quick phone interview with you. If you miss it, they can deny you. Within 30 days after you started your application, you should be notified if you’ve been approved or denied. Every 6 months you need to fill out paperwork to keep your food stamps.
Me: Last question, do you need to be a resident of PA in order to be eligible?
Noah: Yes, food stamp applicants would need to prove their residency in PA to qualify. They can, however, be originally from out of state or hold out of state IDs. They just need to prove their current address is in PA.
While it’s unfortunate getting on food stamps is not a “snap,” we here at The Regional Internship Center do not want anyone to starve or live on a malnutritious diet. For more information, check out:
16 Terminal Way
Check out the other parts of this series:
9 Ways to Stretch Your Budget
#1. Carpool or Take the Bus!
The Commute Info Program,a program of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, is dedicated to increasing the number of commuters who share a ride to work. They organize bikerides, carpools etc. You pay for your seat a month in advance, and the cost covers a portion of the lease, gas, tolls, etc.
Take public transportation! Bus passes will save you $, and some universities charge a transportation fee that allows their students to ride for free with their student I.D.
Zipcar is another alternative if you need a car for only a few hours at a time.
#2. Don’t Pay for Coffee or Water!
Sure, the office coffee is not as delicious as those vanilla lattes, but that $3 a day really adds up. See how much you could be saving: Coffee Cost Calculator.
If an office water cooler is not an option for you, buy your own filtration pitcher for $12. The $10 filter needs to be changed every two months, so that’s water for less than 20 cents a day!
Average savings if you refrain from buying just one coffee and bottle of water a day: over $100 a month!
#3. Pack your Lunch!
Eating out for lunch averages $7 to $15 a meal. Save money by only eating out only on special occasions. If you eat at a restaurant, fill up on water and before-meal fillers, (bread, tortilla chips), and eat half of your meal. Save the other half for dinner or tomorrow’s lunch. Average savings if you refrain from eating out 3 times a week: $75 a month.
#4. Community Supported Agriculture!
Join a CSA! With a simple membership, you get a box filled with an assortment of fresh, seasonal produce from your local farmer every week. Check out LocalHarvest for more information.
#5. Cut the Cable.
Between your internship and part-time job, you probably won’t have much time to watch a lot of TV. Try to catch your favorite shows for FREE, online. You can also rent seasons of a show from Netflix, or check them out at your local library.
#6. Cut the Internet.
If you have a laptop, go to your local coffee shop and take advantage of their free WiFi while sipping on a nice hot cup of joe. www.wififreespot.com has a listing of local shops and restaurants that offer free WiFi in most cities across PA.
If you have a library card, you can go to your local library to surf the web. Check out Carnegie Library branches to see if your nearest location offers WiFi.
#7. Join a Credit Union!
Credit unions are non-profit banks, meaning no shareholders, or profit making bank fees, which results in better interest rates for you! The RIC is a partner with Riverset Credit Union which has branches in the area. You can use any PNC Bank ATM or CU$ network to withdraw money or make a deposit, surcharge-free.
#8. Weatherproof your Apartment!
During the cold winter months, save money on your gas bill by following these suggestions: www.thriftymama.com Tips include rarely adjusting your thermostat, and sealing any cracks in your windows.
#9. Swap your Clothes!
You can host your own clothing swap with friends, or even do it online: www.dignswap.com. Also, watch for local organizations in your area to host them.
Got any more suggestions? Feel free to comment on this blog!
Check out the other parts of this series:
Tips for getting by on a next-to-nothing income.
When searching through Regional Internship Center’s website, you will come across more “unpaid” internships than “paid” ones. Currently in our database, 66% of our internships are unpaid and 34% are paid. “Unpaid internships” may seem skewed towards students and recent grads that either have deep pockets or can rely on mom or dad to foot most, if not all of their bills. Therefore, if you are self-supporting like me, the “unpaid internship” may not seem like a viable option. However, in reality, employers, especially those in the nonprofit segment, who must offer unpaid internships, take time and money out of their budgets to train and cultivate interns, and the benefits interns receive can far outweigh an hourly wage.
I personally was raised by a single mom whose small business, during my college years, was suffering the effects of the tough economy. Needless to say, I did not have anyone to fall back on if I couldn’t make a rent payment. I felt I was at a great disadvantage when I began searching for internships in the arts field – most of which were unpaid. Nevertheless, I still applied for, and gratefully accepted an unpaid internship at The Warhol Museum
. Without this internship, I never would have been accepted into my dream graduate school. After all, my previous part-time work experience as a sales associate and hostess at a restaurant was surely not going to turn any heads in the Admissions Department.
You may be debating should I take a full-time job waiting tables where I will be able to live modestly, but comfortably, or take an unpaid internship and live off of McDonald’s dollar menu? Obviously, we here at Regional Internship Center think the answer to this question is a no-brainer. Therefore, having been in similar situations ourselves, we would like to impart some sage advice on how to survive with a “next-to-nothing” income. This is the introduction to a four part series that will discuss savvy ways to cut costs and find funds to help level the playing field between you and your more financially fortunate competitors. The last thing we want you to do is to resort to dumpster diving or living off free food from school events.
Check out the other parts of this series: