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Research & Insights / Q&A with Bloomberg Arts Internship Alumni Advisory Council Members

Q&A with Bloomberg Arts Internship Alumni Advisory Council Members

From left to right: Cendy Charles (BAI, ‘21), Sebastien Mentor (BAI ‘19), and Sophia Thomas (BAI ‘20)

In 2020, Boston’s Bloomberg Arts Internship (BAI) program facilitated by EdVestors created an Alumni Advisory Council (AAC) with former BAI interns to provide near-peer support for the current intern cohort through weekly group gatherings and via individual outreach. The AAC provided a positive opportunity for all of the council members to increase their confidence and leadership skills while engaging with arts education. 

Three AAC members, Sophia Thomas (BAI ‘20), Sebastien Mentor (BAI ‘19), and Cendy Charles (BAI, ‘21), shared their experiences and insights on coaching and supporting the current cohort of BAI interns. Keep on reading to learn more about their journey of being a BAI intern to being an AAC member. 

What made you interested in art, and what made you want to apply to the Bloomberg Arts Internship Program?

Sophia Thomas:  I’ve been interested in the arts mostly as a hobby for as long as I remember. I was interested in how BAI could support me in transitioning out of high school, and on to the next steps. 

Sebastien Mentor: Art has always helped me express myself and my creativity. I first heard about the program from my high school Private Industry Council counselor, who liked my work. I have been writing since elementary school.

Cendy Charles: When I was a child, I always enjoyed fantasy books. I first heard about the BAI Program through the Private Industry Council. I wanted to apply as soon as I saw the focus on arts and integrating it into student life because it seemed like a dream come true. 

What motivates you to hold this role, even after completing the BAI Program?

ST: I positively love the BAI community. Jeremy Gooden and other staff members are a group of wonderful, supportive people who know me well and always want to see me succeed. I also have grown comfortable in the role of advising and supporting my peers as an Advisor. I enjoy meeting new people and learning about their interests and goals for the internship and beyond; it excites me to be a part of that as a Council Member. 

SM: Even after completing the program, I was still trying to figure out if I could make a living in art. What better way to figure that out than be involved in it?

CC: My time as an AAC member has been enlightening. I am motivated to hold this role due to the good I saw that the program did. The executive coaching left me with greater self-esteem and confidence in what my skills could become. 

What is something you have learned as an Alumni Advisory Council Member?

ST: I’ve learned that I have a tendency to ramble – I enjoy talking to people and offering advice and support. I also want to work on my active listening skills and pay attention to how I can better support my group members. I’ve learned that communication and balance are key – this is the second summer where, since the Alumni Advisor position is part-time, I’m working multiple jobs and trying to juggle my time commitments.

SM: One thing I’ve learned is that everyone has their own issues, and to not self-center.

CC: I have learned to never be afraid of making mistakes and speaking up with the intent of helping others. As long as I am speaking the truth, I will say what I have to say.

In what way did BAI contribute to your likeness/pursuit of art? How do you think your internships and your BAI experience helped you as an artist and as a person?

ST: During the height of the pandemic, one of my hobbies was jewelry-making. I realized I could make it a side hustle throughout my senior year. The first people I emailed were Jeremy and Ms. Muadi, to talk to them for advice and support. They gave me the tips I needed to create my own jewelry brand and promote it on Instagram, which became a fruitful hobby quickly. This meant the world to me over the years. 

SM: BAI helped me realize being an artist wasn’t a lost cause, and that I wanted to be involved in the making of art.

CC: BAI made me rethink how I went about pursuing my artistic and creative side. Soon after leaving the program as an intern, I began learning more about music, at least through piano, and began appreciating arts like screenwriting and film with willingness to learn about the entire production process.

Finally, what’s one piece of advice you would give to the next BAI cohort and potential AAC members?

ST: Be open – you’re going to be working with new (or not so new) people, and it’s important to keep a level head and stay chill. Everyone at BAI is super supportive and understanding because we’re all juggling hybrid activities, different meetings, worksites, etc. We boost each other and keep one another on track, so we can all fully enjoy the summer. It’s an incredible time.

SM: Keep doing you, whatever you like doing. Keep the spice. 

CC: If there is anything they will find, it is the willingness of the BAI team to give them support and longstanding effort in whatever they decide to pursue after high school.

Lordorina Hercules is a Bloomberg Arts Internship Summer 2022 Program Assistant and a 2019 alum of the Bloomberg Arts Internship program. 

For more information about the BAI Boston program, please visit https://artsinternshipboston.weebly.com/.