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English major serves summer internship in Development Department

When people go to see a live show, they rarely give a thought to how much work and coordination goes into making sure the performance goes as planned. This summer, Megan Kaesshaefer ’08 (Philadelphia, Pa.) has the opportunity to be involved behind the curtain.

The English major is taking part in a 10-week internship at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. During her internship, she is working in the Development Department, working closely with the Director of the Annual Fund. However, Kaesshaefer notes, she assists everyone else in the department, including the directors of events, corporate sponsorship, donor relations, and membership, and the grants manager.

“I’m learning mostly about what it requires, and how unbelievably complicated it is, to run a performing arts venue,” she says. “When a person attends a show, it hardly registers how much time and effort it takes to get them in their seats. Major gifts, fundraising, corporate sponsors, galas, auctions, and the list goes on. The Kimmel Center’s excellent reputation is secured through its donors and affiliations, which also guarantee its fruition in years to come.”

Kaesshaefer’s responsibilities include writing solicitation letters to members, helping to create a master grants calendar and reorganizing the development file system. Her internship experience is being supported by the Class of 1957 internship endowment fund.

She spent last fall in London studying journalism and theater while interning at the Sunday Times. Kaesshaefer worked with the newspaper’s entertainment editor and on the news desk, which, she says, sparked her interest in becoming a theater critic.

“This internship at the Kimmel Center has helped realize that I want to continue working in the theater realm, but maybe not necessarily in development,” Kaesshaefer says. “This experience has certainly increased my knowledge about the performing arts tenfold.”

After graduation, she ideally would like to take an apprenticeship at a theater, go to graduate school, and develop a career in dramatic criticism.

“The young men and women I work with are so professional and motivated; their charisma and abilities to network are really encouraging,” Kaesshaefer explains.

In addition to her academics, Kaesshaefer sings in the Cadence and Quintessence a cappella groups, is a member of College Theater, and is a writing associate.

“I’m also planning to write a thesis or an independent study in my senior year,” she adds. “I’d like to direct a play or write a piece on theatrical criticism.”

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