NEWS   ·  October 7, 2015

5 Things I Learned as an Intern

This past summer, the Museum of Photographic Arts’ marketing department had the excellent assistance of Social Media & Communications Intern Jenilee Day Umali, a senior at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona.

From coordinating social posts and writing newsletters to designing ads and taking photos – Jenilee was a rockstar. Thank you for spending your summer with us at MOPA! Keep up with Jenilee on her blog, Through My Lens.

Here are her top five takeaways from her summer behind the scenes at the museum.


1. There is much more to museums than what you see in the galleries.
I’ve always enjoyed going to museums, but I knew little about what happens behind the scenes. It takes a whole team of dedicated people to make sure the museum runs smoothly on a daily basis. Being an intern for MOPA helped me learn what it’s like to be involved in a group effort that’s more than a just grade at the end of a semester— the art and events at a museum have the ability to impact visitors and leave a life-long lasting impression.

2. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone.
An internship is as valuable as the effort you put into it. It’s up to you to find ways to make sure your internship is helpful to your desired career path. Take this opportunity to learn as much as you can, meet new people and find ways to become involved with projects and campaigns that can later act as pieces to add to your resume/portfolio.

3. Be involved in what museums have to offer.
While learning about what MOPA has to offer, I grew an appreciation for the cultural impact that museums have on our community. This internship gave me the chance to meet other people who are also passionate about art. It’s important to branch out and discover how you can use your time as an intern to benefit other aspects of your life.

4. School is more helpful than you realize.
Nearly everything I learned at school during the past four years was utilized within the first few weeks of my internship. I found myself doing a variety of tasks which required me to be able to switch gears quickly, similar to attending classes all day or managing my time while doing homework assignments. Combining these skills with what I studied in my classes helped me stand out as an intern.

5. There is always more to learn.
My summer internship went by so quickly! The MOPA staff did a great job of making me feel welcome and helping me get ready for post-college life. I am looking forward to staying involved with the museum community at Balboa Park.


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Welcome to the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art!

As of July 1, 2023, the Museum of Photographic Arts and The San Diego Museum of Art have merged to become one unified institution. The Museum of Photographic Arts is now the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA).

MOPA@SDMA remains a pay-what-you wish museum open Thursdays through Sundays 11:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you soon!