Topics: College of Sciences and Humanities, Immersive Learning

April 1, 2014

Ball State student Fred Robinson is an intern for a multimedia studio in New York City as part of the New York Arts Program
Ball State student Fred Robinson is an intern for a multimedia studio in New York City as part of the New York Arts Program.

Senior telecommunications major Nicole Wilson believes her immersive learning experience at Ball State University helped her land an internship most college students could only dream of—working with the music department of Saturday Night Live.

Wilson found her way to the legendary late-night comedy show through a new partnership between Ball State and the New York Arts Program (NYAP), a semester-long creative learning opportunity for college students to work in the performing, visual and media arts while living in New York City.

The program is competitive—fewer than 50 students are accepted from the 30-plus colleges and universities partnering as participating schools—and Wilson credits an immersive learning seminar she was involved in as an undergraduate along with recommendations from her Ball State professors for helping her stand out from other applicants.

Cathy Day, associate professor of English, is Ball State's liaison for NYAP. She herself is a graduate of the program, having worked for Interview magazine in 1990, living for a semester in the same Chelsea brownstone still housing its student interns today. "For Midwestern kids who dream about working in New York City, it helps them eliminate their biggest fear: what to do and where to live when they get there."

Senior Fred Robinson appreciates how NYAP coordinators tailor the internships offered to uniquely suit each student involved. A telecommunications major with an interest in filmmaking, he's interning this spring for Rumur, a Brooklyn-based multimedia studio, gaining the kind of real-world business experience that's fueling his dreams of starting his own film company.

Alumnus and writer Kelly Stacy was Ball State's first student participant in NYAP in 2012. His internship at the Bowery Poetry Club allowed him to display his own work at the club "right beside those writers whose books I had on my bookshelf at home." And for fellow Ball State alumnus Tyler Fields, being a participant in NYAP led him to a series of internships that landed him his present job with ARTBOOK | D.A.P., an art book publisher and distributor.

Day said applications for the program—which provides students up to 16 credit hours from Ohio Wesleyan University, its managing college—are accepted in both spring and fall, with financial aid and scholarship opportunities available.

"So often the success of a profession in the arts is based on the extent to which you can network and make introductions with people in your chosen field, and this program makes possible the kinds of opportunities that allow for those introductions to happen," Day explained.

For Wilson at least, it also means getting to meet a few celebrities along the way.

"I'm so fortunate to get to be around the talent for SNL," she said. "I'm at the studio every Thursday and all day and night Saturday so I get to be with cast members and hosts and sometimes the musical guests. It's an incredible experience, one that has helped me decide I definitely want to work at NBC after I graduate."