What I Learned as an AEC Intern
By Braden Pontoli, summer intern and music education student at Baldwin-Wallace College
I had no idea how inspiring and thought-provoking my time with the Arts Education Collaborative was going to be. As a sophomore at Baldwin-Wallace College, I was searching for a summer internship that would help me develop new skills as a music education major. Previous to my time at AEC, I heard great things about this organization from a former teacher and friend, Jess Beblo, who is a graduate of the AEC Leadership Academy. After talking to Jess, I soon contacted AEC and scheduled an interview. I am impressed with the quality and magnitude of work they produce. I knew interning with AEC would only help me as a professional educator. That was an understatement.
During my time with AEC, I learned the foundations of the organization. I learned how they are funded, their core beliefs, and the results of their research in the Greater Pittsburgh area. I worked closely with a former AEC project manager, Deborah Pixton, understanding the core foundations of the AEC Leadership Academy, studying the content and materials given during the week-intensive, and worked directly with the leadership academy class of 2010. One of my projects was to better advance the Leadership Academy by creating a blog prototype that could be used for future Leadership Academies. Aside from the Leadership Academy, I studied the AEC Curriculum Framework and attended/networked at Framework Workshops with the Gateway School District and the Pittsburgh Public Schools working with music educators, visual art educators, and administration.
Interning at AEC gave me new skill sets that I could have not acquired anywhere else. I learned how to better communicate with other artists and professionals, how to set attainable goals, how to be an effective leader, how to organize events and meetings, how to better network, and how to balance both a healthy work life and a personal life. I have been able to transfer many of these skill sets from AEC to my work at Baldwin-Wallace College. Now as a junior, I am co-directing and helping advance a male ensemble called Mr. Sun’s Echo. Learning how to develop an action plan and set goals from the Leadership Academy helped me further the ensemble. I am also the president-elect for our chapter of the Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association. Event planning and logistically planning for the AEC Leadership Academy has helped advance my planning for next year’s activities and professional workshops.
I can’t thank AEC enough for giving me this wonderful opportunity. It was a highlight experience of my professional career and I encourage anyone majoring in any arts field to consider interning with the Arts Education Collaborative.