When FIU Communication Arts sophomore Barbara Parra began her first semester at the university, she knew she wanted to get an early start on career planning. Having volunteered in customer relations in high school, she met with Gabby Portela, Community Engagement Coordinator for Communication Arts to discuss possible internships in guest services and administration and learned the Frost Art Museum had an opening for a Visitor Services intern. After working with ms. Portela to prepare, Parra went in for an interview and received a job offer.
Speaking about her new job, Parra said: “The experience I am gaining at the Frost Art Museum will be crucial when I graduate. This opportunity has strengthened my skills and allowed me to learn more than I could have ever imagined.”
The Frost Art Museum was clearly impressed with their new “Director of First Impressions” and promoted Barbara from an intern to a paid part-time position as the Visitor Services and Membership Assistant. Her primary duties include interacting with visitors, promoting new exhibitions, and preparing visitor reports twice a day. She also creates new welcome packets for members, helps plan events, and works on member renewals.
Parra credits two Communication Arts classes – Public Speaking and Organizational Communication – in helping her prepare for her new role. Public Speaking helped her gain confidence and become more comfortable communicating with others, especially when working with large groups. Organizational Communication helped her gain confidence as a leader in Visitor Services, allowing her to effectively communicate with her team at the front desk and with the diverse audience that attend the museum.
This internship-turned-job has reaffirmed Parra’s desire to work in the arts eventually within membership services.