Senior Sarah Dysinger gains event planning experience as Art Reach intern


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Sarah Dysinger is not your typical college senior.

While most students have papers to write and exams to study for, Dysinger is spending her last semester as a senior at Art Reach in downtown Mount Pleasant. The Perry native is completing a 30-week internship as part of a requirement for her recreation, parks and leisure service administration major.

"The last 30 credits of that major are spent doing a 30-week internship at an approved site and Art Reach was on the list," Dysinger said.

RPL majors have a list of approved work sites they can choose from and apply to in order to fulfill the internship requirement. Dysinger said she looked at the Art Reach website to find out more information about the internships it offered.

Art Reach, a non-profit company created in 1981, strives to bring a variety of art and talent to the community. It offers art classes and helps coordinate events within the area. Art created by various artists from around Michigan is also sold in its gift shop.

"I emailed them and set up a meeting with my boss, Kathy Hill," she said. "After that, I had my interview with her and was hired right there."

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Katy Kildee | Staff Photographer Art Reach intern and ____ ___ Sarah Dysinger helps to prepare for the upcoming Banner Festival on Friday at the Art Reach Center in downtown Mount Pleasant.
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Hill, who is the executive director at Art Reach, said having an intern with previously attained skills necessary for the field of work they do is what best suited Dysinger for the internship.

"She has a background in event planning," Hill said. "Last year, we planned 16 different events, so her experience will be a huge asset to this company."

Dysinger said while there is not a "typical" day working at Art Reach, but rather she enjoys the variety of work she does.

One day she can be working in the gift shop, while another she is attending meetings and planning events. The Festival of Banners, which is an annual event that takes place every spring, is one of Dysinger's favorite parts of the internship.

"I'm doing a lot of work on (The Festival of Banners) and can't wait to see how it all unfolds," she said.

Like other employees, Dysinger went through the same training and shares the same responsibilities.

"All employees are responsible for knowing every aspect of the business, whether it's the store, events or knowing what's going on with programs we offer," Hill said.

When Dysinger is not busy working at Art Reach, she spends her free time doing a variety of activities. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends and boyfriend. She also loves to cook and try new recipes.

As a fan of running, she is still recovering from leg surgeries she had between summer and Christmas.

"Once I'm fully recovered, I want to train for races," she said.

Dysinger was a member of Meetings Professional International, a registered student organization that provides students with volunteer opportunities in the event industry.

"I volunteered at the 2012 Country Music Festival and 2013 Boston Marathon," she said. "Unfortunately, I had to stop being a member due to my internship and no longer being able to make the meetings."

While the event management field is something Dysinger is passionate about, she has learned it is more than simply planning events.

She said she has gained new knowledge about logistics, budgeting, marketing, volunteer coordinating and more.

"Working at Art Reach, I've been able to see all of that take place," she said. "It's really preparing me for when I'm out in the business world as an actual worker and planning events on my own."

Hill hopes Dysinger can learn an internship isn't just about what's written in a job description.

"It's about getting to work well with others," Hill said. "I hope this experience will help be a stepping stone to gain a future successful employment"


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