Clark University Students Intern Creatively At WaterFire

Friday, August 23, 2013


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WaterFire is one Providence's great urban traditions, and this year it could not have happened without Clark.

As WaterFire draws crowds and interest from far beyond Rhode Island, it has drawn a trio of avid students from Clark University in Worcester. These students are Andrew Doig, Casey Epstein and Chelsea Kryspin, and they have been participating in WaterFire through Clark's new and unique LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) project program.

LEEP is Clark University's pioneering model of education that combines a robust liberal arts experience with authentic engagement in the world and workplace.

It is an opportunity for Clark students—typically juniors and rising seniors—to take what they've learned at Clark and explore its real-world applications. Projects focus on working with external organizations and disciplines related to a student's expected career and take many different forms, such as creating a product for a local business, assisting families in a developing country, or providing research to support a corporate sustainability initiative.

WaterFire will be lit this weekend on August 24th if you want to experience some of what these committed, hard-working students have been up to.

Chelsea Kryspin: Special Events and Operations Intern

One of these students is Chelsea Kryspin, an Asian Studies major with a minor in Management, who has an internship with WaterFire in the Special Events and Operations department. She got the opportunity to work hands-on planning and executing WaterFire events throughout the summer.

"My project was focused on seeing the big picture from the day-to-day office work of events planning, to actually running an event," she says.

"What I set out to do in my WaterFire internship was to get a better understanding of the process of running such a large-scale event, and how I could use my skills to make an impact on the planning process."

Unlike other LEEP projects with one set ending goal, the multiple WaterFire events across the summer functioned as milestones in her internship, and with each event that passed she was able to apply something new that she had learned.

Some of the more tangible outcomes of her project include a new order of brazier installations for WaterFire.

"From start to finish, I worked with my leadership team to research and coordinate the purchase of 15 new brazier setups on the Providence River. These braziers are the center point of WaterFire, and I felt that I played a large role in enhancing the WaterFire experience," she remarks.

"I learned real-life job skills that would apply to a future career in events planning. I learned the extreme importance of working as a team, in a way that I never would have without the practical experience of working with WaterFire," she goes on.

"I better understand how non-profits function and made invaluable connections with the WaterFire staff. In sum, my project gave me the opportunities of an internship with the reflection and guidance from Clark to allow the experience to make a huge impact on my life."

Andrew Doig: Video and Media Intern

English major Andrew Doig's LEEP project is as WaterFire's Video and Media intern. It has been his responsibility with his supervisor to select and master music for WaterFire events, and operate the soundsystem for reproducing that music. In addition, he has collected video footage of events and edited them into videos for sponsors, the WaterFire website, and television.

"I really wanted to find a position in media production, and although I was accepted by a couple, WaterFire is the one that interested me most. I love music festivals and the opportunity to set up and operate one while simultaneously learning about video production seemed like a great, fun opportunity," he says.

He remarks that what makes his experience truly unique is the independence he is given to complete the videos he has worked on.

"Although I received critical attention, I was still able to really express myself and explore possibilities through those projects. I think they really bear my mark."

Casey Epstein is a rising senior and History major at Clark. He is a philanthropy intern for WaterFire. 

For more information on Clark's LEEP program please click here. For more information on WaterFire click here.


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