After a summer internship in the Big Apple, Jordan Kirkham of Flower Mound, Texas, has returned to the University of Mississippi newly energized as she anticipates May graduation.
Under UM’s New York Internship Experience program, Kirkham interned during the summer sessions (June 1-Aug. 14) in New York at Exit Art, a nonprofit cultural center, helping to promote its mission of exploring the rich diversity of voices and cultures that continually shape contemporary art and ideas in America.
The overall highlight of her internship was working a benefit auction, said Kirkham, a liberal studies major in the College of Liberal Arts, with minors in art history, English and journalism.
“The Ecstasy Benefit Auction included several well-known pieces from various artists such as Yoko Ono,” she said. “It was catered and sponsored by Ketel One Vodka. Several celebrities attended, including Michael Douglas, who gave the opening speech and was there the whole evening. I’m a huge people person, so getting to mingle with artsy individuals like myself was fabulous.”
Laura Antonow, NYIEP director, said internships in New York are typically demanding and fast-paced.
“Jordan was able to handle the challenges of an intense work environment, and yet still found time to take advantage of the many cultural opportunities in the city,” Antonow said. “The adage about New York is particularly true in the art world: ‘If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere’.”
Kirkham says the experience provided her with “a better knowledge of the art and business industry in general.”
“I now know how a company is run, how a gallery functions and how simple day-to-day tasks really make a difference,” she said.
Kirkham’s NYIE work-study provided three hours of academic credit and invaluable real-world experience, she said. She also completed an online English class for three additional credit hours. This was Kirkham’s second summer internship. Last summer, she interned at the Cerulean Gallery, a private gallery in Highland Park, Texas. Also, as a high school student, she studied abroad with People to People and other programs, traveling to England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Kirkham says it’s by chance that she chose to attend Ole Miss, since she had always expected to go to a university in her home state. However, she decided to take a different route.
“My mom and I took a road trip one weekend, looking at schools all over the country – Ball State, Elon, Arizona State, Appalachian State, Alabama, LSU, you name it,” she said. “We covered the West, North, East and finally came to the South. On our way home, we passed a sign for Ole Miss. We had briefly heard about it, but I hadn’t even given it a second thought. My mom suggested we just ‘drive through’ the campus. As we passed the Grove, I was sold.
“It was the only school I applied to. I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. Over the last three years, Oxford has become my home, and I’m not ready to leave.”
Kirkham says she doesn’t have firm plans following graduation; however, she is interested in a career in the music industry.
Kirkham’s parents are Brian and Kelli Kirkham of Flower Mound, Texas.
New York Internships are open to students in all majors and disciplines, allowing them to earn up to nine academic hours during the summer.
For more information about the New York Internship Experience and other study opportunities, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/internships/index.html.