“Start meeting people.”
Nathan Oelker, UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences alumnus, wanted to go into filmmaking. To do so, he grew his network through the actors and directors that he met at The Second City improvisational comedy classes that he took in 2011.
Nathan also enrolled in LAS internship classes, which helped him network and collaborate with professionals and students with different skills and interests.
Before going into filmmaking, Nathan wanted to improve his professional writing skills. Nathan interned at College News – an online and print aggregated news source for college students – to gain professional writing experience, while he earned academic credit. “I wrote my version of top trending stories for their print magazine and online publication.”
Nathan’s second internship was related to film. “I was a public relations and marketing intern at Gene Siskel Film Center. I promoted films, documentaries and programs by emailing professors, activists and organizations that are interested in the topic, hoping that they would send it to others. Also, I did four in-person events. I passed out the gazettes at the UIC Student Organization Fair, went to two career fairs and went to the Inaugural Chicago Media Summit.”
Nathan found his internships through networking. “The offers from both internships came at the same time. I met Dave via an English department networking event in March of 2013 that highlighted different job opportunities for English majors. For the Siskel Center internship, I wrote to a friend of mine from The Second City program who knew one of the technical managers of the Siskel Center. I wrote to her asking if there was a need for interns, and I was referred to my internship supervisor, who is the associate director of PR and marketing.”
Nathan’s advice to current LAS students who are interested in internship opportunities? “Start meeting people. If you somewhat know someone, write them a polite message and ask for an informational interview. It will help you find out if what they do is something that you are not interested in.”
Currently, Nathan is working for himself doing video work for various clients, with the intention of building his own business.