Friday, July 9, 2010

Pan Asian Cuisine, Formative Evaluations, Recommendations, and 20-Something Hipsters

Over jalapeno sake and Korean food, I was told that the DIA's Executive Vice President had been given the recommendation to hire me as soon as I graduate.

I spent much of last night, before my last day on the job, wondering if I had done any good.  In my last post, I mentioned the projects I completed and spoke about their value to the organization, but I was still wondering whether or not I had actually done a good job.

So I guess that answers that.

Larry and Michelle took me to lunch today and I really enjoyed it.  I feel particularly invested in the 125th Anniversary's DIA: Inside Out, so it was nice to have lunch with the rest of the team before I leave.

Larry had very complimentary things to say about my work and mentioned that he told the EVP that she should hire me as soon as I'm done with school.  After which he said, "Wait... when are you done with school?"  A year and a half seems like a long time for the DIA to wait, but I suppose it's not unheard of.  On top of the fact that I am fantastic, there is another reason why the DIA is interested in hiring me (and people like me).  Larry spoke briefly about an initiative called the 15/15 project (or something like that), which aims to add 1,500 young, college educated, Detroit residents (living around the cultural center and Wayne State University) to the DIA's membership.

So, all of a sudden, hip 20-somethings are the DIA's target demographic.

(This revelation was followed by Larry asking how old I am (24) and then asking my feelings about Andy Warhol, contemporary art, and Damien Hirst.  It feels kind of nice to be a target demographic-- suddenly, everyone is interested in my thoughts on things.)

To target this demographic, the DIA really needs to have some 20-somethings on staff, which is the other big reason why Larry was so willing to recommend me.

Interestingly, I think that a large percentage of the DIA's visitors are already local 20-somethings.  While they may not actually be members, I have noticed a lot of people my age wandering around the museum on a daily basis.  In fact, yesterday, I was doing some more formative evaluations for an upcoming exhibition and more than half of the people I spoke with were younger people, and young couples seemed to be the largest demographic I saw all day.  This is purely anecdotal evidence, of course, but it seems to me that the 20-something Detroiters are already interested in the DIA, but perhaps they are not being cultivated for memberships.

So that was my last day at the DIA;  Asian food, recommendations, formative evaluations, and hipsters.

Except that I don't really think this is my last day, so much as it is my last "official" day-- perhaps my last day in the building, but I don't think it's my last day at work.

There are two projects that remain unfinished:

1.) DIA: Inside Out
Inside Out is a major undertaking and I have offered to help Michelle with emails and phone calls in any way that I can.  I made contacts and established relationships with several Detroit-area businesses and Downtown Development Authorities, and while I have given them all of Michelle's information, I was their primary contact until now, so I will continue to field any of their questions and concerns about the project, as they arise.  And Michelle has offered to keep my updated on the overall progress of the project.  As I said, I am very invested in this project and I would like to continue to be a small part of its realization.

2.) AAMD Maps
The data for the maps has been sent off to the AAMD.  But, of course, it will take some time for the fellow at the AAMD to process the information and generate the maps.  I expect that he will have some questions about the way I broke down the information, or some organizations' addresses, or Canadian postal codes, or any number of other things before the maps can be completed and I have been the only person working on this project, so it seems silly and ill-advised to suddenly dump it on someone else's desk.  I am still in contact with the AAMD, and will continue to be their primary contact until the maps are complete and in Sondra's hands.

An intern's work is never done.


  1. Great news! It's so nice to know your work has been noticed!!

  2. I read this after reading and commenting on your 7/7/10 blog. I was glad to see my comments were spot-on. The DIA did appreciate you!!

    Jess, there is no finer complement than what you just got. I'm so proud and very happy for you. Have fun back in Fla.!