Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Apprentice Alumni Spotlight: Jocelyn Nelson

by Kate Poling, New Victory Operations Apprentice

The New 42 Apprentice Program creates paid employment opportunities for a diverse group of high school, college and graduate students across the city. Apprentices are assigned to a department depending on their personal fields of interest and work alongside theater staff and technicians throughout their tenure. They gain first-hand experience in performing arts administration and meet weekly with members of The New Victory Education Department to review the program’s curriculum.

As we begin to say goodbye to our Fall 2013 Apprentices and welcome our incoming Spring 2014 class, we decided to take some time to reflect on the successes of one of our former apprentices. Jocelyn Nelson began her work at the New 42 in Summer 2008 while on vacation from attending Bryn Mawr College. As an apprentice for the Education Department, she worked closely with staff members gearing up for the 2008 - 2009 season and working on shows like Jason and the Argonauts and Hunchback. One of Jocelyn’s main projects was helping to create the supplemental School Tools which can be used in classrooms both before and after attending a New Victory performance.

After a successful apprenticeship at the New 42, Jocelyn began working with the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia almost immediately after graduating from college, where she has become the Special Youth Programs and Partnerships Manager. In her role, Jocelyn has co-developed a paid summer Apprentice Program for older teens who have finished the other education programs that Mural Arts offers. She has also worked in partnership with the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department to create an after-school curriculum which fosters nature appreciation through art. Recently, we caught up with Jocelyn and reflected on her time as a New 42 Apprentice.

What are some of your favorite memories of working at the New Victory?
I really loved the opportunity that we had to sit in the board room every Monday for our weekly apprentice meeting because it made me feel like I was part of a larger organization. My favorite memory was when, for the Education department, we had to come up with theater activities around specific shows. I worked on Jason and the Argonauts, and I got to come away from the apprenticeship with an actual document that I developed, in hand. I used it as inspiration for the curriculum tool at the job I’m doing now.

Can you tell me a little bit more about what you’re doing now?
I co-developed the Apprentice Program for the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia. It’s a stipend based program which allows our older youths to shadow mural artists or business people within the organization. They also have professional development workshops which were influenced by those at the New Vic: resume writing, interview techniques, etc. A lot of the motivational aspects of the programming, such as developing a pipeline and providing leadership skills, derived from the opportunities and skills I was given as an apprentice.

How did your New 42 Apprenticeship shape your journey?
I look at my apprenticeship as the beginning of my interest in Arts Education, because I’d always been interested in art, and wanted an opportunity to show my creativity. It was primarily the Arts Education programming I worked on that shaped my journey, but the overall structure of the apprenticeship was also very influential for me. Working with the other apprentices, and getting experience taking ownership of a project helped me to get the job I have now.

Do you have any advice for current or future apprentices?
After your time at the New Victory, really look back and reflect upon what you just experienced to see what you've gained and how you can use that to your benefit. Never be afraid to explore. Personally, I did not know anything about curricular development when I started my apprenticeship, but I was willing to learn. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions of the staff resources you have because there is always more to learn.

If you are a former Apprentice, make sure to stay in touch with us! We would love to feature your successes too. You can email us at YouthCorpsAlum@new42.org.

Or, to learn more about the New 42 Apprentice program, click here.

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