Dennis (Class of 2024) is a senior at Cornell University. He is studying information science with a concentration in UX (user experience) design and one day hopes to become a product designer. This summer, he completed a six-week internship at Pace Gallery.

Developing a Visual Eye

Dennis was searching for internships when he received an email with opportunities from Breakthrough New York’s partners. The role in the imaging department at Pace Gallery caught his attention. “Aside from doing product design, I’ve always wanted to venture into photography,” he says. “I really wanted [to develop] my visual eye.”

As the gallery received images of art installations, Dennis collaborated with photo specialists to sort the images into their database. These images would then be used by the marketing and sales teams to show to clients. Dennis also had the chance to shadow photographers during these projects and see them practice their craft. He saw that there were similarities between their art and his own as a product designer.

“A lot of them are seasoned veterans at photography. That was a really rewarding experience because I wasn’t really meant to do that,” Dennis explains. “It was an opportunity that Pace [Gallery] gave me to make up that curriculum.”

Open to Taking Chances

Dennis was initially hesitant about taking the internship at Pace Gallery because it was not directly related to his major or intended career, and he felt he would not have the preferred experience. Looking back, he is glad to have taken a chance.

“I thought to myself, it’s definitely worth it if I try to make a good impression in the ways that I know how,” he remembers. “I’m going to be in this internship because I want to develop myself and be an asset.”

He goes on to encourage others to adopt a similar approach. “More often than not, you’re going to have soft skills that will make you a stronger candidate,” Dennis continues. “If you have that passion, recruiters will see that. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from doing something that’s outside their area of expertise.”

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