The quarantine’s official mark began in Houston when the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was cancelled halfway through its original allotted time last March.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) is a Houston-based nonprofit organization that hosts events and an annual carnival that promotes agriculture and western heritage by hosting an annual, family-friendly experience. For students at the Valenti School of Communication pursuing careers in media production, HLSR is also an annual opportunity to enrich their education and get hands-on experience.
“In 2020, I was part of the actual Rodeo crew as a camera control room operator,” says media production senior Charles Bergman. “Unfortunately, my time there was cut off halfway.”
Not only were Valenti students affected by this, but even some of the Valenti staff were left powerless in helping these students navigate internships last year.
“The first major issue I saw last March was that I constantly was told students’ internships were getting canceled and there was no backup plan for them,” said Valenti internship coordinator, Deborah Reyes, in regards to the beginning of the pandemic.
Despite new challenges introduced by the pandemic, which prompted HLSR to keep its doors closed to the public, HLSR still welcomed Valenti students to intern for its private events this year.
“Just being an intern allowed to be in that type of environment in person, even during the pandemic, is a wonderful experience,” said media production senior Jesus Castillo.
This three-week-long intensive internship has shaped the way students are steering their careers all while allowing them to demonstrate growth.
“Interning for the Rodeo’s social media was my first taste within the entertainment industry, so having that first taste has definitely kind of pushed me to want to work in this industry. It has helped me navigate where I kind of want to go for my future career,” said media production senior Angeline Abrera. “I love the fact that Valenti has that connection with the Rodeo and they can help students find things to include in our resumes.”
Although many of the positions were been virtual, Valenti students have been able to learn to adapt to a new type of experience over the past year: remote internships.
“By the time the summer came around last year, virtual internships came up,” said Reyes. “While treasure in-person opportunities because students grow from that full, hands-on experience, we knew the pandemic was something outside of everyone’s control. So we decided in the end that we were going to accept and promote virtual internships.”
The HLSR internship for some students paved the way for getting a grasp of other internship opportunities amid the pandemic.
“Right now I am an intern for a company based in California. I feel like remote internships are harder to navigate but I also like it because it allows us to seek out opportunities in other states.” Abrera said.