Drew University Students Land Competitive Conservatory Internships

Three students are spending their summers in the Tony Award-winning Paper Mill Playhouse

June 2024 – This summer, two recent Drew University graduates and one rising junior are heading to New Jersey’s Tony Award-winning Paper Mill Playhouse to pursue competitive conservatory internships.

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(l-r) Rodden, Geary, and Snyder

Genevieve Geary C’26, Christina Rodden C’24, and Ella Snyder C’24 were selected from among more than 50 candidates for stage management internships with Paper Mill’s Summer Professional Training Conservatory. The pre-professional experience is highly selective and is the only opportunity where Paper Mill hosts interns in a fully functional role. 

“Experiential learning is key to advancing performance-ready skills, but also to developing professional skills like time management, communication, discipline, collaboration, and flexibility,” said Lisa Brenner, professor of theatre arts.

In addition to the skills and learning experience, the internship is a perfect opportunity to get a leg up for the future.

According to research conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), when considering two equally qualified candidates for a job opening, employers give the edge to the candidate who has internship experience. NACE notes that employers value students’ investment in developing skills and competencies during internships that will smooth their transition to the workplace and be beneficial on the job.

During the conservatory, Geary, Rodden, and Snyder will be assigned a director and function for their specific stage management roles in preparation for Paper Mill’s New Voices Concert in late July. The interns will work backstage, alongside seasoned Union Crew members of Paper Mill. They will ultimately manage three public performances on their final days of the program.  

Rodden had such a positive experience interning with Paper Mill last summer that she applied to return this year and is thrilled to be back.

“I’ve learned so much about all of the work it takes behind the scenes to put on a production to a Paper Mill standard,” she shared. “I have gained significant organizational skills, as it’s primarily the stage manager’s job to ensure that rehearsal spaces are prepped and ready, that rehearsals run smoothly, and that everything is happening on time. I have also learned how to work with different directors to realize their vision. It is professional-level, hands-on experience for sure!” 

In addition to boosting their skills, experience, and overall confidence in their desired workplace, the Conservatory will expand the Drew interns’ professional networks as they work with Paper Mill’s crew, production stage manager, artistic director, artist development director, and education director.

“The professional theatre world is small,” said Brenner. “People know each other and often reach out for hiring recommendations. We are thrilled to have a collaborative relationship with Paper Mill and are grateful for their support of our students’ development.” 

Geary, Rodden, and Snyder will also receive a stipend for their work, a significant detail. 

According to Forbes, “College students who complete paid internships receive nearly twice as many job offers than students with no internship experience and receive a higher first-year salary than those who did not complete an internship.”  

When tassels are turned and it’s time to compete for a job, these students will have that much more going for them.

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