Anthropology major finds purpose in archival research at community music school

Kayla Stevens ’23

Kayla Stevens ’23, an anthropology major at The College of Wooster, returned to The Hochstein School, a community music and dance school in her hometown of Rochester, New York, for the summer as an intern in the development department to complete archival research and assist with outreach initiatives. In high school, Stevens played clarinet in Hochstein’s youth orchestras and volunteered with the former director of development and community engagement for her Girl Scout Gold Award project. “I reached out to the new development staff with an interest in continuing my previous work with the school, with the hope of having opportunities to apply an anthropological perspective,” she said.

“The structure that the APEX Fellowship provides has been such a beneficial supplement to my internship experience.”
—Kayla Stevens ’23 

 What work did you complete during your internship and what interested you most about it?

“The main project I worked on was researching the historical figures of Hochstein which would help the school better understand its key supporters and their connections to the community. This research involved exploring old brochures and board meeting minutes, as well as having weekly meetings with the school’s president/executive director about Hochstein’s community members. The end of my internship culminated in the creation of a final booklet that listed the board of directors from 1980 to 2020. Keeping in mind the long-term purpose and application of this document was incredibly helpful in motivating me to do my best work. In the future, I know I want to pursue work that also has a clear overarching purpose or meaning so that I feel connected to how my contributions may impact or help others.”

How did your APEX Fellowship mentor, Associate Professor of Biology Stephanie Strand, help you succeed?

I’m very appreciative of APEX’s mentorship program and the reflection exercises I was assigned throughout the internship. Meeting with my mentor, Dr. Strand, or writing my thoughts down in a weekly reflective paper gave me the chance to step back and understand the bigger picture of how I felt about the internship and what it meant for the future.”

What are some skills you learned that you see yourself carrying forward in your career?

Through my internship, I learned a lot about what goes into working in development at a non-profit school such as Hochstein. One of the most exciting parts of the internship was learning about important figures of Hochstein’s board of directors through interviews and historical documents. I had the chance to improve how I interview others by learning to be a good listener and taking thorough notes. The internship challenged me to think deeply about the type of work I enjoy doing and how I prefer to approach doing the work.

Posted in Experiential Learning on August 12, 2021.

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Related Areas of Study


Earn a bachelor of arts in music or a bachelor of music in either music performance or music composition

Major Minor


Use problem-solving and research skills to explore and understand communities and cultures in every part of the world.

Major Minor

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