At a glance, Detroit is looking good.

After decades of stagnation, the city is flourishing with new businesses and making headlines in national news. For example, there are new, great restaurants all over Detroit. Downtown and in the Cass Corridor, you can find stylish urban lofts for sale within walking distance of Comerica Park or Avalon Bakery. A New York Times article last year asked, “Detroit: The Most Exciting City in America?” – and there are plenty of highly visible reasons to guess that the answer to that question could be, “Yes.”

But Detroit’s ongoing resurgence is still working to take root in many of the city’s neighborhoods the way it has in midtown. The Applebaum Program for Non-Profit Internships, a new initiative from the LSA Opportunity Hub, connects LSA students to internships at a slew of southeastern Michigan nonprofits and arts organizations, and provides plenty of support for them while they are doing it.

Students will spend the summer living and working in Detroit—interning at places such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit Historical Society, and Motown Museum as well as American Red Cross, InsideOut Literary Arts Project, Zero Waste Detroit, and Downtown Boxing Gym.

Working at these institutions will give students real-world experience at important and dynamic organizations—experience that will help prepare them for their future careers.

All participating students will receive financial support to cover living expenses over the summer in Detroit, and they will also participate in year-round programming as the first cohort of fellows in the LSA Opportunity Hub Applebaum Program for Non-Profit Internships. The program exists thanks to a generous donation from The Eugene & Marcia Applebaum Family Foundation, which aims to inspire students through exposure to vital work being done throughout metro Detroit in the nonprofit and cultural arts arena. The ultimate goal is to provide students with an enlightening lens of career leadership opportunities in our community and the importance of that work in ensuring the strength of our future.

Building upon the enduring vision and leadership example of Mr. Eugene Applebaum, The Eugene & Marcia Applebaum Family Foundation is committed to enhancing the overall strength and vibrancy of the metropolitan Detroit community. A fundamental focus of Applebaum philanthropy is to provide unique opportunities that will inspire leadership, entrepreneurship, and independence for the next generation. The legacy of this work is a perfect match for the LSA Opportunity Hub, which seeks to connect students’ liberal arts education to their professional goals and aspirations, to prepare them for changes that come after graduation, and to showcase our own community as a center for career growth and advancement.

“My family has long been devoted to enriching our community first and foremost,” says Pamela Applebaum, the president of The Eugene & Marcia Applebaum Family Foundation. “The vital institutions and organizations in metro Detroit are a critical lifeline to our long-term success and growth. The Applebaum Program for Non-Profit Internships at the University of Michigan links the passion of our family to motivate the talents of the next generation with the opportunity to appreciate the value and importance of being professional leaders at these organizations and institutions.”

The program’s first cohort of fellows are set to undertake exciting work throughout southeastern Michigan this summer. They are:

Reina Otsuka
Program Development Intern, Give Merit
The founder of WORTH (Women’s Organization on Rights to Health), Reina Otsuka recently collaborated with the National Organization for Women to speak to students at Michigan high schools on topics such as consent. She’s hoping her experience at Give Merit, a socially conscious fashion company that works to provide educational resources to underserved youth, will give her the chance to “better educate myself on the history and socio-culture of Detroit.”  

Madeleine Pierpont
Oral History Intern, Detroit Historical Society
“The Applebaum internships are focused on both nonprofit and arts-driven organizations, which I think is such a fascinating combination,” said Madeline Pierpont, a senior majoring in history and history of art.  “Even in its smallest forms, art can benefit the community in which it is created.” Pierpont’s passions are in art, history, and business, and she hopes to eventually land a job in a museum or auction house. She is a recent recipient of the James B. Angell Scholar Award.

Lucille Rosenthal 
Grant Management Intern, American Red Cross
Rosenthal, a junior majoring in sociology, has completed a steady string of experiences with nonprofits and service organizations: volunteering to repair homes in Houston after Hurricane Harvey and putting on collaborative music and community service events with MUSIC Matters among them. This service work has led her to an interest in nonprofit management. “Every experience I’ve had with a nonprofit organization has been inspiring,” she said. “I hope to continue feeling that way in my daily work.”

Blake Washington
Coding Education Intern, JOURNi
As a student athlete, Blake Washington has earned numerous accolades: membership to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, distinction as a two-time recipient of Big-Ten All-Academic Honors, and recognition as an All-Academic Scholar by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. As a senior majoring in cognitive science, he is passionate about programming and hopes to share his passion with students this summer at JOURNi. “I hope to be a role model to the students,” he said. “I want to pass along what I’ve learned, but also show them that someone who is similar to them in many ways learned to program proficiently.”

Lenae Jefferson
Program Intern, Motown Museum
Lenae Jefferson’s work with the Prison Creative Arts Project gave her vital experience curating, organizing, and executing an exhibition; she was also tasked with the role of leading the organization’s new digital Detroit Exhibition in Eastern Market. “One of my biggest goals is to one day curate and run my own exhibition or gallery,” said Jefferson, a junior majoring in history of art. “Working with the Motown Museum is a chance to expand the knowledge and network I have.”

Seth Andrews
Script Reading and Marketing Intern, Detroit Public Theater
“I’ve known I wanted to be a screenwriter since high school,” said Seth Andrews, a sophomore majoring in screen arts and culture. “So this is a really cool opportunity, with the added appeal of making the arts more accessible.” Andrews has produced two short films (one recently played at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles), an animated short, and a TV sitcom pilot. He hopes to write and produce for film and television.

Camille Moore
Program Intern, Motown Museum
Music has played a pivotal role in Camille Moore’s life. As a freshman in high school who was new to town, she joined the marching band. She went on to ascend to section leader and then drum major. “One of my main goals this summer is to reach out to high school students and help them create their own music and market their final product,” said Moore, a sophomore majoring in communications studies. “I’m hoping to gain skills at the Motown Museum that will help me grow in my path to my future career.”

Collin Beavan
Development Intern, Downtown Boxing Gym
Whether working as an in-home caregiver for people with mental and physical disabilities or conducting research in Flint on factors that influence aggression in inner-city children, Collin Beavan’s focus has been applying his psychology education to improving conditions in underserved communities. The junior is hoping to learn how a large, urban nonprofit attains and distributes funding. “I specifically want to work in Detroit and do my part to help push the city back to the top,” Beavan said.

Sophia Filipe
Youth Program Academic Support Intern, Downtown Boxing Gym
As a high school student, Sophia Filipe volunteered to deliver food and goods to families in three separate trailer parks in her hometown of Flint. Her greatest reward from that experience? A hand-knit blanket from one of the people she helped. “I label this one of my greatest achievements since I was able to touch her life and build a relationship,” said Filipe, now a sophomore majoring in international studies. “At Downtown Boxing Gym, I plan to build equally meaningful relationships with the students I get to mentor.” In addition to her volunteer work in Flint, Filipe is a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, where she offers her time weekly to causes in Ann Arbor.

Gillian Graham
Event and Social Media Intern, InsideOut Literary Arts Project
A sophomore, Gillian Graham has already devoted time to Detroit as a Summer in the City intern, where she and others painted murals, worked in urban gardens, and took care of children at day camps. She hopes to someday work in marketing and digital communication. “The perseverance of the city truly inspires me,” Graham said. “This is a unique opportunity to have a firsthand experience with Detroit’s progression.”

Gabrielle Gregg
Teen Council and Youth Programs Intern, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
Working in Dearborn classrooms recently as a tutor affected Gabrielle Gregg deeply. There, students had to share textbooks, deal with unpleasant temperatures, and sit in overcrowded classrooms. “It inspired me to want to advocate for all students in the classroom and the right to literacy and the right to learn,” said Gregg, a senior majoring in communications studies and American culture. At the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, she’s looking forward to using art to start discussions about social justice with students.

Olivia Stillman
Community Outreach Intern, Zero Waste Detroit
Junior Olivia Stillman will explore the intersection of environmentalism, social justice, and urbanism during her internship at Zero Waste Detroit. Stillman’s work on campus includes lobbying for a mandatory sustainability requirement for all LSA students. She also recently participated in Semester in Detroit, where she interned with Ecoworks. “I’m dedicated to playing a responsible role in the future of Detroit,” Stillman said.

Cydney Hill
Coding Education Intern, JOURNi
Senior Cydney Hill’s experience interning as a teaching assistant to a class of 25 students reinforced her interest in working with students day-to-day. During that time, she coached them as they developed their websites and developed a community action plan to increase tech education in Detroit. At JOURNi, she hopes to explore this work further, providing “a safe space for students to express themselves through programming languages.”

Hannah Thoms
Museum Collections Intern, Motown Museum
“Through my coursework in museum studies, history, and anthropology, I have become passionate about studying the stories we tell about the past,” said senior Hannah Thoms. She hopes to make a career in museums—she was a museum intern in Flint last summer—and is considering graduate studies in library/archival science. “I am a mission-driven person,” Thoms said. “The Applebaum funding has given me the freedom to pursue that.”

Katherine Williams
Events and Communications Intern, Detroit Symphony Orchestra
“I am extremely passionate about the arts and I believe that experiencing performance is not a privilege but a right,” said Katherine Williams, a junior majoring in communication. Williams is on the marketing team for MUSKET, a campus theater organization, and you’ll often find her at the Arthur Miller Theatre. Her hope is to someday work at an advertising agency marketing Broadway shows and to create programming that creates more access to these experiences for those with financial barriers.

To learn more about the LSA Opportunity Hub and the Applebaum Internship Program, please see the relevant web pages

For the LSA Opportunity Hub, click here.

For the Applebaum Program for Non-Profit Internships, click here.

This article is part of an ongoing series on the LSA Opportunity Hub’s internship season. The Hub’s internship program is a first-of-its-kind project, connecting liberal arts students’ academic work to real-world experience through the Hub’s massive internship databank and global network of alumni and resources. You can read more about internship season here.



Photos by Natalie Condon