Aperture Magazine

The magazine of photography and ideas

Aperture Matters: Diana Panora

Diana Panora reflects on the impact of the Aperture's Stevan A. Baron Work-Scholar Program on her life and career.

 - December 26, 2013

Members of the photography community and beyond reflect on the role that Aperture’s magazine, books, and educational programs have played in their lives.

Before I started as a finance and administration work scholar at Aperture, I struggled to figure out what I wanted to pursue in my professional life. I graduated from the City College of New York with a BA in International Studies, and I was not sure if I wanted to pursue accounting or something else.

At first, the internship was very challenging—I had no experience with photography. My duties and responsibilities involved working not only with the finance department, but with Aperture as a whole. Since Aperture is not only a multiplatform publisher but also runs a gallery, bookstore, educational programs, and more, the finance department has to interact with several other departments, all of which are interconnected in one way or another. I have learned so much about photography and publishing: from the genesis of a book idea with an artist, to printing and production, right up until the book makes it into stores. This has made me appreciate the arts so much more.

Former Aperture work scholar Diana Panora at Aperture Gallery in October, 2013

As I reached the end of my term as a work scholar, I applied for a program administrator–payment processing position at the Institute of International Education in New York. My interview at IIE, a non-profit organization, revolved around the skills I had developed at Aperture. I was able to provide the interviewers with detailed answers to their questions and give them solutions to their hypothetical finance scenarios. I was able to answer their questions with confidence. I believe that this was the best I have ever performed in a job interview. After finding out I was the final candidate, I felt I had redeemed myself; last year, I had applied for a similar position at IIE, but did not get the job. I know it was because I did not have sufficient professional experience.

I joined Aperture in search of professional enrichment, and it did not disappoint. I can now move forward with my academic and professional life; I plan to work and take accounting courses on the side to become more prepared and knowledgeable. I was sad to leave Aperture, but I am happy I started my post-graduation career there. I grew not only professionally, but as a person. I want to thank the finance and administration department particularly for their support, friendship, and genuine interest in my professional growth. Even though I kept a low profile, I hope I made a difference to every person at Aperture.

Diana Panora was the finance and administration work scholar at Aperture for two terms in 2013. She now works at the Institute of International Education.

Learn more about the Stevan A. Baron Work-Scholar Program.