Internships - Meet the Fall 2018 Work Scholars


Sofie Hecht, Collections & Inventory Management

Where were you before starting the Work Scholar Program?
I just graduated from Tufts University in Boston, majoring in international literary and visual studies, as well as Spanish. Basically, I took classes in the theory of photography, Latin American studies, documentary photography, psychology, and sociology. I grew up in NYC, and being a Work Scholar is great for this limbo period after college of deciding where I want to live and what I want to do. (I'm feeling very unsure about all of that right now!) I was recently funded to go to Puerto Rico to cover the effects of school closings on the island’s special education community in conjunction with a changing economy post–Hurricane Maria.


Rachael Baker, Design

What is your background?
I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, then attended Auburn University, where I received my bachelor of fine arts in graphic design. When I am not designing, you might find me in a ceramics studio, experimenting with film photography, or working on a collage.

What have you been working on so far?
I have been working with the lead designer on a new in-house book design, attending design meetings, and helping with image layouts and text edits. I have also been helping with the design of a few magazine ads and postcards, as well as updating the employee press passes and business cards. I have had the opportunity to interact with several departments on various projects already, and am looking forward to learning from all of the talented individuals that I am surrounded with each day.


Anja Schwarzer, Digital Media

Where were you before starting the Work Scholar Program?
I recently graduated from Emerson College in Boston. I completed my BA in film production and a minor in photography. I am a photographer and a practicing screenwriter.

What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently helping my supervisor create video projects for photography books and upcoming events at Aperture!


Samantha Steenstrup, Digital Media

What inspired you to apply to the Work Scholar Program?
I have known about Aperture from a young age because my uncle is a photographer who has always loved what Aperture does. When he heard about my interests in communications and fine-art photography, he directed my attention to the idea of a summer internship. I was inspired to apply by my genuine fascination for what Aperture does and the endless possibilities I could learn from this experience. This internship is my first experience living in New York City and working in an office, both of which are incredibly exciting moments for me.


Claire Debost, Editorial (Books)

Where were you before starting the Work Scholar Program?
I grew up in France and I just graduated from Bard College in upstate New York, where I received a BA in photography and human rights. I previously interned at Les Rencontres d'Arles and at Magnum Foundation, which both have close ties with Aperture Foundation. 

What projects are you currently working on?
I am with the Editorial (books) department, and I am currently researching comparable titles for the Spring 2019 books, which has been very interesting.


Rachel Kober, Editorial (Books)

Where were you before starting the Work Scholar Program?
While receiving a BFA in Tisch’s Department of Photography and Imaging at NYU, I began working in photographers’ studios and in commercial and editorial production. From these positions I was able to pinpoint a through-line interest in assisting artists in their pursuits, and the conception and execution of creative projects.

What inspired you to apply?
I heard about the Work Scholar Program throughout my time at NYU, through various guest lectures from Aperture staff. I was inspired to apply after taking design courses with Yo Cuomo, whose passion for working with artists and conceiving of photobooks was infectious.


Madison Reid, Editorial (Books)

Why did you apply to the Work Scholar Program?
I was encouraged to apply by my photography professor. He showed me “Vision & Justice,” which was the very first issue of Aperture that I read. I was inspired by the magazine’s focus on contemporary social issues through diverse work and great writing on photography.

How has your experience as a Work Scholar been so far?
It’s been so informative to work closely with the editorial and production departments; I’m constantly looking at inspiring work and asking questions. There’s always an opportunity to learn from the Aperture staff and my fellow Work Scholars.


Ellen Pong, Editorial (Magazine)

What inspired you to apply to the Work Scholar Program?
I was first introduced to Aperture a few years ago when I was assigned to read excerpts from the “Vision and Justice” issue of the magazine for an art history class. The essays were really impactful, and I have since become a diligent reader of Aperture’s publications. I decided to apply for the Work Scholar Program because this opportunity was one of few that would allow me to explore my various interests in writing, photography, and publishing.

What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on image research for the Spring 2019 issue and various administrative tasks for the Winter 2018 issue.


Alex Schlechter, Education & Public Programming

Where were you before starting the Work Scholar Program?
I just graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where I got my BFA studying fine-art photography and art history.

What inspired you to apply?
I worked with a lot of professors and alumni at RIT who recommended this program and spoke very highly of the foundation. Being a recent graduate, I am not entirely sure what my future holds, but this opportunity is an incredible learning experience and I am starting to figure out what I love to do. I’ve already learned a lot about how a non-profit organization works, as well as how to give tours and organize workshops and events, and the experience is really enriching.


Israel Moreno, Finance & Operations

How has your experience as a Work Scholar been so far?
I really don’t know much about photography, to me it’s a completely new field, and it’s been quite interesting learning from everyone who’s here and so dedicated and passionate about it. So far, my experience has been quite intensive. I’ve been exposed to many aspects and functions of the finance department.


Anni Li, Finance and Operations

How did you hear about the Work Scholar Program? What inspired you to apply?
I studied heritage communications at Cornell, but I am also into alternative photographic processes. I heard about the program through Aperture’s website! I was inspired to apply because of the content of Aperture's books and magazine and the structure of this non-profit organization.


Breanna Denney, Library & Archives

What is your background?
I received my degree in photojournalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, where I worked as both a photo editor and a freelance photographer before switching to pursue my interests in library science by becoming the assistant photo archivist at my university’s Special Collections and University Archives department. I also work at an art gallery as the archival intern.

What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently accessioning and cataloguing new additions to the library.


Charis Morgan, Magazine Circulation

What projects are you currently working on?
I work with Dana Triwush in the Magazine Publishing department, which focuses on the distribution and circulation of Aperture's quarterly magazine.

How did you hear about the Work Scholar Program?
I heard about the Work Scholar Program from Emily Lessard, Aperture’s former design director, when she visited my photography class with Sasha Rudensky at Columbia. She had nothing but great things to say about the program so I decided to apply. Aperture’s mission is incredibly important to me as a student of photography and I was thrilled at the prospect of working with one of the most influential photography institutions.


Faith Couch, Maryland Institute College of Art Summer Intern: Exhibitions Department

What projects are you currently working on?
Now that the Summer Open exhibition is up, we are currently working on finding venues for Aperture's traveling exhibitions and planning the setup for the Fall Gala.

What about Aperture inspires you?
Aperture Foundation has not only acted as an educator but an enforcer of taste, artistic value, and producing international spectators. In an era of continual social and political changes, photography still stands at the forefront of revolution. As a photographer, I am honored to be a part of a rich lineage of hardworking writers, photographers, and scholars who continue to shape the history of photography.


Kaija Xiao, Production

What is your background?
I’m a queer, trans, mixed-race multimedia artist, and just graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where I studied international affairs. I wrote my thesis on the GMOs and neoimperialism in India.

How did you hear about the Work Scholar Program?
My wonderful photo professor Dru Donovan recommended I apply for the program. I applied because I wanted to immerse myself in the world of fine-art photography as someone that is new to the field—I only started showing work this year.


Yu Yan, Communications

How has your experience as a Work Scholar been so far?
My experience as a work scholar at Aperture has been rewarding so far, even in these early stages. I am excited by the many educational opportunities and the ability to learn about the collaboration between different departments here at Aperture. Being exposed to these inspiring works and the publicity process behind them also provides me with a new perspective to look at the photo world.


Beryl Briane Ford, Elaine Goldman and John Benis Intern: Development Department

What is your background?
I am currently a graduate student at Columbia University’s Teachers College pursuing an MA in arts administration. I hold a BA in art history and a certificate in museum studies and education from Smith College.

How did you hear about the Work Scholar Program?
I was first introduced to the Work Scholar Program by Blanche Norman, a former Aperture employee and an alum from my graduate program at Columbia. I have always been fascinated by the medium of photography—my undergraduate research focused on how photography is used to reimagine histories for black femmes—and so I was inspired to apply to the foundation.

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