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Lyric Opera of Chicago opportunity helps Randolph student grow

Jessica Burroughs '18 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Jessica Burroughs ’18 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. (photo courtesy Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Before this summer, Jessica Burroughs ’18 had never flown in a plane, much less lived in a big city. Thanks to a unique internship with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, she had a summer full of first-time experiences and achievements.

“The biggest takeaway from this internship is that I am happiest when I have difficult tasks,” Burroughs said. “There’s something extremely satisfying in seeing everything you’ve accomplished, knowing that every step of the way was worth it.”

Burroughs was selected for the 2017 Donald P. Baiocchi Lyric Opera of Chicago Internship, which Amanda Fox ’67 sponsors each summer. The 10-week program allows Randolph students to gain hands-on experience in arts management and nonprofit fundraising while working for the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s development office. It also provides a stipend to cover housing and living expenses.

Burroughs performed a variety of organizational tasks and assisted with the board of directors’ meetings as members prepared for the Lyric’s 2017-18 season. In addition, she received training in Tessitura, a database commonly used by prominent arts organizations in the United States. Burroughs, a business and economics double major and studio art minor, benefited from both the experience working in the organization and from Chicago’s artistic and cultural atmosphere.

“I was absolutely in love with Chicago,” Burroughs said. “There was so much to do there in the summer that it could be stressful picking just one or two things to do in a day. The views were gorgeous, the food was amazing, and to top it all off, I could walk just about anywhere.”

Burroughs was able to meet the alumna sponsoring her internship multiple times. She and Fox went boating in the Play Pen, watched the new Wonder Woman movie, and attended the Independence Day Salute orchestral concert in Grant Park.

“Spending time with Amanda was truly one of the highlights,” Burroughs said. “She has continued to sponsor this internship because she believes students can grow 50 percent from working at a company as renowned as the Lyric and 50 percent from being exposed to everything that Chicago has to offer. I’m extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to work here and grow.”

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