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Summer Internships: Claire Ford '25

July 17, 2023
Claire Ford in front of a mural.

Name: Claire Ford
Class Year: 2025
Major: Education and Sociology
Hometown: Allentown, NJ

Internship Organization: Grounds For Sculpture
Job Title: Summer Intern
Location: Hamilton, NJ

What's happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!

Hi everyone! My name is Claire, and this summer, I am interning at Grounds For Sculpture, a 42-acre sculpture garden, museum, and arboretum in central New Jersey! Here, I have the opportunity to work with the volunteer team, conduct large amounts of research on the various exhibits on display, and self-design educational opportunities for visitors to the park. Specifically, I am designing an educational tour geared towards middle schoolers that combines aspects of art and nature. To do this, I have researched, planned, and practiced a forty-five-minute informative tour of what I believe to be the must-see sculptures out of over 276 pieces on the grounds. I have also worked to create an art project for Grounds For Sculpture’s “SmART Cart,” an accessible and ever-changing activity cart that is simple and educational for participants of all ages. My art project is based on a popular sculpture here, 'Monet's Bridge,' and combines narratives of French impressionism with the founder of Grounds For Sculpture’s vision. In addition to these two big projects, my day-to-day work includes assisting with any projects staff requests help with and guiding others through the park.

Art sculpture in a park.
This piece, "Dorion," by Bruce Beasley, is put over dyed water to enhance its reflection! It is stop #5 on my tour!

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship as I am really interested in educational opportunities outside of a traditional school setting. I wanted to see first-hand how educational public programming influences the nature of a place, in addition to the people involved, and how I can help to create these programs! I also have always really loved Grounds For Sculpture as a non-profit organization that is founded on values such as joy of discovery and sensory delight! It is made accessible and engaging through the people that work hard to make it this way, and I wanted to be a part of this mission.

Sculpture of two figures on a bench.
Monumental figures like this one are scattered across the park and a main attraction for visitors! Notice the size of the piece in comparison to my dad taking a selfie!

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

The people! Although in my internship, I am not working directly with other interns, staff, or volunteers, I have been able to form great relationships with others at the park, making my experience as an intern even better. Everyone here is truly so friendly, kind, and welcoming. I have never met a member who did not want, or have time, to share information with me, and take some time to talk. Each individual has so much knowledge on the history of the park, art in general, and the founder, Seward Johnson. It has been so wonderful to bond with others through this shared love of the park and to get to know the volunteer team and staff as unique individuals. I have been taken on tours by docents at the park who have shared all their knowledge with me, answering every single question I had and being patient as I worked to understand the world of sculpture. I have had the privilege of being able to ask my supervisor for help whenever I needed it and complete my major assignments according to my own design.

Sculpture in a park and a peacock.
Another benefit of this beautiful park is the 10+ peacocks who live here! They mingle with visitors and are cared for by Grounds For Sculpture staff.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

What is most rewarding about my internship is the feeling that I am learning every single day. I truly have gained a mass amount of knowledge since being at Grounds For Sculpture, and it is information that will benefit my future career. Not only is it an immense amount of information on art history, Grounds For Sculpture specifically, and the founder of the park, but I have learned skills being an intern that will be needed in my future at Bryn Mawr. I am developing skills to truly be my own manager and create tasks that will push me to learn and step out of my comfort zone. I am also learning how to work in a setting that has people of all ages here for the same thing—art! I am also gaining a lot of advocating skills that involve speaking up when I have a question, asking for more information, and taking full advantage of everything I can during this summer internship. This experience has made me confident in my abilities to create opportunities for myself. I have pushed myself to learn and grow here and take advantage of the opportunities available, and I am excited to see what else I can do in this next month. Because of this internship, I will be more inclined to go for other opportunities available at Bryn Mawr, as well as take classes that encourage this feeling of learning and developing skills. I really know what learning can and should feel like, and I want to take the rest of my undergraduate career to reflect this knowledge.

Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.

Education Sociology