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Life as an Intern by Madison Kelly

As a twenty-year old Rochester local, I always felt like I should feel more connected to the city. Sure I’d been to Downtown events before and I’d visited various restaurants and shops Downtown in the past. But it wasn’t until I started working at the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) as an Events and Marketing Intern that found myself immersed in Downtown. I started taking the city bus to work. Cafe Steam is now right next to my office (I always go for an Arnold Palmer or Chai Latte). And I’ve never ran around Downtown more than I did while delivering posters and postcards. I’m still figuring out the subway, but I’ll get there!

About Me

When I’m not at the RDA, you can find me making art or taking photos at home. I also enjoy developing film with friends and watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. I’m a cat lover and a wannabe plant mom of many half-alive plants, including Alfred, my snake plant. I love fashion and have also worked at Old Navy for the last four years.

My Role with the RDA

As a Graphic Design major at Drake University, one of my main roles as an intern was producing posters, postcards, and other marketing materials for our events. Dogs Downtown was my biggest project by far. It was incredible watching my designs go from pen doodles to a six foot poster in Peace Plaza. Everywhere I went Downtown, I saw my posters peak out from storefront windows and postcards sitting on cafe counters. 

Want to see more of Madison's work with our organization? Click here

Thursdays on First & 3rd also played a huge role in my internship. Yeah, I’ve grabbed cheese curds at the event before. But I never expected to work 15 hours on-site helping with load-in and load-out, making announcements before and after performances, taking event photos, and collecting surveys at the Downtown Rochester tent. I definitely got my steps in. 22,075 has been my most so far, but who’s counting.

Throughout all our events, I’ve been able to connect with attendees by taking photos. Photography has been my side hustle for years, but it was great to put my skills to use for an organization. I’m able to show our events from a more personal perspective, as I’m not only shooting the events, but working and experiencing them myself too. It was also a joy to show my staff what our events and programs mean to the community through the moments I capture.

My internship with the RDA is coming to a close, as school is right around the corner. But I’m so proud of the work I’ve added to my portfolio here and the connections I’ve made with the staff and the community. Working Downtown has definitely taught me that there’s a lot more to do in Rochester than you might have expected, and we at the RDA put a lot of work into making that happen!