By Kelsey Butler*
For one Fordham University photography student, her college experience became slightly more picture perfect when she got the chance to pursue a dream internship. Jessica Wendroff, a double major in communication and media studies with a concentration in film, and visual arts with a concentration in photography, was able to achieve her goal of interning at the Museum of Modern Art in New York after winning the Casey A. Feldman Memorial Scholarship.
The scholarship was established at Fordham University where Casey was a senior at the time of her death, to assist students with finances so that they could gain valuable experience in their field by taking advantage of internship opportunities. Without the $2500 stipend, Jessica would have had to forgo the unpaid internship at the museum for part-time employment to help cover college expenses.
Jessica was able to spend her time at the Museum of Modern Art this past spring researching, organizing and correcting images for exhibits. According to Jessica, “I was able to solely focus on my internship and thoroughly enjoy and absorb it, instead of having to juggle work and the experience. The money helped fund my transportation and food, as well as allow me to buy a small subscription of Photoshop, so that I could practice what was being taught to me from home. I was also able to buy more memory cards and camera equipment so that I could take more photographs and with better quality.”
Jessica, who graduated from Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus in 2014, and has just completed travels to various countries to take street photographs, said her time at the school has given her experiences that she intends to carry with her in her career and beyond.
These include serving as an orientation leader and darkroom assistant at the university, as well as participating in Fordham’s Emerging Leaders program. Additionally, Jessica has volunteered at Free Arts NYC, which provides arts-based mentoring programs for young people.
She adds that the internship and award have also had a profound impact on her:
I am extremely grateful for having been granted this opportunity and have nothing but warm thoughts and gratitude for the Feldman family,” she said. “I feel that the experience helped move from where I wanted to be to where I needed to be and was definitely a catalyst for growth, both visually and intellectually. All in all, the experience helped carve an intern into a tech-savvy career woman with a heightened aesthetic sense and judgment. I am eternally appreciative for having an experience that not only bettered my resume, but my mind and the way I view the world and photography.
Fordham Professor Stephen Kalisky said Jessica stood out in his effective speaking class and called her “one of the true delights” of the semester because of her sense of humor and impressive work ethic.
“I often say that regardless of where they start, I want all of my students to move 10 feet forward during their semester with me,” he wrote in a recommendation letter. “Jessica leaped and bound past 10 feet. I haven’t encountered many students who overcame their blocks with such efficiency and determination.”
Please make a donation to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional students may experience their dream internship.
*Kelsey Butler was one of Casey’s best friends and roommate at Fordham University. She works as a financial journalist in New York.