August 3, 2020
With 800 employees, BCArc sponsors an annual walk to support families and individuals with Down syndrome. Last fall more than 1,200 people participated from all over the Berkshires. MCLA students Max Martel and Amanda Bortman, interning at BCArc this summer, are helping share stories from the organization's staff.
Two MCLA students, Amanda Bortman and Max Martel, are interning for Berkshire County Arc this summer, using their communications skills to help tell the stories of BCArc’s staff.
BCArc, a nonprofit human services organization, offers a broad range of community-based services to individuals with developmental disabilities, brain injuries and Autism. Though their internship is virtual, the students have been able to visit some of BCArc’s residential sites to interview staff, respecting social distancing guidelines as they work. They’re also checking in regularly with David Singer, BCArc’s director of marketing and communications, who manages their work and offers guidance regarding interviews, narrative, and reflecting BCArc’s brand.
“The people who work for the organization really have the passion to be here and their stories have been extremely interesting to hear and learn about,” said Martel, an English/communications major with concentrations in broadcast media and digital media Innovation as well as a minor in anthropology.
Martel (pictured, left) is using video to tell these stories, giving them an opportunity to film as well as edit, ultimately creating a final product that is featured on BCArc’s website and social media. “Eventually, I do want to make a career out of this, out of filming and being able to share stories from people coming from all walks of life,” they said. “If I can, I'd like to continue to be doing this, sharing stories. Sharing stories is how we make connections--at least, that is what I believe.”
“I’m a double major in English and Communications, so the work relates to writing and communication. I’m interested in writing, editing, and organizing data,” said Bortman, who interviews staff and writes pieces for BCArc’s website. “My supervisor, Dave Singer, is really passionate about wrangling stories out of people and using them to reflect the culture of BCArc.”
Both students have adjusted well to the virtual aspects of their work, though they note that there’s less opportunity for deeper interactions with their interview subjects. But the flexibility can be a plus: “If it’s virtual, you are the one in control of choosing your times and length of time,” Bortman said.
“MCLA is doing something right with their communications students,” said Singer of his interns. “They both understand the field, and how to frame and deliver a message. The best part is that they come at each project with fresh ideas, but don’t know it, so I’m not sure who is getting more out of this internship—them or me. If I could hire them, I would.”
See what Bortman and Martel have been producing this summer at https://bcarc.org/category/staff-stories/.
Are you an MCLA student, alum, or faculty member? Do you want MCLA to share your story? Please email Creative and Brand Strategy Manager Francesca Olsen at Francesca.Olsen@mcla.edu.