Alumna's First Job Is The Perfect Fit

Tess Favini '14

Tess Favini '14 of Fitchburg, MA, combined her Bachelor of Arts degree in arts management with her love of event planning and came up with her ideal job: She's the junior events producer for Design Museum Boston.

A pop-up museum with no permanent location, Design Museum Boston holds exhibitions and events throughout the Boston and Cambridge areas. As its junior events producer, Favini is responsible for the planning and management of their yearly event series like Design Museum Mornings and UNITE, as well as the Field Trip series.

According to Favini, there's never a dull moment as she coordinates speakers, locations, volunteers, and food and drinks for the  various series, and handles the promotions and marketing of each event.

"A lot of my job is talking to really smart people about new ideas regarding design, so I am always learning something new! I also have the privilege of visiting a lot of really cool spaces and venues in Boston," she said.

As an MCLA student, Favini's career focus changed. While she remained committed to her arts management major, she found herself increasingly drawn to event planning as she took charge of events in her involvement with the Student Activities Council (SAC).

"Eventually, I found a really interesting compromise between a lot of the different disciplines I was interested in, which ultimately were cultural events and programming," she said. "After graduation, I applied to a bunch of different types of arts and cultural jobs, but was lucky enough to find Design Museum Boston's posting, which ended up being the perfect fit for me." 

It was through SAC that Favini honed many of the skills she uses at her job. At the same time, MCLA’s arts management program prepared her to work in a museum setting.

"I had a strong understanding of how museums function and survive as non-profits, and that's definitely important for my current position," she explained. "I also graduated with a lot of hands-on experience. I had a few internships that were event-based, as well as tangible experience from classes that have stayed with me."

While at MCLA, Favini served a number of internships she said were crucial to obtaining her position at Design Boston Museum.

"I interned at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the City of North Adams and Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development while I was at MCLA, and was given real day-to-day responsibilities," Favini explained. This experience, she added, "made the transition from intern to full-time staff really easy."

She believes her experience at MASS MoCA – because it is a major museum – was a big factor in securing her job.

"I already knew how museum programming was structured, so there wasn't a learning curve. I also was able to say that I've successfully balanced managing multiple events and performances on top of my academics while I was still in school, which is a skill that's applicable to the position I hold now."

What's her advice to others who want a career in arts management?

"Take advantage of all of the crazy impressive opportunities made available through MCLA," Favini said. "Arts management in particular has a network of amazing connections throughout the Berkshires, and a ton of people who want to help connect students with organizations through internships and volunteering. You have to get involved to make these opportunities happen, though!

"All MCLA students are lucky enough to be in one of the most beautiful and culturally abundant parts of the state," she continued. "Also, the small class sizes mean that your professors get to know you personally and are typically available for one-on-one help. Arts management students in particular are lucky because they have a staff that is like a personal cheerleading squad. My professors always wanted to help me succeed and use their connections and resources to do so." 

 
Since he graduated from MCLA in 2013, Max Roman Dilthey has amassed more than five million readers through his cycling, hiking and backpacking website, MaxTheCyclist.com, and with online publications his writing has appeared in, such as The Solar Tribune, The Houston Chronicle, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Livestrong.com.
 
Because of this work, Dilthey, who double majored in English and environmental studies at MCLA, recently won the 2016 New England Outdoor Writing Association’s Award.
 
“I write about things that mean a lot to me, and I think anyone can connect with someone's experience if the story they’re telling is meaningful and honest,” Dilthey said.
 
“I think it’s great that a lot of my work resonates with people. I especially love the community on my site, where I have regular readers who comment and tell me what they think about my articles. That feedback really makes me want to write more and more,” he added.
 
Dilthey originally planned to major in art. He switched to English after a positive experience in a writing course. Then, during his sophomore year, he became “hooked” on biology after taking a course to fulfill a science prerequisite, and ended up adding the environmental studies major soon after.
 
“I don’t think I'd have picked either of these majors if I wasn't inspired by the courses and professors at MCLA,” Dilthey said.
 
Now a graduate student in the Sustainability Science program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he is completing his master’s degree and beginning work on his Ph.D., Dilthey’s many activities include working with a team of Ph.D. students and faculty to co-author a paper on adaptation and mitigation for climate change resilience in coastal environments.
 
Dilthey also teaches his own class,” Sustainable Living: Solutions for the 21st Century,” a four-credit course for first-year UMass students.
 
In addition, he’s working with the Residential Academic Programs Office to develop new connections for first-year students and programming partners across the University of Massachusetts system as they create a general education course on life at college.
 
“I push the benefits and importance of a diverse, rich, and multifaceted education to my students any chance I get, using my time at MCLA as an example of the power of interdisciplinary learning. I am immensely proud of our school, and I am lucky to have started there. I would not be here without MCLA,” he said.
 
In fact, Dilthey finds himself spending a good deal of time telling students about the benefits of his experiences at MCLA, such as how they can find opportunities in clubs and the value of  learning from a diverse selection of classes.
 
Dilthey, whose writing also is featured in Adventure Cycling and Bikepackers magazines, discovered his love for camping, hiking and backpacking during his senior year through the MCLA Outdoors Club. There, he learned everything he needed to know to eventually lead trips himself. The experience, he said, was “transformative.”
 
At UMass, Dilthey said he has one of the strongest backgrounds in environmental law among others in his department. “MCLA taught me that the courses outside of your major or focus can sometimes be the most valuable to your career. 
 
He recommends MCLA – and the English and environmental sciences programs, in particular – to prospective students.
 
“Both of these degrees are absolutely as rigorous and comprehensive as degrees from other colleges, and I have never once felt underprepared for my career and graduate school. I know a lot of my peers that graduated with me would say the same thing,” Dilthey said. “Our entire group is doing amazing things, and we’re all still connected because of the sense of community we had at MCLA.”
 

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