A prestigious internship helped UAFS student Hilda Flores realize many things about herself; some of them surprised her.
First, she discovered a work ethic that allowed her to work efficiently, despite a remote deadline and no direct supervision. Next, she learned that she likes controlling a project “from concept to reality.” Finally Flores, an animation technology major with a studio art minor, learned that what she really wants to do is work in live action film, maybe making music videos.
“I want to work with people,” Flores said. “I don’t want to work all the time in the booth.”
Last year, Flores applied for the J. Pruet Internship, at the advice of her mentor, Dr. Mary Shepard, associate professor of art history and humanities at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.
The internship is awarded by the Arkansas State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts annually to a woman attending an Arkansas university or college whose program of study is applicable to the advancement of Arkansas fine arts or art history. Flores was the only student selected from an applicant pool of nine women statewide.
Flores’ project, creating two video marketing pieces for the Center for Art and Education in Van Buren, combined her animation technology knowhow, studio art chops, and computer expertise.
Working with the art center’s executive director, Jane Owen, Flores developed four ideas and created story boards for each, before producing a seven-minute history of the center and a 10-second spot highlighting the center’s theme, from acorn to oak.
The longer piece debuted at the Center for Art and Education’s annual fundraiser, the 5X5 Gala, where it was well received.
Working through the summer, thanks to the internship’s stipend, Flores went to campus daily, put on her headphones, and worked until 4 or 5 p.m. It was a solitary venture, but she enjoyed learning computer programs she hadn’t used before and re-teaching herself some she had.
Flores knows she is unusual as a Latina in animation technology, but she doesn’t focus on that.
“You can see there are fewer women in the classes, and I am one of the only Hispanics, but I hope that doesn’t affect me,” she said. “I don’t want my nationality or my accent to give people ideas about who I am. I want my work to speak for itself.”
Flores is grateful for the opportunity and proud to have produced something that might benefit the center.
“Everything I did so far (before the internship) was a school project, shown to a teacher for a grade. But this was daunting; this was to benefit an actual organization. I hope this will bring them some attention and more people will want to come to the center. They do so many things there!”
She is also grateful to Shepard and to the Arkansas State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
“I don’t know where I will go next,” the senior said. “But I know I will be prepared for whatever arises.”