This year, Education at Roundabout celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Since 1996, Education at Roundabout has served as a national leader in arts education, using theatrical disciplines to create responsive programming that serves students, educators, early career professionals, and audiences. To celebrate this milestone, we asked members of the Education at Roundabout community to reflect on how Roundabout’s programs have impacted their lives.
Below, Gina Suriano, Roundabout's 2016-17 Special Events Apprentice, looks back on her season at Roundabout.
Gina and Roundabout's 2016-17 Apprentice Class.
My name is Gina Suriano and I was Roundabout’s Special Events Apprentice for the 2016-2017 season. Originally from Long Island, I graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo in May 2016 with a degree in Communication and Sociology, where I was involved in Student and Campus Life, First Year Programs, Residence Life, Greek Life, Club Sports, and lots of other organizations and activities. Prior to Roundabout, I interned for my local Chamber of Commerce, held multiple internships with different departments at Geneseo, and interned at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY.
I first saw The Phantom of the Opera when I was five, which sparked my love of theatre. During college, I participated in theatre and the arts by creating print materials and house managing for Geneseo’s Musical Theatre Club and A Cappella groups, as I am not an actor or singer! I’ve always had an interest in events as well, planning multiple major events for different departments and organizations at Geneseo, as well as through many internship positions.
I started at Roundabout in early September as the Special Events Apprentice in the Development Department. My main tasks included recruiting volunteers and creating volunteer timelines for all opening nights and the Gala; soliciting and organizing items for Roundabout’s major fundraisers, including the Holiday Auction, Gala Online Auction, and Casino Night; drafting and sending correspondence to donors; running a Donor Playreading; and doing other tasks related to event preparation for events including donor dinners, opening nights, fundraising events, and institutional events. In addition to the tasks I was individually responsible for, I also assisted members of the Special Events Team and Development Department with tasks as they arose. My time consisted of a wide variety of short-term and long-term projects, as well as balancing unexpected tasks.
Roundabout’s Apprentice Program was truly a learning experience, and was really designed for the Apprentices to learn about Roundabout and the different roles staff members hold in the organization. We had weekly meetings in which different Senior staff members spoke to us each week about their positions and the paths they took to get there, and we each had a Junior Staff mentor so we could learn about another department we were interested in. As the culminating experience for the apprenticeship program, we planned an event for Roundabout alumni as an Apprentice class; utilizing the skills we had gained throughout the year.
After completing the season-long Apprenticeship, I have learned so much about not just Special Events, Development and working at a not for profit, but also about what kind of work the other departments do. I have gained so much experience, and feel ready to enter the workforce. In addition to the experience I’ve gained, the people I’ve met in my Apprentice class have become some of my closest friends. Roundabout served as the perfect bridge between my college experience and the workforce, and I’m excited to tackle new challenges with the support of the Roundabout team as a Career Development Alumna!
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