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Project Interface Experience Gives Rockwood Students Introduction to Career in Animation

 Two Rockwood students work with a business mentor at their summer internshipMadison Tenbroek and Alexandra Zamsky first met at BablerWiLD summer camp in elementary school.

“She saw me drawing and was like, ‘Hey, you draw? I draw! We’re friends now!’” Zamsky recalled.

Even though the two attended different Rockwood schools, they remained friends over the years and bonded over their love of art and illustration.

When Zamsky opened her summer internship placement email from the Rockwood School District Partners in Education (PIE) Project Interface program in the spring, she was pleasantly surprised.

She and Tenbroek had been selected for the same internship.

“It was a coincidence,” said Tenbroek, a Rockwood Summit High senior.

“Getting back in touch with each other was really cool,” said Zamsky, a Lafayette High senior. “And getting back in the groove because, in middle school, we would just draw stuff for each other all the time, basically. It’s really cool to get back to that. It’s nostalgic.”

Tenbroek and Zamsky split their internship experience between two St. Louis-area companies and first-time Project Interface partners this summer: Solstice Productions and Vidzu Media.

At Vidzu, they learned storyboarding and scripting for an animated piece that they are producing with the guidance of Solstice. The project is an animated preview trailer for a comic the two created and rebooted.

Project Interface is a unique summer internship opportunity that places rising Rockwood seniors in a career area of interest, providing them with career exploration opportunities while allowing them to gain practical experience.

“I’ve always really liked art,” Tenbroek said. “Animation is one of those big, storytelling art forms, and I really like using that sort of art form to tell any sort of story I want to tell.”

Two Rockwood students smile with their business mentor at a Project Interface internship siteSolstice and Vidzu normally collaborate on client projects, with Vidzu providing project management and creative direction and Solstice helping produce the final marketing pieces.

That is how Tenbroek and Zamsky’s Project Interface experience was structured as well. They started at Vidzu to plan the project, transitioned to Solstice to create it, and then returned to Vidzu for final feedback and reflections. 

“The work they’re doing is excellent,” said Amanda Aschinger, CEO and co-founder of Solstice. “Getting a little bit of experience this way can definitely help them understand how long it takes to do this and what kind of work is involved. That can really help define what you want to do next. It’s nice for people to have a chance to do it before you commit to a college.”

Tenbroek is planning to go to art school, and Zamsky is looking at college computer science programs but wants to continue to pursue art as well.

While both are accomplished artists, neither had much experience with animation before this summer. Both said the internship was a rewarding, eye-opening experience.

“I’m really glad to dip my toes in that and figure out how to do it. That’s been interesting because I want to do it on my own in the future,” Zamsky said. “It’s also nice to have some experience in any professional capacity, where you get a timeline for a project and you get to practice sticking to that and working with other people.”

At Vidzu, the two Rockwood students worked mostly with Jewellynn Wood, the company’s public relations lead and production assistant.

Wood was a Vidzu intern herself before earning a full-time role with the company, and she said experiences such as Project Interface are invaluable for students.

“The experience has really been great,” Wood said. “I think it’s so cool that they’re seniors in high school, they really know what they want to do and they’re so passionate about it that they’re seeking out these opportunities now. I look forward to working with more Project Interface students in the future. It’s such a cool program, and I wish I would’ve had this resource available to me when I was in high school.”

If you or your business is interested in hosting a Project Interface intern, visit the PIE webpage or contact Dixie Baker or Karrie Lehman.