Interns of New York: Megan Stout
Featured photo by Ysabel Cacho
The city of New York has more than eight million inhabitants, some born in the city while others come from all over the globe. For Megan Stout, a fourth-year interior design major from Savannah, Georgia, walking down the street and seeing the various people and food from all over the world is “truly a unique experience in itself. There’s never a dull moment.”
Diversity plays a huge role both inside and outside Stout’s office. She works as a decorating intern for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which encompasses Stewart’s whole business, including the magazine, wedding, lifestyle and retail merchandising for Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Michael’s, the craft store.
As an intern, Stout works with Kevin Sharkey, the company’s vice president and Stewart’s “right-hand man and best friend.” Stout handles both editorial and retail aspects of the company, makes presentations for Macy’s and has done work on Martha’s studio kitchen, which is used for both the television show and online videos.
One of Stout’s favorite things about the internship program is the interaction between the departments. The office space is open with only desks separating one creative from the next. “It’s very intermixed,” said Stout. People from different departments sit next to one another, which allows for a lot of communication.
There are around 15 to 20 interns in all departments, from finance to business to arts and crafts to the book to style. Interns and employees from various areas of the company sit next to one another, which allows for a lot of communication.
Despite the variety, Stout describes the internship program as “well-organized.” There are intern lecture series, which bring in employees to talk about the different aspects of the company. Aside from bonding inside the office, the interns also have outings such as watching “Aladdin” on Broadway.
“It’s a fun office to work in,” said Stout, explaining that both interns and employees get to watch the World Cup in one of the office’s biggest function rooms while having lemonade and popcorn.
Although this is Stout’s first time interning in New York, it is her third internship. Her first internship was right after she graduated high school. She worked for a local architecture firm because she considered majoring in that at SCAD. Just last summer, Stout interned for the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center as a showroom intern. She worked on different projects such as picking fabric for both residential and commercial projects. She even helped pick out fabric for the set design of “The Hunger Games” movies, which was filming in the city at that time.
“I’m trying out as many things as possible because it’s good to have diversity,” said Stout. She added the variety helped her “test out the waters, whether it be for a firm or for behind-the-scenes or retail or publication.”
This summer, Stout tested deeper waters through the Martha Stewart internship, a program she found and applied for through the company website. During the interview, human resources figured out where to put Stout. She was a “good match” as a design intern because Sharkey had studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design.
As soon as the school year ended, Stout was on a plane and headed to New York to begin the internship program immediately. The instant transition from student to intern “was different than I expected,” she said, adding that what she learned inside the classroom was easily applicable to the office.
She was also amazed at her interaction with her superiors and her fellow interns. “There’s a lot of shared interests, which is a great way to meet people, especially in New York.”
Stout credits her open-mindedness to school. During her first year, Stout was unsure of which direction to take in her major, but her professors “encouraged me to pursue different things rather than close myself off.”
“That’s one of the benefits of studying at SCAD,” she said. “We spend our freshman year exposed to different aspects of the art world. You learn more about art history, advertising, everything.” According to Stout, this helps build a unique and diverse set of skills. “When the recruiters see that you have more to bring to the table, the better.”
She also took advantage of the “really valuable” lecture series and opportunities. “You never know who you’re going to meet,” she said.
With her experience in three different internships, Stout advises other interns to “be open to different things outside your major. Be open to the art realm.”
“Learn a lot about your own interests,” she said. “Don’t close yourself to only one thing you want to do [because] there are so many different opportunities out there.”