Princeternship Stories: Irene Hsu ’20, The Dance Institute of Washington

The moment I arrived at The Dance Institute of Washington (DIW), I was warmly greeted by Kahina ‘11 with a scream of “HEY! Welcome!”.

After some brief introductions, Kahina then proceeded to start organizing the supply closet of DIW. Watching Kahina sort through the numerous costumes, ballet shoes, and other miscellaneous dance-related items, I realized that DIW was not just any shabby nonprofit, it was a flourishing center of high-quality dance production and instruction.

On my first day at work, I quickly learned the mission of DIW. In addition to providing some of the finest dance education I have seen, DIW was a place for youth to be invested into, a place where those who are at risk not only find an exciting activity to be passionate about, but also a community of people who deeply care about them. Seeing the staff interact with the youth and encourage them to pursue their academics really inspired me. The people at DIW are all deeply committed to social change, and it was through observing them that I realized how much the nonprofit sector is fueled by the passion of individuals. Without the staff’s whole-hearted commitment, DIW would never have expanded as ambitiously as it did, boasting multiple off-site and conservatory programs, as well as adult and even toddler classes.

In addition to seeing the power of nonprofit efforts, my Princeternship at DIW allowed me to gain many insights into the workings of a successful organization. Not only did I learn about development through researching grants and funds, but I was also exposed to administrative tasks such as scheduling building space rentals and front desk management. In addition, I gained experience in marketing through social media, which was especially important for DIW because dance’s intrinsic nature to be entertainment. Furthermore, I was extremely lucky to have the chance to meet the representative from Fox 5 in charge of running and scheduling TV ads for DIW. He was very kind and even shared his career path and went into detail about strategic media execution.

My time at The Dance Institute of Washington was simply amazing. I gained so many useful skills, tools, and experiences that I can apply to my future career. I am extremely grateful to all the fun, talented and hard-working people I met there, especially Kahina. She not only impressed me with her strong leadership skills, but is also just an extremely enjoyable person to be around.  I loved my time at DIW and I would highly recommend this Princeternship to anyone who is even remotely interested in dance or in the nonprofit sector.

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