Internship: Lever Inc.
The first time Amanda Romanelli ever visited the Berkshires was to tour Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), where the mountains instantly drew her curiosity.
“Coming around the hairpin turn on the Mohawk Trail, I knew I wanted to stay,” said Amanda, an avid fan of hiking and swimming.
Amanda decided to pursue arts management at MCLA, and graduated in 2019.
She also minored in visual art, something she initially considered a hobby until she participated in an experimental letterpress startup through her internship with Lever in the summer of 2017.
She learned about interning with Lever from two of her professors in MCLA’s Fine and Performing Arts Department, Melanie Mowinski and Lisa Donovan.
“I thought ‘Why not?’ The opportunity [with the startup] is so niche,” Amanda said.
She designed stationery, such as greeting and business cards and bookplates, and oversaw how they were printed along with learning about the machines that were used specifically for lumen (a type of gelatin paper) and screen printing processes.
“This was bringing an expensive arts practice to the community. Artists can rent a machine for ten dollars instead of buying a machine that can cost about five hundred dollars,” Amanda said.
The experimental letterpress startup segued Amanda to the Artist Book Foundation in North Adams, a nonprofit fine art book publisher that documents and promotes artists’ lives and work through publications, exhibitions and public programs.
“My boss, Leslie van Breen, reached out to me senior year because she remembered me from bookplates made for a special run of books she ordered. She saw how dedicated I am,” Amanda said.
Amanda has served as the group’s communications coordinator full-time since early 2022.
“I work on the website, press materials, and help with distribution for raising awareness about events and what’s happening. All the different parts, I connect them together,” she said.
Amanda considers persistence a strength in the workplace, noting she also worked at Big Y prior to being promoted at the Artist Book Foundation.
“Sometimes I worked both jobs in one day. Sometimes it is about you getting the best outcome for you,” she said.
Her internship with Lever preceded Berkshire Interns, but she advises students who are looking for an internship to value their time, and to look underneath the surface for opportunities that best match their needs.
“Just because an internship is not listed doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist,” she added.
Lever was one of five internships Amanda participated in during her trajectory at MCLA.
“I integrated myself in the community as much as I could. The most important part about education is that it’s one thing to take in knowledge, yet it’s another thing to use that knowledge,” she said.