Hello! My name is Nya McClain, and I was Cheekwood’s Digital Marketing Intern this spring. I started in February, and I will be leaving in May as my semester ends. I am currently a sophomore at Vanderbilt University, majoring in Communication Studies. I’m double minoring in Cinema & Media Arts and Human & Organizational Development (a mouthful, I know). In high school, I edited videos as a hobby, but my first formal introduction to editing was when I edited a biweekly entertainment news segment for Vanderbilt Video Productions in my freshman year. I have also been a member of The Marketing Group for two years, and I was recently selected to serve as president next year! TMG offers an educational and experience-oriented pathway for Vanderbilt students seeking a career in marketing. Throughout the year, we learn marketing techniques and implement them as we support a local Nashville organization’s marketing effort.
My time at Cheekwood has been so surreal. Each week, I learned new things and developed my skills in one of the most beautiful places in Tennessee. Despite my short time with them, the entire team made sure that I felt like a genuine member. Everything I did was valuable, and I learned so much along the way.
Why did you want to come to Cheekwood?
When looking for internships, I always ensure that the position will provide ample learning opportunities while allowing me to contribute my skills. Cheekwood was my first experience working at a non-profit organization and my first time marketing gardens and a museum. The nature of Cheekwood alone told me that I could expect several novel experiences. Additionally, I felt I was an excellent fit for the position. I have a few years of marketing experience, extensive writing skills, and experience with professional photography and videography.
What is your favorite garden at Cheekwood?
My favorite garden at Cheekwood is the Blevins Japanese Garden. There’s something particularly magical about it. Emerging out of the bamboo walkway and into the heart of the garden is like stepping into a new world. Every aspect of the garden is designed to elicit tranquility, so it’s my favorite place to relax.
What is your favorite part of Cheekwood?
My favorite part of Cheekwood is all the wildlife that brings the gardens to life and calls them home. Every time I’m on campus, I make sure to give the turtles in the Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden a visit. I also love to explore the art exhibits in the mansion. The displays are expansive and change throughout the year, so there is always something new to see.
What does an average day at Cheekwood look like?
One of the things I love about working at Cheekwood is that I always get to do something different. Most days, I explore the grounds looking for video inspiration for TikTok and Instagram. I also create videos to promote Cheekwood’s signature events, like Orchids in the Mansion and Cheekwood in Bloom. When I’m not making videos, I do things like graphic design, creating forms, posting event listings, and more. There has never been a dull day at Cheekwood.
What are your future plans?
After my internship, I plan to continue seeking marketing experiences as I finish my time at Vanderbilt. My goal is to experience marketing in different industries to identify the best fit for me. After school, I hope to become a marketing professional in my chosen industry.
Article and photos by Nya McClain.