top of page

The Tom Lea Institute Internship


The Tom Lea Institute offers unpaid internships for students and anyone interested in long term project involvement. Interns encounter many opportunities for personal and academic growth while building their portfolio and network. The Institute is flexible with schedules and interested in catering your internship experience to specific skillsets the individual would like to learn or improve. Join the Tom Lea family and carry the vision forward with us! 

information: Holly

intern spotlight


Jeralyn Barbie


Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, wanting to expand her education further, Jeralyn Barbie moved down to El Paso when her husband was stationed at Fort Bliss. Wanting to learn more about the history of El Paso, she attended school and graduated with honors from El Paso Community College with a business degree. She currently attends the University of Texas El Paso, majoring in Anthropology, History, and Liberal Arts Honors Program. “Studying Tom Lea and his achievements during the Great Depression is what really peaked my interest in this artist.” Stated Jeralyn Barbie. An internship within the Tom Lea Family will help assist in the overall knowledge about not only the artist as a person, but also the community engagement throughout El Paso.   


Marie Ontiveros 


My internship as a Collections Associate for the Tom Lea Institute was a motivating experience while I was a senior at Arizona State University. The connection I made with the history, members and community was enriching. Throughout my internship experience, I was able to develop and apply the knowledge and skills to help in the preservation of artifacts, organizing the archives, maintaining the digital library, researching and editing the Tom Lea Trail App along with the assistance and coordinating of the downtown tours. The opportunity assisted as a resume builder as well as a learning environment in the operations of a museum. Besides the academic gains in art history, design and architectural studies, I will use the tools in both my personal endeavors as well as my professional career. 


Payton T. Szwaczkowski


Through my internship at The Tom Lea Institute, I gained substantial assets that have helped me bloom in the world of museums and museum studies. I am a student at UTEP, studying printmaking and museum studies, and this internship has only fueled my passion for art and museums. While working with the institute, I connected with the area of collections management and felt like I have finally found my calling in the world of museums. It has been a rewarding experience to help preserve and conserve historical artworks and artifacts through collections management. I now know that my care for these objects will help them be interpreted adequately by the community. With this light shed on my path, it will always be gratifying to know that I am a part of an artwork's story, and I am lucky enough to help tell its story to those around me. 

Crystal Rodriguez


While finishing my Bachelor’s Degree with a concentration in Printmaking and a minor in Drawing in the spring of 2022, I was allowed to intern at The Tom Lea Institute. The entire experience was rewarding and informative in teaching me about the museum's operations. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the institute. I assisted in researching and editing for The Tom Lea Trail app, organizing archives in collections, and recording the condition of artwork loaned.  

After the end of my internship, I hope to apply the knowledge gained from The Tom Lea Institute to my future career and study plans as I progress. I cannot emphasize enough that this opportunity is highly recommended and will essentially give you an edge in a professional setting. Not only is it fulfilling, it is a way to feel connected to your community.  


Mia E. Attel Melonas


In fall 2021, I started my internship with the Tom Lea Institute. During that time, I was able to complete many fulfilling tasks not only for the Institute but also for myself. I was tasked with completing our site for 2021 El Paso Giving Day, where I was able to raise $3,095 for the Institute! That was an enriching experience for me and being a part of our hugely successful 2021 Tom Lea Month. I was able to gain essential knowledge and tools that I will take with me across all my future endeavors. After completing my internship, I was offered a position as the Collections and Tours Coordinator, where I can continue to engage with the community and pursue my passion for art and El Paso. I strongly recommend that everyone interested in an internship apply! The opportunity comes as an extremely valuable resume builder and an extremely rewarding opportunity to work and give back to your community.


Susan Gonzalez 


During the fall of 2020, my internship was the last semester of obtaining my Bachelor's Degree with a double concentration in Printmaking and Graphic Design with a minor in Museum Art Studies. My time as an intern was terrific! and full of new learning experiences.
I helped develop two curricula, helped in Tom Lea month, and learned about grant writing and how a non-profit works. I also assisted in developing the digital library and working with several institutions, museums, and organizations to update and create a complete catalog of Tom Lea's artworks. After completing my internship, I was offered a contract position as the Collections Coordinator. I encourage everyone interested in an internship with the Tom Lea Institute to apply! You will build up your resume fast and learn how to thrive in a professional environment while working with amazing people and doing what you love.


Javier Segovia 

My journey with the Tom Lea Institute began in 2019 during my final semester as a senior at UTEP while obtaining my undergraduate degree in history with a minor in museum studies. Focusing on the Tom Lea Institute’s digital library, collections, and education encouraged me to apply my studies further.

After completing my internship, I was offered a contract position as the Collections and Education manager. I advise and encourage anyone interested in an internship with the Tom Lea Institute to apply as it will further advance their studies toward a career.

bottom of page