Intern Spotlight: Julianne Chen – Humans of Pacific Symphony

Welcome to our news blog series, “Humans of Pacific Symphony,” telling the story of the employees, musicians, conductors, staff and interns who we work with every day!

Julianne_photoPacific Symphony’s interns can be found across almost all our departments. This summer, we welcomed a handful of college-aged perspectives to the symphony, among them being Development intern Julianne Chen. In addition to her life as a cognitive science and cello double major at the University of California, San Diego, also works at a non-profit music organization called ArtPower!

We got the opportunity to speak with Julianne about her experience as a Development intern plus her past as a Youth Ensembles alumni!


What brought you to intern for Pacific Symphony?

I knew I wanted to go into arts administration. I was applying everywhere, but then I thought, “Oh wait—Pacific Symphony!” I used to be in PSYO … I thought working on staff would be really interesting, and then I got the position! It’s really cool. I’m glad I’m in Development because it gives me a different perspective of the symphony.

So, you were in the Youth Orchestra as a cellist. What’s one random memory from PSYO?

With my first retreat in 2015, it was my first time traveling farther with my cello, and my STRING BROKE during our first rehearsal from the mountain’s altitude. I was freaking out because I didn’t know how to fix it. It was a little embarrassing, but hey, it got fixed!

How have you changed since your time in the Youth Orchestra?
I definitely changed a lot, in terms of knowing what I want to do. When I was in high school, I did this thing where whenever someone told me about their cool profession, I’d suddenly get super into it—but only for a short time. That was just me being idealistic as a graduating senior, trying to fit my image into different professions.

In college, I switched to cognitive science because I thought back to what I actually enjoyed. I remembered I liked AP Psychology in high school and cognitive science was similar but differed in how it’s applied. I was also super lucky with UCSD’s college system. I could’ve graduated early if I just did cognitive science, but since I’m here, I enjoy music, and the facilities are nice, I decided to double major—I’m a cello performance major now!


Now back to the present, how does this internship differ from work you do at UCSD?

The biggest difference is that this is the corporate world—like, we’re in cubicles! When I was little, I loved visiting my parents’ workplaces and now I’m realizing, “Woah, this is just like that!”

I also realized that I have to become more of a professional people-person. I’m usually extroverted among other students, but my confidence in verbal communication on a professional level isn’t always the strongest. It’s a good opportunity for me to hone in on those skills.

How has this intern experience impacted your future plans?

It’s made me want to go to grad school! Before, I was against it because it’s expensive and I didn’t know why I’d go, aside from my parents… Having talked to a lot of people here, though, I realized that it’s fine to maybe wait and go back to grad-school when I know what I really want to do. Knowing that a lot of the other staff members in Development have higher degrees or are pursuing degrees, it got me thinking, “maybe higher education really is important.”


This article was written by Alison Huh, one of Pacific Symphony’s Marketing & PR interns. Alison will be a sophomore at University of California, Berkeley, where she studies English. She was formerly a member of Pacific Symphony’s Youth Orchestra, playing flute.

Intern Spotlight: Julianne Chen – Humans of Pacific Symphony

Leave a Reply