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My Alcatraz Internship: When else can I do this?

Hello! Happy Monday everyone!

As a sophomore, interning at Alcatraz was also that moment where it was like “when else can I do this?”, w taking the ferry to work every day sounds fun and it was ;) d at the house of maximum security prison in North America, famously known as The Rock. Just kidding, it is not a prison anymore. Alcatraz has become one of well-known national historical site that is visited with almost 1.5 million visitors per year. As part of the facility management team, we used to see Alcatraz like Disneyland park, except instead of enjoying all the happy fantasies and thrilling rides, we enter the jarring history and thrilling mysterious story of Alcatraz Prisoners. That was actually why I was interested in interning at Alcatraz. I was curious by how people can manage this historically dark sites that was located in the middle of the bay, make it interesting and package it in the way that thousand international tourists would take the ferry just tour around the island because the tickets to go to the island always sold out almost every day of the summer.

One reason is definitely because blockbuster movie “Al Capone” and “Escape from Alcatraz”– no doubt. From an insider perspective, I think one of the major reason is al because national park maintain and preserve the history and architecture so well by shaping the story from the perspective of the prisoner himself. Although the park was really small, the park management thought about the start and end journey of a visitor on that island so well. The history and architecture was embedded in the tour of the island, right when they arrive on the island. The orientation at the port, the long walk up the hill surrounded by the dozens of seagulls, and dark and loud sounds of the prison locked. From the smallest details like the old stairs that had such tiny steps for the warden’s corgi, to the unexpected stories like the paintings by George Heck, a prisoner for 18 years. On top of that, the park also introduces the natural environment of the Alcatraz. Since the park was abandoned for quite a while after the prison closed, it has become a natural habitat for some native plants and animals around the burned building and offshore rocks of the island.

As part of Facility Management team, I had a glimpse of project management in terms of maintaining the public facilities like electricity, and water do not run out and visitors do not enter the building are that are about to collapse. But as an insider, I was able to explore these exciting hidden areas, such as the light house, the solar rooftop, and the habitats of baby seagulls.

As a sophomore, interning at Alcatraz was also my “when else can I do this?” moment, taking the ferry to work every day to an island that used to be maximum security prison sounds fun and it was ;) (Now in this pandemic, there is a high chance these opportunities sadly don't open anymore :(

Nevertheless, this experience eventually contributed to my work here in, partially in the project management part and other in the designing journey of new candidate (not from a prisoner perspective though ;)

Thanks for reading ! I would love to hear what was your “when else can I do this?” moment and what was your unexpected fun learning experience from the moment ?

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