Two CVPA students use their creative skills as interns on Capitol Hill

woman by a large marble column
Mirella Guzman-Escobar. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services

For George Mason University senior Mirella Guzman-Escobar, the summer internship in the office of the House Creative Services, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) at the U.S. House of Representatives is more than great professional experience, it’s a foot in the door to a job she has dreamed of her entire life.

“I’ve always been interested in working in the government, mainly because my step-mom and my grandpa both work in the government, and I want to use my voice through my design,” said Guzman-Escobar, who is majoring in graphic design.

For Jacques Lykes, who graduates in August 2022 from Mason with a bachelor’s degree in film and video studies, it’s a step closer to achieving his dream of starting his own production company in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Guzman-Escobar and Lykes are currently collaborating on a project called “A Day in the Life of an Intern.” Through captivating video and Instagram spotlights, this project highlights interns and their roles at the CAO, with the goal of promoting the internship positions and encouraging more engagement.

man sitting on the steps of the us capitol
Jacques Lykes. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services

“They’re really letting us be creative and making me feel like part of the team because I’m working on things that they’re working on, too,” Guzman-Escobar said of her colleagues at the CAO.

The students apply skills that they have learned from Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) as they prepare for their respective futures.

Lykes, who is originally from South Carolina, works as a multimedia intern for the CAO. He transferred to Mason from Northern Virginia Community College in his junior year.

He said FAVS 366 Video Production for Social Change, taught by GMU-TV Executive Director  Richard Wood, “really prepared me to take on an internship like this.”

“Jacques takes pride in his work. He’ll put in the effort and the time, because it matters to him personally,” Wood said of Lykes. “I’m not saying Jacques got that from my class, I think that is who he was before, but it’s certainly something I harp on.”

Lykes’ academic adviser Lori Yi shared internship opportunities with him. “They were very adamant about making sure that film program students had opportunities outside of Mason,” Lykes said.

“Jacques’ ability to learn quickly, ask questions, and be adaptable has made him invaluable on student films sets,” Yi said. “He’s been an engaged part of our community from the very beginning, and I’m excited to see his future contributions.”

While searching for professional opportunities for the summer and throughout the application process, Guzman-Escobar said her typography professor and mentor Juana Medina offered her guidance.

“[She] impacted me a lot,” Guzman-Escobar said. “I used a lot of assignments that she gave us in class for my portfolio pieces, and it really helped me.”

As a graphic design intern, Guzman-Escobar helps her team with many of their projects, she said.

Working on hands-on projects, and with fellow Mason students, has been exciting, the interns agreed.

“Working with Mirella has been really great. She’s a fantastic person and one of our strong suits is how well we meld together,” Lykes said.