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Department ofCommunication


Tapping into the Inner Artist

Sophomore Millie Barman’s REAL internship was an important step in a promising career of creativity.

Sophomore Millie Barman’s REAL internship was an important step in a promising career of creativity.

By Ally O'Connor '20

Driven by her passion for the arts, REAL student Millie Barman ’22 (Communication) spent her summer working as a Marketing Manager for the Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside, California. Putting her creative vision to work, Barman brainstormed and executed ideas about how to use “brandraising” to increase visibility of the historic Filoli site. This included numerous tactics to grow brand awareness, she shares, such as “strategizing, executing, and reporting on multi-media channels as well as taking photographs to use for marketing. In addition, Barman spent much of her time with the Filoli Marketing and Graphics department authoring and managing content across a handful of social media channels while also streamlining processes connected to Filoli’s online presence. 

Millie Barman and friends

Recognizing that her artistic side is a central part of her life and career path, Barman expressed her love of painting, drawing, singing and dancing. “Another very important part of my childhood,” she shares, “was learning about my Indian heritage and culture—I speak Hindi, visit India every year, and love reading Indian novels.” Her love for both the arts and her culture have inspired her to explore numerous creative projects. In high school, Barman illustrated the Ramayana, an Indian epic, and ultimately became project manager of the entire creative endeavor, which she says taught her “the art of communication through print media.” Later on, motivated by her inability to find beautiful, yet affordable Indian outfits, she began sketching her own clothes—designs which she ultimately pitched to Nordstrom. After successful first meetings, Barman was invited to join Nordstrom’s Fashion Board, earning a spot as the youngest member of the team.

Of these many creative experiences, Barman shares that she gained knowledge “not only about business principles such as marketing, visual merchandising, media influence, and leadership skills, but also how to design user experiences.” Her desire to help companies tell their story led her to Filoli, where she took on her first corporate position with great excitement. As Marketing Manager, Barman was exposed to multiple departments and aided in making connections both in and out of the office. She explains that one of her favorite days on the job included attending SAP’s GENTRY Women In Tech Conference, where she “gained personal and career advice as well as practice networking with professionals.”

“This project has helped me gain a tangible and meaningful experience in Marketing and Communications,” Barman says about her time with Filoli. “My biggest personal achievement [was] that I honed my communication skills with fellow peers, customers, and external partners, and have learned how to portray myself more professionally,” she continued. Moving forward, thanks to her REAL internship at Filoli, Barman was offered the position of Social Media Marketing Specialist for Nox Cookie Bar, and will spend the upcoming year working on brandraising for the company.


About the REAL Program

The College of Arts and Sciences developed the  to allow students to discover their interests, gain a rich understanding of a particular field, discern their career goals, and explore future employment fields. We believe financial means should not determine whether or not a student can participate in internships, research, projects or creative works opportunities. Committed to providing paid experiential learning opportunities for students, the REAL Program provides stipends up to $5,000 for undergraduate opportunities lasting up to 10 weeks over the summer. Since inception, the program has distributed nearly $1.3 million to more than 300 students.

For more information about the REAL Program, email


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