Internships: Dana Puga, ’02

This summer, we’ll be introducing History and American Studies students and alums who are currently engaged in internships or who have held internships in the past. The series will answer simple but important questions: Where are they interning? What kinds of projects are they exploring? And how have internships helped students build a career after college?

We’re happy to have Dana Puga, Class of ’02, lead off with her own story:

“I attended MWC from 1998-2002.  As a budding history major, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in museums.  As Freshman year drew to a close, I wrote several museums in Richmond to see if they had any summer jobs available.  One museum, the Valentine Richmond History Center, called me back and offered me a position as a camp counselor for a day camp they ran with two other area museums.  I worked at the camp every summer of college and I became the camp coordinator during my third summer.  This experience opened the doors for me to explore museum education and I had the opportunity to help install an exhibition during Spring Break one year.  My contacts at the Valentine gave me a network of museum professionals to call on and provided guidance on how to get my start in the field.

During the Spring semester of my senior year I was accepted as an intern at the National Museum of American History in the Photo History Collection. Every Tuesday and Thursday I woke at 5:30 to catch the VRE up to DC and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.  My intern advisor became a career advisor for me and taught me about curatorship and collections management.   When I graduated I applied for anything and everything museum related.  A couple of months after graduation I interviewed for the job I have now as Prints and Photographs Collection Specialist at the Library of Virginia.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my internships helped me get this job; especially my Smithsonian internship.  They wanted someone with a MA, but because I had hands on experience with photographic collections, I got the job.”

Dana (Angell) Puga ’02
Prints and Photographs Collection Specialist
The Library of Virginia
Richmond, VA 23219

Image from the Valentine Richmond History Center