Internship Diary: Claire Goode (2017)

This semester (Fall 2017), I interned with the The Papers of James Monroe, creating an online exhibit for James Monroe’s 1818 tour of the Chesapeake. Having taken the class “The World of James Monroe” offered by the UMW History Department a couple years ago, I had a fairly thorough grounding in the history surrounding Monroe’s presidency. During Monroe’s first term in office, beginning in 1817, he undertook a series of tours to scope out new sites for military fortifications and strengthen America’s system of defense in the wake of the War of 1812. These tours, originally designed for the sole purpose of assessing military potential, took on another role as citizens desired to meet the president, exhibit their patriotism, and celebrate the potential of their cities. With this in mind, I began researching the shortest of his tours, which lasted a little under three weeks, and encompassed the Chesapeake Bay area.

Claire at the Roman Forum

Claire at the Roman Forum

For this research, I used transcriptions of primary sources collected in the James Monroe Papers. From these documents, including letters, memoirs, diary entries, and newspaper articles, I had to recreate a spotty timeline of events. Having determined Monroe’s exact agenda as nearly as possible, I began searching for pictures that were relevant to the information I had gathered. I found this one of the more difficult processes. I spent almost a month tracking down images that could be in anyway related to the topics, people, or places I was discussing. While I often found this process very frustrating, I profited massively from the help and instruction of my supervisors. Some of the things I learned included the acceptability of substituting the image you want to find for the image you can get, especially when the former isn’t forthcoming, and the necessity of using digitized local archives. I was able to use my general knowledge of a subject or place, as well as my researching capabilities, to my advantage. While this process was the most foreign to me, it was also the most exciting, especially when I finally found the exact image I wanted.

When I had completed my search for images, I began crafting my tour. This was another aspect I found difficult. As a history major, I am used to using sources and facts to support and explain my projects or papers. But in creating an exhibit, I had to be very aware of what images I could use to craft an acceptable narrative. It was very difficult for me to adjust to this style where every statement doesn’t have to be justified and every subject researched doesn’t have to be included. When I finished crafting the text, pairing relevant images with significant points, I used TimelineJS to display the exhibit. While the system is difficult to adapt to specific needs, it fit my project well and I found it easy to figure out after an initial explanation. Overall, this process has been incredibly informative, allowing me to expand my knowledge of both digital history and museum studies. I’ve enjoyed learning a new set of skills, and adapting my capabilities to a new way of presenting history.

Internship Diary: Kelsey Brey (’17)

During the spring 2017 semester, I interned at the Fredericksburg Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. Over the course of the semester, I worked hands-on with several attorneys helping them to prepare for high-profile cases in the City of Fredericksburg. I used analytical and research skills that I learned over my history career at UMW to write jury instructions, research jurors, draft plea agreements, and more. I was given the opportunity to sit in on attorney meetings, disbreycuss ideas for how to move forward with certain cases, and communicate with witnesses and victims. The skills and experiences I gained from this internship and UMW have guided me into pursuing a career in law.

In fall 2017, I will be attending Elon Law School in Greensboro, North Carolina. Working closely with the attorneys has solidified my desire to pursue criminal prosecution. Criminal prosecution isn’t strictly about “putting the bad guys away”; it is about giving justice to the people that don’t have a voice – the victims who rely on the police officers, sheriffs, and the Commonwealth Attorney to do what is right by the community it defends. On the other side, defense attorneys don’t just “defend the bad guys”; they are integral in providing a face to the crime. Over the course of my internship, I learned two important lessons. The first is that the defendants are people and have a story. They aren’t just case numbers and it is important to remember that. Second, I was speaking with one of the attorneys and he told me what his law school professor told him. “At the end of the day, no one is a winner. The victims carry the crime with them the rest of their lives and have to suffer through the emotional, mental, and sometimes physical harm forever. The defendants don’t win either. They may have to endure prison sentences and their families are effected by the crimes they committed.” There is no winner in the law and I am grateful to have had this experience to see this firsthand.

Brown Bag Lunch: Student Internships (10/21)

Have you ever wondered what kinds of internships you can get as a History or American Studies major? What the application process is like? What activities and projects can internships offer?

Come to the department’s Brown Bag Lunch and hear four History and American Studies majors talk about their summer internships and get all of your questions answered! The lunch is on Monday, October 21, from 12-1 pm in Monroe 212. Bring your own lunch and listen to your fellow majors’ internship experiences!

We will cover four types of internships: archives (Smithsonian Institution Archives), large museums (National Museum of the American Indian), small house museums (The Octagon), and national parks (National Parks Service–Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park). Please come join us–we look forward to seeing you there!

Leah Tams (’14): A Scene from a Summer Internship

As reported earlier, History major Leah Tams (’14) spent this summer working as an intern with the Smithsonian Institution Archives in Washington, D.C. She worked with the Institutional History Division, assisting in the development of public exhibits, programs, and archival collections. Leah also composed reports for the Smithsonian’s public blog, including an intriguing account of her own work on an online exhibit of historical postcards and—a classic archival mystery—the challenges of dating them. For more, see Leah Tams, “The Mystery of the Undated Postcards,” at The Bigger Picture – Exploring Archives and Smithsonian History (23 July 2013).

Image: Postcard of Continental Uniforms, 1942, by Curt Teich & Co., Linen, Record Unit 65, Box 16, Folder: Postcards, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Neg. no. SIA2013-07812. From Leah Tams’ post, cited above.

Internship News: Lindsay Cutler (’12)

As part of our ongoing series this summer on student internships, Lindsay Cutler (class of 2012) is happy to share her own story of internships during her time as an American Studies major at UMW. She also discusses her steps in coursework and career-building since graduation in her letter below. Many thanks, Lindsay!

“As a student at Mary Washington, I was able to develop my personal passion for American Indian history and policy through the History and American Studies Department interdisciplinary course offerings. In the summer of 2011, I had the unique opportunity to attend Sinte Gleska, the Rosebud Sioux Tribal College on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. I completed courses in the Lakota Studies Department and completed a senior research project on contemporary cultural politics, for which I interacted directly with University faculty and Rosebud Tribal Leadership.

When I returned to Mary Washington in the fall of 2011, I was awarded an Office of Undergraduate Research grant for my senior American Studies thesis to travel to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in Connecticut. My research and thesis examined the relationship between the politics tribal gaming at the Foxwoods Casino and Mashantucket Pequot cultural identity.

In my final semester at Mary Washington, I was able to directly pursue my academic background and passions through an internship with the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. As a communications intern with the newly formed policy program, I drafted and edited Center publications and letters, connected with American Indian initiatives and programs across the country, and assisted with general program development.”

I am currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer on the Laguna Pueblo in Laguna, New Mexico with the Elev8 New Mexico grassroots community schools initiative. I hope to further pursue my interest in Native American policy by attending law school in the fall of 2014 with a focus on American Indian law and public health.”