Paid internships provide students with hands-on experience and promising career pathways. Our graduate directors regularly communicate with external agencies to secure these opportunities, including internships at Texas A&M University Press and the U.S. Army Center for Military History in Washington, D.C. Recently, the U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency selected our department as one of five regional hubs for post-doctoral research projects. Our students also have been awarded prestigious internships at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, Office of the Historian of the Secretary of Defense, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Rachel Carson Center for the Environment and Society (Munich, Germany), Institute for Caribbean Studies at the University of Puerto Rico, and Washington-on-the-Brazos State of Texas Historic Site.
Five recent interns explain their work:
I interned at the Office of the Historian at the Department of State through the Virtual Student Federal Service program. My primary responsibility was to write dossiers on the United States’ relationship with various Latin American countries. These write-ups included narratives on the history of the bilateral relationship between the two countries, a timeline of important events, a list of key figures and their diplomatic posts, and a bibliography. My dossiers were used to educate ambassadors and other foreign service professionals on the history of the relationship between the United States and Latin America. This internship helped me think about the role of historians within the federal government. Many federal departments and agencies employ historians and value the historical knowledge they produce. The experience showed that after my Ph.D., I could use my education to influence and educate the individuals making decisions at the highest levels of our government.
As a Graduate Research Assistant for the U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH), I have written a chapter in a forthcoming edited volume and conducted photographic research for a book manuscript. In addition, I have honed my research, writing, and editing skills with the aid of CMH historians. Perks of the internship include opportunities to discuss exhibit design with museum directors, network with military historians, and meet directors from various historical departments and government agencies in the DC area. This valuable face time, even in a digital environment, has created a new web of connections I can utilize in the future.
Over the past year, I have had the privilege of working with the Marine Corps History Division at Quantico, Virginia as the Lt. Col. Lily H. Gridley Doctoral Fellow. My work has been primarily in the archives branch processing collections, enhancing researcher resources, and learning a great deal about the organization and operation of archives. I also enjoyed unprecedented access to the collections of the U.S. Marine Corps Archives, allowing me to conduct a great deal of my dissertation research. This internship/fellowship has shown me the myriad of employment opportunities available to graduate students in the government sector, and provided valuable knowledge of archival institutions that will greatly aid my research in the future. Additionally, I have found in my time in the DC area the Texas A&M History Department is well regarded and offers unparalleled networking opportunities. The department provided invaluable preparation for the projects and tasks I conducted as Gridley Fellow.
I am currently the Collections Intern at the Star of the Republic Museum at the Washington-on-the-Brazos Historic Site in Washington, Texas. I am using the internship to gain knowledge in collections work, exhibit construction, and curatorial practices at the museum, which is under the jurisdiction of the Texas Historical Commission. I have learned a lot about collections management and also had the opportunity to construct two exhibits that currently sit on the museum floor. Hopefully this internship will provide a basis for a career in public history and increase my chances of finding a job in the current market.
As an intern at Texas A&M University Press, I joined the editorial team and learned about every stage of the process to publish a monograph. The collaborative nature of publishing offered me the opportunity to complete a wide range of assignments for the editors that also assisted the design team. My projects included soliciting and gathering external manuscript reviews, collating image data for printing quotes, proofreading manuscripts for final content revisions, creating indexes and formatting endnote page numbering, and conducting the final technical format review before the manuscript left for the printer. During weekly meetings I learned about other teams, such as sales, marketing, warehouse, and finance operations, and how they interacted with the editorial and design departments. This was an invaluable internship where I acquired practical knowledge for my future publication endeavors and confirmed my interest in working in the publishing industry.