A New Opportunity

Smithsonian Castle

As another semester has started, I have been fortunate enough to obtain an internship with The Office of Academic Appointments and Internships (OAAI). Background knowledge that is necessary for understanding the office I am interning for, is the merge of the fellowship and intern office that were previously separated prior to having started my journey with them. I began just two weeks ago, but I have already had to opportunity to use many of the skills I have learned thus far within my academic career. The office in which I am working with, OAAI, is a unit under the Smithsonian Institute responsible for administering and research associate appointments across the institution. The OAAI website is still under construction but meant to encompass information from both Office of Internships and Office of Fellowships websites. The offices were previously separate but now are undergoing a merge. The OAAI site states their mission as the “central management and administrative responsibility for the Institution’s programs of fellowships and research associate appointments.” What’s missing from this language is the placement of internships, but fear not, it is within their mission to appoint students and individuals for internships programs within the Smithsonian Institution. Additionally, OAAI encompasses “wide research support programs, and encourages and assists other Smithsonian museums, research institutes and research offices in the development of additional fellowships and visiting appointments.”

The Smithsonian is a much larger institution with a very intentional mission. That mission being “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” The OAAI supports that specific mission by directly working with students and researchers and making educational and professional connections across the larger institution. Fellows and interns are working on a variety of subject matter related to personal research, internal projects, larger research groups, among many other things. OAAI fosters the larger Smithsonian mission through its work with fellows and interns as it directly relates to education opportunities.

One of the projects that I have been able to begin work on is the Smithsonian Voices blog site for OAAI as a part of Smithsonian Magazine. I have already begun to reach out to over 500 fellows and interns to ask if they would be interested in writing for the blog site. I will act, alongside my instructor Chris Wu, as an editor and publisher for the blog posts that get sent in. While we are still waiting on more blog posts to be sent in, I have already helped get one post live. Having learned blog management skills and communication, working on the Smithsonian Voices blog has been very exciting for me and I am thrilled to be a part of the process.

Another project pitched to me that I will begin working on in the coming months, is developing an ArcGIS story map that tells the stories of research conducted by fellows at the various Smithsonian units. This project is still undergoing planning so it is possible and likely things will change as I get closer to working on it. However, the intention is to have a visual story that really highlights the wonderful research and work going on by the fellows at different units across the world.

And finally, a longer goal/project, is creating my own story as an intern with OAAI that could be shown to those who follow after me. I have been collecting my own notes and observations that will all be useful as I think through how I might present my own intern journey.

Just two weeks ago, when I was told about these projects my interest was immediately peaked. Through my internship I have the opportunity to strengthen preexisting skills, learn a new software , and create something of my own that is useful to the office I am interning at. Additionally, I am most excited for the opportunities I will have to connect with other individuals within the Institution. The ability to make connections within my field and beyond can be beneficial in so many different ways. While I have already begun my work as an intern, I am excited to see the impact of the work I am doing for this office as time goes on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *