Summer interns find new ways to share historical content with the Byrd Center’s online audience
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Every year, two of Shepherd University’s rising seniors within the Historic Preservation and Public History Department receive a paid summer internship at the Robert C. Byrd Center.
Although funded in the past through donations and grants, starting next summer, the internships will be covered by funds raised through community fundraisers led by the Friends of the Byrd Center and Shepherd University’s Lifelong Learning Program.
“Tonight is the inaugural fundraiser for the Friends of the Byrd Center, which was established on-and-a-half years ago. It is a really fantastic group,” said Byrd Center Director Jay Wyatt of the “An Evening with Congressional Historians” fundraiser on July 23. “I’m happy to announce the funds raised by this event will provide for two internships for the next year.”
According to Wyatt, allowing the history students to complete their required 400-hour history internship at the center not only lightens the summer work load for the center’s staff, but also helps the students to develop credentials and build their resumes.
“Many have gone on to professional careers as historians, archivists and museum curators,” Wyatt said, mentioning each intern develops their skills as archivists, website managers and communicators of history.
One of this summer’s interns, ?Delaney Conner, is currently working on creating the Byrd Center’s first podcast, which will be posted on the center’s website. The podcast, “Appalachian Aspects,” will talk about local history, how the federal government operates and the Appalachian Regional Commission.
“I like to listen to podcasts while coming home. It”s easy to listen to content while you’re doing things,” Conner said, mentioning she has previously recorded two podcasts for two class projects. “I’m grateful to pursue opportunities in this internship that I enjoy. Podcasting is something I enjoy, and I definitely wouldn’t be able to do this anywhere else.”
While Conner plans on pursuing a master’s degree in public history after graduation, her fellow intern, Jacob Vanorsdale, hopes the skills he’s learned will help him land a job in a related field next year.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the future when I started, but now archiving sounds great. It’s definitely something that’s interesting to me,” Vanorsdale said, mentioning he will publish a blog post on the center’s website, to fulfill his internship requirements.
The funds previously allocated to paying the interns, will now be used for public events at the Byrd Center, according to Wyatt. For more information about the center, visit www.byrdcenter.org. To join the Friends of the Byrd Center, email Archivist and Office Manager Jody Brumage at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 304-876-5648.