"The internship was exactly what I wanted to do"

  • Monday, Sep 18, 2017
Caitlyn Downey, a senior double-major in History and  French, reflects on her recent internship experiences at the Milwaukee Public Museum, at the Rock County Historical Society, and on the meaning of 'liberal arts.'

"Majoring in history provides me with important information about the context of theCaitlyn Downey items and documents I'll eventually work with, and teaches me how to conduct research in an archive. As for French, I received the Foreign Language Talent Scholarship, which requires me to major or minor in a foreign language. The scholarship requires a significant number of foreign language courses, so I chose to major instead of minor." 

"I found my internship through the Career Connect newsletter Edgewood College produces. The internship was exactly what I wanted to do, which was work with museum collections. I wanted to get more experiences cataloging…each institution does things a little differently, but you can take skills that you learned along with you that apply to anywhere you go."

"I learned how to do research…even though I’m a History major, the internship taught me how to do research online. My internship at the historical society had a lot of practical experience."

"Build experience in areas you are interested in. Volunteer in an area of interest – that’s what helped me get my internship. Volunteering isn’t a big commitment, it helps explore areas of interest."

"I would say my liberal arts education has changed my outlook by making me a more critical thinker. When I read news articles or listen to podcasts, I evaluate what I'm reading or listening to and I try to think about it in its broader historical context. During my time at Edgewood College, I've often thought about my place in the world and what I want out of life, what knowledge I want to acquire and what I value most in the world. I think my liberal arts education both broadened and deepened my outlook on life, giving me new knowledge of the world and a better understanding of things I've already learned." 

"Time management was one of the most important things I learned during my internships. My research at the Milwaukee Public Museum was almost entirely self-directed - I had to identify what was worth researching, and seek out credible sources to include in my reports. At the Rock County Historical Society, I was working alone for half of the day (my boss wasn't in the office in the mornings), so I had to learn to manage my workload and finish in a timely manner. The other important thing I learned was how to interact with others in a professional, non-academic environment, something you don't really learn in high school. I was an intern, but in a way I was an employee, and I tried my best to work as an employee would work."