Loyola University Chicago

Department of History


Introducing the Spring 2014 Undergraduate Interns

Introducing the Spring 2014 Undergraduate Interns

Polar vortexes and near record snow falls might have grounded many of us this winter, but not the 17 intrepid Loyola students participating in HIST 398, the History Undergraduate Internship, this semester.  HIST 398 allows undergraduates to earn 3 credit hours and to satisfy Loyola’s Engaged Learning requirement in return for interning on a historically-based project of their choosing.  Each week these interns are traveling to venerable institutions in the Loop; basements in Edgewater; and (from the comfort of the library or their dorm rooms) seventeenth-century Jamaica, nineteenth-century Chicago, Nazi Germany, and post-Katrina New Orleans.  In their internships, students are putting the skills they have learned in the classroom to work in various “real world” applications.

Dan Ziemniak and Matt Jenkins are helping to organize the papers of Alderman Helen Schiller.  An important figure in the city politics, Shiller began her political career while a History student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where she was heavily involved in campus political movements and SDS (Students for a Democratic Society).  As Dan and Matt’s blogs attest, Shiller’s papers are extensive and have a wealth of information about neighborhood and city politics in this vast metropolis.  Peer over their shoulders each week as they work in Shiller’s basement with this important material. Local and downtown public history and social justice institutions have gladly opened their doors to Loyola interns as well.

The Pritzker Military Library continues to be a popular internship site.  Read Nick Jawor’s blog to learn more about his work transcribing oral histories, beginning with a gay Korean War veteran, then a very well connected WWII veteran (who met JFK, Eisenhower, and Churchill!), and most recently a Cold War Naval veteran.  Olivia Mavec hit the jackpot this semester and is interning at not one, but two institutions.  At the Pritzker, she is transcribing oral histories recorded with World War II veterans and creating a topics page for Navy SEALS. At the Newberry, Olivia is helping the events coordinator plan meetings, colloquia, and receptions (and occasionally play historic instruments – check out week 5 of her blog!)

To our immediate north, Sam Nelson-Mann is carrying on a family tradition by interning at the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society.  Sam’s blog attests to the valuable role that interns play in helping small historical societies run and the opportunities and challenges of making decisions when there is much to be done, but few resources to do it.  Further afield at the River Forest Public Library, Regan Coe is working in the library’s archives organizing and documenting its collections.  Learn more about her work at her blog.

Already having a wealth of experience from his work at the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society, Jared Matthews is interning at the Center for Conflict Resolution this semester.  Jared’s blog documents his work assisting mediation cases, digitizing Center materials and posting them on social media sites, organizing the Center’s volunteer database, and planning the organization’s 35th Annual Gala.

Several students are learning about the process of historical research firsthand by working with History Department faculty on their latest book projects.   How did Captain Henry Morgan transition from a notorious buccaneer to a knighted bureaucrat of the British Empire?  Eda Obermanns is hot on his trail this semester, helping Professor John Donoghue research his next book on the subject.  Anyone interested in the Golden Age of Atlantic Piracy should check out Eda’s blog.  While Morgan isn’t likely to appear on the official lists of the courts of Georgian England, one wonders how many degrees of separation there might actually be between him and them?  Charles Rooney’s blog might be a good place to start. He is working on Professor Bob Bucholz’s digital magnum opus,The Database of Court Officers, 1660-1837, for his internship, fleshing out the smaller sub-courts of King George I.

Michael Wetzel is building on his interest in nineteenth- and twentieth-century European history by working with Professor Suzanne Kaufman on her new book on the French Foreign Legion.   “The overarching goal of my research is to focus on the stark contrast of the extreme violence done by and undergone by French Foreign Legionnaires,” Mike writes in his inaugural blog post, “in addition to the everyday mundane activities in the glorious process of building a French Empire overseas.”  Austin Quinn is helping Professor Dina Berger with her new work on the history of Pan Americanism this semester.  His blog details his efforts digging into the archives and the trials and tribulations that come when we hunt down primary sources for our research. Finally, Maria Downen is working with Professor Christopher Manning on his NOLA Oral History Project.  See Maria’s blog for more about her research and transcription of interviews with aid workers and volunteers who responded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Straddling the line between the past and the future, a handful of students have thrown themselves into important online projects this semester.  

As an intern on the Summer 2014 LUMA exhibition, Crossings and Dwellings: Restored Jesuits, Women Religious, American Experience, 1814–2014, Michael Polowski is figuring out how to bring together all of the digital enhancements – mapping sites, digital surrogates, audio tours, etc. – created by Loyola undergraduate and graduate students over the last year into one website. See his blog for more information.  Each week, Sarah Muenzer’s blog recounts a new challenge as she tracks down the original library books from St. Ignatius College (forerunner to today’s Loyola University) in the stacks of Cudahy, in the Library Storage Facility, and in University Archives.  Working with former intern Evan Thompson, Sarah is helping create the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project, a visual archive of Jesuit-held books and participatory community of people interested in them on the social media site Flickr.

Loyola’s Latin American Studies Program (LASP) website will experience a renovation this semester through the work of Michael O’Hara.  Rather than diving straight into programming and content creation, Mike has begun by surveying the field, much as any historian would do at the outset of a new project, looking for best practice examples of sites at peer institutions. Follow Mike’s blog to see his rationale for the transformation of the LASP site as it unfolds.

In writing his most recent book, Inhumanities: Nazi Interpretations of Western Culture, Professor David Dennis accumulated an unprecedented archive of articles from the major from the Nazi publication, Völkischer Beobachter. With an eye towards making that rare material more broadly available to the public, Alexandra Herrington is uploading that material to Zotero, a web-based software for collecting, organizing, and sharing citations. Check out Allie’s blog to learn more about her progress.

And last but far from least, Loyola’s University Archives and Special Collections has an array of treasures waiting to be processed so they can be better used by students and scholars. This semester, Benjamin Rowe’s blog follows his work processing one of these great collections, the Catholic Church Extension Society Papers.

Intrigued? Inspired? It’s not too early to start thinking about the internship that you would like to undertake for the summer sessions and fall semester.  More information can be found about HIST 398 on the department website and the Loyola Undergraduate History Internships blog.  Feel free to send me an email to Prof. Kyle Roberts (kroberts2@luc.edu) for more information.