Archive for the ‘CCSU’ Tag

In the beginning…Hist 521

The noun “intern” traces its origins to 1879, near the beginning of the Gilded Age, a time of industry and growth, Jim Crow and immigration, writers and Robber Barons.  This time period is also important because it was in the midst of the centennial of the birth of the United States as a sovereign nation and the wave of revolution throughout the Atlantic world.  With the growth of the insurance industry and international maritime trade, Connecticut was in boom and Hartford was entering its height.  Writing with Charles Dudley Warner, Mark Twain labeled the time period with the novel, The Guilded Age, lampooning Washington D.C. and many contemporary leaders.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, “intern” is an American English word describing ‘”one working under supervision as part of professional training” especially “doctor in training in a hospital.” The word comes from the French word interne meaning “assistant doctor.”‘  By 1933 the usage evolved to include a verb tense offering the terms “interned” and “interning.” This usage coincided with the beginning of the New Deal.  In 2012, I am beginning a new interning experience as a part of the Public History program at Central CT State University.  Although I am not interning to be a medical doctor or any sort of doctoral degree, I did make a deal with the department to conduct research on behalf of two private clients.  This is a very interesting endeavor that seems to meld several professional interests into one experience.

The first aspect to this internship is researching for a land use history for Goodwin College in East Hartford, CT.  According to their website, “Goodwin College is a nonprofit organization and received accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.” Over the past several years this institution has purchased large tracks of land on the east coast of the CT River, which now houses its River Campus and its environmental-themed magnet school, Connecticut River Academy.  Much of the developed land in Goodwin College’s riverside holdings are brown fields.  These lands along what the River Tribes termed the “long tidal river” were damaged by years of pollution from home heating oil spills.  Coincidentally, the environmental movement sparked major efforts of reclamation of polluted lands in the 1970s, just about 100 years after the first use of “intern.”

The other piece to this internship is contributing to the beginning stages of a teacher resource section on the Connecticut Humanities website connecticuthistory.org.  In this research project I will find resources and write short descriptive essays for a section entitled, “Connecticut and the New Nation.”  As the title indicates this was a time of beginnings.  This period was a time of manufacturing and good feelings, the triangle trade and immigration, British invasion and Manifest Destiny. Many CT towns have a rich history from this period.  There were canal projects to circumvent the Enfield falls and others to circumvent the entire lower Connecticut River.  The maritime tradition of the CT River and coast connected the state to the Atlantic World and beyond.  This was a burgeoning region with a bright future.

New beginnings are always filled with similar optimism and uncertainty that Connecticut faced at the beginning of the new nation.  The same can be said for beginning this internship experience.  In some ways this experience will be blazing a new path and in other ways it will be practicing old methods. This internship will expand my knowledge and provide new skills to navigate the professional road that lies before me.  According to Mark Twain, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”  Now that this blog post is finished, I am ready to start on the next task.  If you are reading this, I guess we begin this journey together.

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Public History Internship Proposal

​This proposed internship experience is as a research assistant for several contracted public history projects. The main project is researching for Goodwin College. The research will contribute to a publishable land use history article, the development of a college course, and the creation of a research center. Primarily, the research conducted in this internship will be used to write a land use history of Goodwin College’s River Campus, stretching from Riverside Drive in East Hartford south to the Rt. 3 Bridge. More specifically, we will compare and contrast the land use of this property to usage of land in the Connecticut River region. Steve Armstrong, the professional supervisor for this internship, and I have already had several meetings with professionals in the field and our client, Goodwin College. As an extension of this land use research, Goodwin College wants to develop a history course and ultimately a research center for the Connecticut River.​

Another project I will work as a part of this internship is contributing to connecticuthistory.org, a program of Connecticut Humanities Council. In this portion of the internship, I will research primary sources and write 100-150-word descriptions for a teacher resources page for the newly launched site. The project supervisor will monitor and authorize submissions. The focus of this research is for a section entitled, “CT and the New Nation.” The time period covers from 1800 to the 1830s/1840s. Some topics include industrialization/ manufacturing, Manifest Destiny, maritime history, and evolution of the landscape. In addition to contributing individual resources, I will also write a 100-200-word essay describing the resource section. Much of the work for this internship will be independent with scheduled progress meetings.

These projects build upon the courses I have taken at CCSU in several ways. First and foremost, the research is a direct extension of the land use and local history research methods from Hist. 505, Local History and Community Development. The CHC project, partnership with Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, will put into practice the Digital History coursework of Hist. 511. Other aspects of the coursework I have completed that this internship will build upon are interpretation, use of historiography, and creating a narrative of historical events. Finally, this internship is an opportunity to work in the client-based realm of public history, a concept discussed in the Seminar in Public History.

​This proposed internship experience furthers my career goals both in and outside of the classroom. The area of public history that I am most interested in is the client-based aspect. This opportunity will put me on the front lines of research and interpretation for academic, non-academic, and client-based audiences. These projects will also further my understanding of Connecticut History, with a special focus on the CT River region. This internship provide the future opportunity to create and deliver college-level curriculum. Another result from this internship will be increased capabilities to develop Connecticut and local history in the high school social studies classroom. The US history courses taught at CT River Academy are a through the lens of the CT River and much of the research will be used to enhance instruction. Overall, this internship will contribute to my abilities as a public historian and will create many career opportunities in the future.