Archive for the ‘internship’ 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.