2020 AAA Summer Interns Blog - Learn and Teach
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2020 AAA Summer Interns Blog

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We're thrilled to welcome this year's AAA Summer Interns, Max Cameron, Katie Kemp, and Meghan Ussing. Even though this year’s program is virtual, our interns are keeping busy!  Get to know this summer’s interns and follow their progress with bi-weekly updates from the field.

The AAA Internship Program is funded entirely by member donations. Consider contributing to the AAA Intern Fund to help secure the future of this vital program. 


Max Cameron


I’m a rising senior at SUNY Oswego interning with the American Anthropological Association this summer. I’m majoring in anthropology with a focus in archaeology and interests in battlefield and underwater archaeology. So far, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experiences as an intern with the AAA and the Naval History and Heritage Command. Even though the internship is virtual this year, and is only just beginning, I feel like I’ve already learned new skills and met a lot of new people. As I write this post, I am eagerly looking forward to the rest of my time as an intern and I cannot wait to see what the rest of my time brings. 

Max's hobbies include flying R/C planes and collegiate track.  

During my time with the AAA, I’ve worked on classifying learning outcomes from several colleges and universities around the United States based on their responses to a request from the AAA in 2016 for their anthropology department’s learning outcomes. I’ve become more fluent with Excel as I sift through the data provided by the different colleges and try to develop a conclusive set of overarching learning outcomes from these different colleges. Later in my internship, I will compare these learning outcomes to the skills companies are looking for in the field to help spot deficiencies in the education of future anthropologists. I hope to learn more about Excel throughout my internship to become even more comfortable using it. I also hope to become better acquainted with the skills companies are looking for so that I can improve any deficiencies I may have as well. 

My internship with the NHHC has also been fascinating and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of it. I’ve been tasked with researching and documenting several 18th Century uniform buckles from a Continental Navy shipwreck in Lake Champlain, New York. At times it’s been a challenge to identify some of the buckles and I’ve had to be inventive when looking for information on a topic that has often been overlooked in archaeology. I’ve also learned a new citation method (SHA) and how to document and write a report to the NHHC’s standards. I hope to continue to learn about the lab work and documentation side of archaeology in order to give me applicable experience in all sides of archaeology as a solid learning base to expand on when I attend graduate school. 
The work I'm doing this summer will help round out the skills learned in my education career. I hope that the work I’m doing at the AAA this summer can contribute to the bettering of others by providing guidelines for students of anthropology to follow in order to improve themselves in preparation of joining the workforce. Finally, I hope that my work at the NHHC helps contribute, in some small way, to the archaeologic record and that I learn from these experiences in the future.


Katie Kemp 


Hi AAA Community! My name is Katie Kemp, and I just finished my second week as a summer intern for the AAA. Originally from Boulder, CO, I recently finished my bachelor’s degree from CU Boulder in International Affairs and Anthropology. Now I am moving to Missoula, Montana in the fall to attend the University of Montana’s master’s program in Cultural Heritage with an emphasis in Archaeology. I am incredibly excited and honored to be accepted as an intern for the AAA and that I can spend my summer exploring my passions for archaeology and site preservation.

 Katie plans to move Missoula, Montana in the fall to join the University of Montana’s master’s program in Cultural Heritage.

I hope that this internship will give me a well-rounded background for my career goals as a site preservation archaeologist for the National Parks Service. Despite an unprecedented change to the internship format because of COVID-19 that forced us to stay home and do our internship duties remotely, I’ve been having a great time as a summer intern! My work with the AAA combines my passions for conservation and preservation of archaeological sites while giving me an in-depth insight of critical AAA office functions. I’ve been working closely with the development director, Mahsa Javid, in researching grant funding opportunities. So far, I’ve been loving the fast-paced and self-led environment at the AAA, and my days have been busy getting acquainted with my responsibilities and diving into the complex world of fundraising! Working closely with the AAA accessibility specialist, Nell Koneczny, I look forward to expanding my projects to assist with bringing the field of anthropology to everybody by transcribing recorded lectures for screen readers and those with hearing loss.

On top of my intern duties with the AAA office, I’ve also been working half the time at the Naval History and Heritage Command Underwater Archaeology Branch. There I’m working closely with other NHHC staff and interns to locate sunken naval ships from World War II off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. This project has allowed me to develop critical research and analytical skills while feeling the satisfaction and importance of knowing I am doing such crucial and impactful work. Getting to know everybody virtually by eating lunch with the office has been a lot of fun, and I’ve been enjoying learning as much as I can and squeezing every drop I can from my time here! Due to these unexpected circumstances, I’ve been learning creative ways to research information for my project since lots of archives are closed right now, but I feel even more like an investigator wading through online archives like NARA and Ancestry.com to get my information. While the internship is only six weeks, I think that the skills I gain through my time with the AAA and NHHC will continue to be valuable to me as I transition to the next chapter in my educational career and beyond.


Meghan Ussing


My name is Meghan Ussing and I’m from Soldotna, Alaska. I am a virtual summer intern at the AAA and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH). In May of 2020, I graduated from the University of Alaska, Anchorage with a degree in Anthropology. This summer, I hope to dedicate myself to getting the most out of this internship by putting in the work.

 In her spare time, Meghan enjoys fishing in the Kenai River for red salmon.

The two projects I am working on are the AAA’s rapid mobilization platform for emerging infectious diseases and the joint traveling exhibit World on the Move, a project led by both CFCH and the AAA. The emerging infectious diseases platform is the first time I’ve been directly involved in an applied anthropology project and I have discovered a passion for applied anthropology in these few short weeks. The purpose of the platform is to create a network of organizations and anthropologists who can quickly respond to emerging infectious disease outbreaks and mitigate their spread. My project for the summer is primarily to assist in the design of the website.

Through my work at the Smithsonian, I’ve learned of exhibit design and content creation. My background knowledge coming from an Alaskan education helped my supervisors at the Smithsonian to fill in some gaps about migration across Beringia. I expect this internship will continue to build on my existing skillset as well as to introduce me to new concepts and opportunities. My work with the AAA has reaffirmed my interest in medical anthropology and expanded my view on applied anthropology careers. Additionally, learning how to work collaboratively and communicate effectively through virtual applications has prepared me for a career in a post-COVID-19 world. I believe the knowledge and skills I will walk away with from this internship will help me to be a better researcher and will help in my future studies.

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