Meet the 2021 AAA Summer Interns
Naval Historic & Heritage Command
Beatriz Torres Rios
Naval Historic & Heritage Command
The Smithsonian Center
for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Each summer, the American Anthropological Association offers two internship opportunities funded by member donations. Internships are six weeks in length and usually extend from early July through mid-August. Internships are unpaid, however they are provided housing and a meal/travel stipend.
Interns will spend approximately 40 percent of their time working onsite at the AAA offices in Arlington, VA, and the other 60 percent of their time working on-site at one of two locations: The Naval Historic & Heritage Command and The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.
Learn about the incredible students who have been AAA interns in the past in our AAA Summer Internship Hall of Fame.
Questions about the AAA Summer Internship can be sent to Katie Patschke, Executive Assistant, using this form.
Internships are six weeks in length from June through August 2021. Internships are unpaid however; interns will be provided housing and a meal/travel stipend.
Interns will spend approximately 40 percent of their time working onsite at the AAA offices in Arlington, VA, and the other 60 percent of their time working on-site at one of two locations described below.
We are currently planning on in person internship but that is subject to change. We are closely monitoring CDC health and safety guidelines and will make a final decision before the start of the internship program.
All U.S. and international undergraduate students that are rising juniors, juniors, or seniors, and first year graduate students (completing the first year of graduate work by June 2021), are eligible to apply for the program.
AAA Internship Program Partnerships
The Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC), located on the historic Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC is the official program of the Depart of the Navy. The NHHC is home to the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) which serves to manage, research, conserve, and interpret the Navy's collection of sunken and terrestrial military craft. This includes over 2,500 shipwrecks and 17,000 aircraft wrecks dispersed around the globe.
The NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch serves four main functions:
- Public Education & Outreach - Public education and outreach is a fundamental component of NHHC's mission to promote the Navy’s heritage and preserve its sunken military craft. UAB accomplishes this through disseminating information through social media, publications, reports, presentations, lectures, and tours. Additionally, the Branch maintains a robust internship program for undergraduate and graduate students interested in submerged cultural heritage.
- Artifact Conservation & Curation - All historic artifacts recovered from an underwater environment require some form of conservation and a proper curation environment to remain in a stable condition. UAB's Archaeology & Conservation Laboratory is directly responsible for NHHC's artifact collections that originate from sunken military craft. In addition to treating and curating artifacts, the Laboratory manages a loan program of over 11,000 artifacts.
- Archaeological & Historical Research - Archaeologists at UAB oversee, collaborate, and conduct archaeological and historical research on sunken and terrestrial military craft. Research projects include remote sensing surveys, site identification assessments, excavations, and scientific data analyses. This research extends from the earliest beginnings of the Navy, during the American Revolution to losses from World War II and beyond. Through archaeology, UAB can interpret naval history and further convey the story of the American sailor.
- Cultural Resource Management & Policy Development - The Navy's ship and aircraft wrecks represent a fragile collection of non-renewable resources that, in addition to their historical value, are often considered war graves may contain unexploded ordnance or environmental hazards. To ensure preservation of these sites, UAB develops, coordinates, reviews, and implements related policy on behalf of the NHHC. This includes the maintenance of an archaeological permitting program through the Sunken Military Craft Act, coordination with federal, state, local, and international agencies regarding sites and projects, and formation of a sunken military craft inventory.
Interns can expect to work on tasks such as: Preparing, undertaking, or following up on field investigations; Conducting extensive archaeological and historical research at local and national archives; Preparing, reviewing, editing or preparing reports; Conserving and cataloging artifacts; Assisting with artifact inventory, management, and loan programs; Developing a photo database of past field projects; Participating in public outreach and education initiatives such as tours, lectures, and presentations; Creating public outreach and education materials such as blogs and brochures.
The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Internship
The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is a research center of the Smithsonian Institution. Their mission is to "promote greater understanding and sustainability of cultural heritage across the United States and around the world through research, education, and community engagement." Their major activities are the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, maintaining our extensive archival collection, and special projects and programs on cultural heritage, preservation, presentation, and sustainability.
The intern projects may center on production assistance during the last week of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and follow-up with program participants and documentation; sales, marketing, and licensing support with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings; work with archival processing of collections; or assistance with educational outreach and research projects.
AAA On-Site Activities
AAA activities will include the following:
- Each intern will be assigned a research project that allows them to apply their coursework knowledge to a professional workplace. These projects provide interns the opportunity to hone their skills and understand how anthropology can be used in an applied setting.
- Project supervisors will assist the interns in completing the project and developing transferable professional skills that will contribute to their success in future positions.
- At the end of the internship, each intern will present an overview of their AAA and field site (i.e. Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and Naval History and Heritage Command Center) projects to an audience of donors to the Summer Internship Program, AAA staff, and field site partners.
- Mentorship Program
- Each intern will be matched with a AAA staff mentor who either has a similar background or shares the same anthropological interests as the intern. Weekly, the mentors and interns will meet to discuss opportunities for professional development and methods for crafting a career pathway that suits the interns’ skillsets.
- Pathways To Career Project
- To prepare interns for life after college, AAA staff mentors will work with interns to craft resumes and cover letters based on positions that they plan to apply to in the near future. Toward the end of the program, interns will meet with their mentors and project supervisors for a mock interview.
- Career Meetings
- Each week the interns will meet with a different AAA department to learn how staff members’ individual expertise contributes to Association success. Meeting topics range from accessibility, fundraising, membership, operations, educational outreach, and Association event planning / meetings.
- Writing Assignments
- Bi-weekly interns will draft blog posts that detail their work at the AAA and their field site. Towards the end of the internship, interns will write letters of appreciation to donors to the AAA Summer Internship program. They will also author a collaborative article for Anthropology News that highlights how this internship has impacted their professional development and outlook on the discipline.
- Social Events
- To keep interns engaged with the program, AAA staff will host a series of events including a preparation meeting prior to the start of the internship, a welcome breakfast, social hours for interns to chat with each other, and a farewell social.
- Feedback Sessions
- Throughout the internship, interns will complete a series of feedback forms that will ask them to evaluate their workload, level of staff support, and relevancy of their projects. This information will inform AAA staff on they can adapt the program based on interns’ needs.