Name: Sierra Francis
Internship, Co-op or Research Site: Maryland
Office of Tourism Development (MOTD)
Major(s)/Minor(s): Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communications
Expected Graduation Year: May 2015
Briefly describe your internship, co-op, research, or service- learning opportunity, including your day-to-day tasks, responsibilities, and assignments.
I write and edit editorial content for historical points of interest, attractions and destinations in Maryland that played a role during the Civil War. I later upload all of that content onto a Civil War Trails iphone application that people can use when they are going out and visiting these places. I have to do quite a bit of research for each city or town that I am required to cover. Sometimes I have to find or order images and photographs to go along with the editorials through historical societies or online public domain archives. Once I have an image I then have to edit it so that it'll fit and look nice on the app. I spent an entire shift just editing photos once. I also have to create inventories of those images on my department's database.
What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization/company?
Besides the amazing history, the promotional writing is the best part. In order to write about a lot of these places I have to look up different things that are in that area that a tourist could see and do besides the historical-related things and then sum it all up. It's basically like I'm the one who's getting ready to go on a trip and I've got to find things to do there. It's a lot of fun learning about all the different towns and things they have to offer. I also love that my cubicle overlooks the Baltimore harbor. It's pretty cool that I'm getting an "ocean-view" as an intern.
What have you gained from your experience that you could not have gained from another opportunity?
I get to immerse myself in something that I love. And when you love history as much as I do, getting to see old archives and photos is like crack. I don't know how else to put it!
What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?
Record what you get done every shift and keep your supervisor updated every day. Don't make them have to ask you anything. I consistently tell my supervisor what I've accomplished after each shift and what my next step is through a quick email before I leave. She was extremely pleased and surprised that she has never had to ask me anything, and I know it made a good impression. I don't think they always expect college kids to be so on top of things, so if you prove yourself like that it reflects extremely well on you down the line.
How do you see your experience as meaningful? This might involve skills you’ve gained, information you’ve learned, mentors you’ve connected with, or projects you’ve completed.
I'm helping to create an app that anyone in the United States can use as their own personal tour guide when they visit these historical trails and sites. And in order to do that I get to read and write about history and fun things to do in each area whenever I come in. I even get to see photos that were taken in the 1800s of people who you never really hear much about in history class or on TV...I'm not really sure what more a history-geek could ask for. It's great and I can't believe I'm getting paid for it.
Please provide a short quote about what you liked most about your position / earning internship credit / the internship placement process.
I'm just grateful that I had to opportunity to work here and it'll be an experience that I'll cherish for the rest of my life.