Careers & Internships

Training in history prepares students for a variety of careers. Many pursue jobs in education, museum, and library work. Others turn the critical-thinking and writing skills history classes provide them into careers as lawyers, government officials, businessmen and women, journalists, and policy consultants in the non-profit sector. A history degree allows students to explore different cultures and develop analytical abilities necessary for succeeding in our increasingly globalized society. For those wanting more information about careers in history, click on this link or this one.

Graduates of our own department have landed a variety of jobs, including working in federal archives, curating museum exhibits, teaching at the high school and college level, becoming lawyers, and engaging in foreign service. For more information on this we encourage you to contact our Director of Undergraduate Studies or any of our helpful departmental advisors.

Internships

One of the best ways for history students to prepare themselves for the work-world is to perform an internship. The History Department has a wide variety of options in this arena. Our students have worked locally for the Athens Historical Society, University Archives, Kennedy Museum, and Ohio University Press. Nationally, they have worked for the State Department, U.S. Holocaust Museum, Library of Congress, and the National Archives.

Internships involve a variety of kinds of work, some of which may be useful for what you do after graduation. We encourage you to search for these possibilities on your own and ask professors who might have background in the area you’re looking to work in.  Most of what we offer here are internships based around “public history” (i.e., museum work) or archival preservation.  You should think creatively about what you want to accomplish and make sure to seek advice.

With all internships, you must decide to do the internship for credit or not.  If you would like to line up an internship for credit (HIST 495), you must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before your internship begins in order to choose the credit hours for the course (usually linked to the hours of the internship you perform) and sign the required paperwork.  Internships done for credit require a commitment to the place or institution of an entire semester (or summer).  Please contact Brian Schoen at schoen@ohio.edu.  If you work for an institution and would like to list yourself as a resource here, please contact Kevin Mattson.

We have broken down internships into three kinds (a) Local internships performed while courses are in session at OU and potentially done for credit (b) internship possibilities in the state of Ohio that might require more travel time and might be best considered during the summer or winter breaks (c) “national” internships, usually in Washington, D.C., that require summer or winter break commitments.

Local Internships:

Numerous students have had a great deal of success working with the Athens County Historical Society and Museum.  Some O.U. students have helped assemble displays for museum shows; others have worked in preserving historical artifacts or digitizing historical photographs.  The museum and offices are located at 65 N. Court Street, a short walk from campus.  Internships should be arranged ahead of time by contacting Jessica Cyders at 592-2280 or curator@athenshistory.org.  Their website is: http://www.athenshistory.org/index.html

Those looking for a future career as a museum curator and some experiential background can also contact the Kennedy Museum about internship possibilities.  The Kennedy Museum works on various exhibitions, through which students can learn the skills of preservation and museum show and display.  The Kennedy Museum prefers to have a professor’s recommendation for an internship.  The person to contact there is Elizabeth Tragert: tragerte@ohio.edu or 593-1304.  They also have available some paid internships through PACE, which operates under a competitive system of application (higher priority here is given to students in the School of the Arts).  For more information on the Kennedy Museum, go to: http://www.ohio.edu/museum/

The Alden Library’s Archives and Special Collections has offered students numerous opportunities to students to learn the ins and outs of archival organization and preservation.  For more information on the possibility of internship possibilities here, contact William Kimok: kimok@ohio.edu.  Or if interested in the recently acquired George Voinovich collection, contact Douglas McCabe: mccabe@ohio.edu.  To get a better sense of what archival materials and collections presently exist, visit:   http://www.library.ohiou.edu/archives/mss/#SlideFrame_2

The local non-profit organization, Rural Action, also has some new opportunities in historical preservation and archiving.  They are just now starting to digitize some local history materials and are interested in working with students who have an interest in grassroots public activism.  Those interested in an internship here should contact Susan Roth at: susan@ruralaction.org.

Recognizing that many students of history go into book publishing (academic or trade), we encourage students to think about an internship with the Ohio University Press and its trade imprint Swallow Press.The Press offers internship opportunities in (a) editing and acquisitions and (b) marketing and publicity. Students thinking about (a) are usually asked to get a professor’s recommendation and contact Gillian Berchowitz (berchowi@ohio.eduor 593-1159). Those interested in publicity and marketing (which includes website support and online marketing, mailings and award submissions, and a variety of other marketing support projects) should have a professor ready to recommend them and contact Sarah Welsch (welsch@ohio.edu or 593-1160).

The George Washington Forum hosts a variety of conferences and speakers throughout the academic year.  If interested in this line of work as an intern, please contact Professor Robert Ingram: ingramr@ohio.edu

Pre-law students might want to contact local law offices to see about internship possibilities.  That’s as simple as opening up the yellow pages.  Or see our pre-law advisor: Michele Clouse (clousem@ohio.edu).

State-Wide Internships:

Your first option here is to contact the Ohio Historical Society.  Check out their website (ohiohistory.org), especially the guide to “historical sites” that provides a nice listing of opportunities in different regions of the state.  Their museum and library are both located in Columbus, Ohio. 

Some of the following might be able to offer internship possibilities that wouldn’t require too much travel from Athens:

State of Ohio, Attorney General's Office: There are both summer college internships and academic-year legal internships. For the most current information visit: http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/About-AG/Careers/Learning-Opportunities

Little Cities of Black Diamonds: An organization based around numerous towns in southeastern Ohio and the study of the labor movement and coal mining.  They are based in Shawnee, Ohio and their phone number is: 740-878-9767

Multicultural Genealogical Center: An organization that works on African-American and multi-racial history in southeastern Ohio, including the Underground Railroad.  They are based in Chesterhill, Ohio.  You can contact the president Ada Woodson Adams at amadams@frognet.net.

Perry County Historical Society: Focusing on local history in Perry County, their offices are located in Somerset, Ohio.  Contact Tom Johnson at 740-743-1374.

Zanesville Museum of Art: This local museum has some archival projects that need to be completed.  The Museum works on an array of public history projects, including those linked with the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).  You can contact Amy Kesting at 740-452-0741 or amy@zanesvillemuseumofart.org.

National Internships:

We strongly recommend you spend some time researching possibilities in the Washington, D.C. area.  For instance, there are numerous think tanks and policy centers that might be interested in having a student of history work for them.  Consider the Brookings Institution, American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Center for American Progress, the New America Foundation, etc.  The offices of the American Historical Association are also located in D.C. and can provide feedback on internship possibilities. 

The following list are places where students associated with Ohio University, either as undergraduate or graduate students, have done internships and have had successful experiences.  Please keep us up to date about your own internship experiences, so we can renew this list.  This list isn’t comprehensive or intended to limit your choices; rather we supply it as a starting point.

State Department: Students have worked here in a variety of areas, including archival work and publishing.  One contact person given was Tamara Brown BrownTJ2@state.gov.

U.S. Holocaust Museum: One student worked with the reference archivist and engaged in a variety of public events that the museum held throughout the summer.  One contact person is Michlean Amir: mamir@ushmm.org.

Packard Campus of Audio-Visual Conservation of the Library of Congress: In general, the Library of Congress offers numerous opportunities.  One student worked at the Recorded Sound Section in Culpepper, VA.  Check out loc.gov (they have a guide to internships there).

National Archives and Record Administration – Nixon Presidential Materials Project: Again, the National Archives have numerous opportunities.  One student performed an internship at the College Park, MD offices.  The contact person given was Marty McGann (marty.mcgann@nara.gov).

 

Other Options

The History Department also offers a Pre-Law option. For more on that program, click here, or contact Professor Michele Clouse or Robert Ingram.

Students considering a future in education should speak with a departmental or college of arts and science advisor and might want to think about deepening their knowledge in a Directed Studies class (History 498 series), an honors thesis, or serving as a research assistant.