Kalissa Reins Internship Portfolio


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Kalissa Reins Internship Portfolio

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I joined the Journal of the Plague Year as an intern my first semester of graduate school, throwing myself into the fray with gusto. I learned about the archive from Dr. Kole when we had our first Zoom meeting to discuss my program of study for Global History. She was very excited about the archive. After initially thinking it would be too much for my first semester, I decided I’d sign up. I’m very glad I did! This has been a wonderful experience that has connected me to the rest of our intern team in a way I don’t think many online students get. Weekly Zoom meetings have fostered our little community and spurred us to do more for our collections.

This internship gave me the opportunity to develop my skills with communication, writing, and the curatorial process. I never thought I’d write a press release or conduct an oral history interview. Having done both, I can say I’ve moved pretty far outside of my comfort zone. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to hold real responsibility, learn new skills, and create a collection that I care about. I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone enough during this time that I feel that I’ve grown as a person, and I feel more confident knowing my peers and leaders trusted me to take care of what needed to be done. I’ve learned a lot not only about public history, but about academia and networking within our team. Coming from a work background entirely different from history, it has been a great chance to get to know people within this realm of expertise. It’s also given me a much wider view of the stories and experiences of people throughout the world as we deal with this crisis than I would have had without it.

The Over 60 collection has been very important to me, if somewhat difficult to find direct voices for. I hope that future interns will want to continue my work on this collection as work on the archive continues. We all have older friends and relatives who we care deeply about. Documenting the unique struggles of one of the most vulnerable populations is incredibly important when their voices can often be lost in the noise of everything else.

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