Each year the Department offers internship opportunities for both undergraduates and graduate students -- Hist 3995 and 6995 in the catalog. Students have interned at a diverse variety of institutions, including the Archives of the U.S. Olympics Committee in downtown Colorado Springs, the Pioneers Museum, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, and many others. These internships provide invaluable and exciting opportunities in the field of public history.
Below is a piece by a recent M. A. graduate, Lindsey Duncan, who reflects on the value of her internship experience.
What I learned about the value of my internship in the job market.
I've graduated with my Masters in History-success! Now what do I do? At the end of my graduate career, I was flying high. There's nothing quite like the feeling of passing oral defense and wearing the Masters hood at graduation. Reality soon sets in, however, when the search for a job begins. For those of us seeking higher education in history, it is clear that we are passionate about our studies, but the world doesn't always see how valuable we truly are. Yes, we have an MA, but finding a job in history is difficult.
For someone who entered the program hoping for a future in academia, the news that teaching jobs are rare is disappointing. Luckily, I took the Internship in History course. Teaching history is not the only route graduates can take. This is exciting news! I studied the public side of history and I gained invaluable experience in understanding what the world has to offer for graduates. I interned in an archive where I learned and applied standard archival procedures, discovered how to make an excellent, usable finding aid, and practiced working with different personalities. This one course has opened many doors for me because I can apply to positions in museums, archives, foundations, and businesses across the country.
Without the internship, I would not qualify for any of those positions because experience is mandatory. One semester is all the department requires (though I recommend starting in your first semester and continuing to intern the rest of your graduate career-more experience always helps). The internship asks for 104 hours over 15 weeks-that's 7 hours a week! Anyone can make that work, and you should! The fact of the matter is, finding a job is difficult. Any way you can add to your CV, make professional connections, learn more about history, and understand its varying applications serve to increase your likelihood of working in the field post-graduation.
This is the goal of history students and therefore you should jump at the opportunity afforded you and register for HIST 6995! Not only will you experience public history first-hand through the internship, but you will also learn from experts in their field about public history: what it means, how it is used, and what opportunities exist for historians. I know by taking the course I have a greater chance for success in the history job market and for that alone I know I made the right decision.
If you are interested in participating in an internship, enroll in Hist 3995 or 6995.You can also pursue internships on your own by consulting published guides (e.g., Peterson's Internships; Vault Guide to Top Internships) or you can search for internships on the Web as well (e.g., www.internships.com or www.vaultreports.com). The UCCS Career Center also posts internship opportunities. If your department does not offer internship courses and you want credit, go to LAS Extended Studies and enroll in ID 3660.