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2019 Summer interns are here!

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Here at the AFC we are proud and excited to welcome a new round of summer interns! Two of them are supported through the American Folklife Center Internship Fund, made possible with a generous gift from the late Peter Bartis, while the third comes to us through a program at Utah State University. Our connection with Utah State University’s Institute of Government and Politics internship program dates back to 2012, but the paid internships funded directly by AFC (affectionately known around here as “Bartis interns”!) launched just last year. This year there were 138 applications for two positions—up from over 75 applications in 2018. AFC is thrilled that this paid internship program has garnered such visibility so quickly, and we are excited to get to work with our new crew. Let’s meet them!

Ed Wang recently completed his first year in the Wesleyan University ethnomusicology Master’s degree program. His graduate coursework in applied ethnomusicology, mapping techniques, and sound archives prepared him for the primary project he’ll be working on this summer: creating StoryMaps featuring content from AFC’s Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection. He’ll team up with staff to develop narrative pathways through this rich collection, using the dynamic features of the StoryMap platform to present those narratives to the public. While he’s with us this summer, he’ll also draw on Library collections in pursuing his own research interests in Asian American musical theater. As a Bartis intern, Ed hopes to learn as much as he can about archives and public folklore work from the diverse experiences of the American Folklife Center staff, while taking advantage of the vast resources in both the AFC and the Library of Congress.

Photograph of Tali Gelenian and Ed Wang, the two AFC Bartis Folklife Interns for 2019.
Tali Gelenian and Ed Wang, our two Bartis Folklife Interns for 2019.

Tali Gelenian is an honors student at the University of Vermont pursuing a major in anthropology and minor in environmental studies. She brings a wealth of work experience to her internship, including stints with nonprofit organizations such as The Vermont Folklife Center, Conversations from the Open Road, and Play and Learn. She came to us straight from a semester study-abroad program in Ghana, where she had a position at the National Folklore Board. Across all of the organizations she’s worked with, she’s seen the potential for multimedia pieces to cultivate cross-cultural understanding and connection. At AFC her multimedia experience will be important for the primary project she’s involved with: developing a podcast series anchored in our Occupational Folklife Project. Her work will include deep research into the 900-plus interviews in the collections comprising the OFP, creating sample episode segments, and helping draft a series proposal. Through her Bartis internship, Tali is looking to gain experience working with collections in order to amplify the voices and stories from the OFP by sharing these with a wide audience.

Photograph showing Natalie Christensen in the AFC reading room. She is the 2019 Utah State University intern.
Natalie Christensen, our Utah State University summer intern for 2019.

Natalie Christensen is our Utah State intern this year. She discovered her love of folklore as an undergraduate, when she realized that her affection for rural towns, eating fried green Jell-O at the Utah State Fair (it’s as bad as it sounds), making quilts with aunts, and recording the stories her parents tell about growing up were all things that folklorists valued!. Her undergrad degree was in English (minor in Anthropology), and she holds a Master’s degree in Education. Last year she began the Master’s program in Folklore at Utah State and is particularly interested in the intersection of tech and consumers, the ethics of tech companies, and how people create and believe narratives on social media. She would love to do ethnography and human-centered design for a tech company someday! While at the AFC she’ll be assisting Reference Staff in our reading room and also logging audio from the Pete Welding collection (read a bit about that collection here). Through her internship with us, Natalie hopes to hone her research skills through helping reference staff and patrons in the reading room, as well as contribute to the Library’s digital collections.


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