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2021 Folklife Interns: Welcome Aboard!

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The American Folklife Center staff is thrilled to welcome our 2021 Folklife Interns: Camille Acosta and Kennedi Johnson. It was a competitive application pool this year, with over 350 candidates—and extremely difficult to make final selections! They’ve both officially “on-boarded” at this point and are navigating the challenges and opportunities of doing a full-time internship from afar, with Camille working from New Mexico and Kennedi from Indiana. A bit more about each of them follows below, and for background on the paid internships at the AFC, check out this post from back in 2018 when we launched the program.

Portrait photo of young woman
Camille Acosta, one of the 2021 Folkife Interns. Image courtesy of Camille Acosta.

Camille Acosta recently graduated with her MA in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University (yay!) and notes

Folk studies is so important because it highlights the significance of feelings and experience for us human beings, offering a platform for meaning to be shared and understood. Whether it be terrifying legends like La Llornoa or traditional foodways such as pan dulce, my own Mexican American culture benefits from sharing traditions and stories by giving us the opportunity to communicate.

Asked what she’s hoping to get out of her time with AFC, Camille says:

What I hope to get out of my internship experience with the AFC is to learn more about communities and their intricacies. Both through technology and interpersonal communication, I want to widen my own understanding of the folklore world in general. Considering I’ve only been working within the field “technically” for the past two years, I can’t wait to further my professional growth and learn from the best. My goal is to be immersed in folklore this summer, as well as be immersed in people’s narratives.

Kennedi Johnson is doctoral candidate in the Ethnomusicology Ph.D. program at Indiana University, having just passed her qualifying exams (way to go!). Of her path leading toward this point, she told us:

Before coming to Indiana University to work on my graduate degree, I was a music education major who specialized in elementary music

Portrait photo of young woman.
Kennedi Johnson, one of the 2021 Folklife Interns. Photo courtesy Kennedi Johnson.

education. I was especially interested in the curation of educational spaces that centered anti-racist pedagogies. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to continue or expand upon this work in graduate school, however, my advisors– Dr. Alisha Jones, Dr, Fernando Orejuela, Dr. Daniel Reed, and Dr. Valerie Grim– have allowed me to craft, develop, and build upon research that thinks about the ways in which (mis)hearings of Black girls as inherently sassy, angry, and/or disrespectful affects their ability to learn (and be heard) in the US school system.

Thinking about what she wants to get out of her internship with us, Kennedi says:

I am excited to get more experience working within the public sector as someone situated between Black studies and ethnomusicology. I have always envisioned that I would eventually work in a museum, archive, or a library. I am looking forward to getting a better idea of what this future can look like for me.

Join all of the AFC staff in welcoming Camille and Kennedi into the fold!

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