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2019 Summer interns are here!

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.


Intern reflection: Brittney Meadors

This is a guest blog post from Spring 2019 intern Brittney Meadors working at the American Folklife Center. Brittney is a first year graduate student at Howard University pursuing a Masters degree in Classical Voice and certification in International Affairs. Her internship was initiated by Dr. Carla Hayden (Librarian of Congress) and Dr. Wayne A. […]

Internship reflection: Josie Morgan

This is a guest post by Josie Morgan, an undergraduate student at UCLA who interned at the American Folklife Center from September to December 2017. Flying from sunny Southern California to bustling Washington D.C. for the first time this past September, I began my experience at the Library of Congress with a welcome tour, a […]

Paid Internships at the AFC: Summer 2018

For many years, interns have assisted American Folklife Center staff in a range of tasks and projects central to supporting our mission. While rewarding in experience and skill-building, these have always been volunteer opportunities. We are excited to announce that we now offer paid internships as well! In summer 2018, the AFC at the Library […]

The American Folklife Center: 40 Years of Change

The following post is part of a series of blog posts about the 40th Anniversary Year of the American Folklife Center. Visit this link to see them all! This year the Library’s American Folklife Center (AFC) turns 40. Detailed histories of AFC are available elsewhere [1], so we thought we’d do something different in this […]

AFC Junior Fellow April Rodriguez on Lomax’s Choreometrics

The American Folklife Center is very grateful to April Rodriguez, one of this year’s 36 Library of Congress Junior Fellow Summer Interns.  April has been working with Alan Lomax’s choreometrics materials, a lesser-known but crucial aspect of his research. Her work has revealed aspects of the collection our own staff didn’t know about, and will […]

It’s Never too Late to be an Ethnomusicologist: A Conversation with AFC Intern Kirk Sullivan, Part II

This is a guest post by Folklife Specialist Ann Hoog, who coordinates AFC’s internship program. This is the second in a two-part series stemming from a conversation with one of our summer interns, Kirk Sullivan. Part I was about how he went from having an established career in software engineering to becoming a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology. Today, […]

It’s Never too Late to be an Ethnomusicologist: A Conversation with AFC Intern Kirk Sullivan

This is a guest post by Folklife Specialist Ann Hoog, who coordinates AFC’s internship program. This is the first in a two-part series stemming from a conversation with one of our summer interns, Kirk Sullivan. Part II is available at this link. This week I sat down to talk with one of our summer interns, Kirk Sullivan, […]