Guest Post: Summer of Virtual Internships

To offer a capacity-building and professional development opportunity during the pandemic, our Heritage department implemented the King County Heritage Virtual Internship Program as a 3-month virtual program. Three host organizations were selected through a competitive panel process in early 2021: StoryBoards in Sammamish, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Seattle, and the Kenmore Heritage Society. Interns have been working on their projects since June; as they near the end of the program, we asked them to share what their experience has been like this summer.

Ann Kousin
My name is Ann. I am working with the organization StoryBoards this summer. I’m helping to gather oral histories regarding the experiences of Chinese-American poets and artists who used their art for activism in the 1960s and 1970s. My day-to-day responsibilities include collecting data to establish context for Chinese American activism during the Civil Rights Movement, reading and summarizing my findings, and helping the Project Manager create specific questions relevant to the person providing the interview.

It has been a creative and exciting learning experience. I have gotten to know Chinese American poets and artists and activists with diverse perspectives and stories I wouldn’t have learned about otherwise had it not been for this opportunity. And that part of the internship has been gratifying for me. Although it is only a 12-week internship, I feel I have gained a better understanding of the process of creating a podcast.

Lena Rodriguez
The 4Culture KHS Summer Heritage Internship was developed to aid in the Kenmore Heritage Society’s effort to engage people where they are and give voices to those who have been overlooked or underrepresented. Over the course of the summer, I worked with a project advisory committee to develop a new strategic plan centered around Healing Arts and Restorative Practice, multidisciplinary research methodology and a list of timeline additions oriented around Coast Salish peoples in the area of Kenmore and Lake Washington to assist the Society in becoming more inclusive and comprehensive in their community building outreach initiatives. As a result of this Internship, I will be working at KHS for the next school year to continue to support the Society in their initiatives and implementation of my Strategic Plan and Research Methodology.

During my internship, I also received Tribal Government Training from Lisaaksiichaa Ross Braine that will be extremely helpful as I move forward in writing my Master’s thesis on DEAI best practices for Museum Exhibition, Programming, and Interpretation. As well as my continued research into the impacts and manifestations of colonization in the Americas, I hope that my research and work will contribute to a more inclusive future and help to foster a healthier, stronger, and more connected community not only in Kenmore, but beyond.

Rebecca Lawler
In My Backyard is an award winning, youth-based leadership program that started at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Their goal is to help foster the next generation of stewards and create opportunities for communities that have been historically underserved and excluded from the National Park Service. This summer, 4Culture gave me the opportunity to work with IMBY as a mentor to 16 high school youth interns. I had three main goals for my internship: make meaningful connections with youth interns and Klondike team members, design presentations and lesson plans surrounding nature and equity, and finally to learn more about Seattle and the National Parks Service.

My internship started with me meeting the team and learning about the area. Then, I met the youth interns and learned about their interests. After that, I prepared for weekly meetings by creating examples of deliverables for youth interns to submit and lesson plans on topics like the outdoors, social justice, mental health, and art. I co-host weekly team meetings and provided additional support to the youth interns’ questions as needed during their five-week program. I accomplished guiding the youth interns in connecting with the nature around them. I’m finishing up my time at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park by organizing feedback from youth interns and brainstorming new ideas for next year. I learned that the next generation can save the world and that mentoring is about valuable connections, not just educating. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be introduced to the National Parks Service through 4Culture!