History interns praise the experience

Callie Burgan, Contributing Writer

History professor Paul Newman said internships are an excellent way to obtain real-world experience in an environment outside of the classroom. 

Newman has been working with history majors to achieve internship credits over the course of his Pitt-Johnstown career. 

“When students are actually going out and getting their hands dirty at actual historical sites and overcoming the adversities they are faced with, it’s a much more valuable involvement than they would receive in comparison (with) just sitting in the classroom.”

Newman said he was granted an internship as a college student, which he says is a major factor in his passion for aiding students in obtaining them. 

He said he was challenged with the task of brainstorming, gathering materials and developing his own museum exhibit in York County.

 The idea that Newman brought to life was a Susquehannock longhouse exhibit. The process took four months, but he says that the lifelong knowledge he gained from the experience was indispensable. 

Newman still keeps the notebook of project design plans in his office as a keepsake.

“The valuable critical thinking and economic writing skills I acquired from doing it were more than I had learned from all four of my college years combined.”

Over the summer, junior Will Bolinger completed an internship for the Bedford County Historical Society where his tasks included sorting documents.

“Dr. Newman set me up with this internship. I’m so grateful I was able to do it because of the unique experience and how enjoyable it was. “

The thing that had the strongest impact on me personally was being able to look through all of the (old) documents. It gave me a glimpse into what a real career in this field would be like.”

Bolinger said he is to to participate in an internship at Flight 93 National Memorial this year.

“After experiencing my first internship at the Bedford County Historical Society, I’m definitely looking forward to beginning another journey with the Flight 93 (Memorial) to see how my efforts can be contributed there.”

Sophomore David Swank served as an intern over the summer at Fort Ligonier, which he said taught him a lot about what he wants to do with the rest of his life: teaching.

“Over the course of about four months, I learned a lot about the French and Indian War, specifically the Forbes Campaign of 1758, which was a major success by the British and their colonial allies to capture Fort Duquesne in modern day Pittsburgh.”

Swank said that after shadowing and taking notes, he was allowed to lead guided tours and help visitors learn about the important role Fort Ligonier played in the French and Indian War for the British.

“Being around kids a lot for field trips and summer camps, I had so much fun.  I felt passionate about teaching them about things they’ve never even heard of before. Their reactions were priceless and it’s absolutely something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.”