My name is Lauren Hennessey, and I am a third-year student at CSU majoring in history. I had the wonderful opportunity to intern at the Public Lands History Center in Spring 2022 and work alongside the Center’s program manager, Ariel Schnee, Director, Dr. Jared Orsi, and a team of graduate students. This was my first experience introduction to public history and historic preservation work. I completed a variety of tasks in this position including researching various state parks for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, transcribing oral histories from Tohono O’odham narrators, organizing a guest speaker event, publishing 2 blogs entries for the PLHC website, and helping on other projects.
I heard about the PLHC from my history advisor, Stephanie Nielsen. Before applying to the position, I was able to sit down with Ariel and learn about the PLHC’s research and how it engages people with history through its public outreach programs. I was drawn towards the collaborative nature of the PLHC, and was interested in the wide range of projects that staff here undertake. After that meeting, I knew that I wanted to apply, and was so happy to find out that I was selected for this internship!
The PLHC offered me so much support during my internship, that I know will carry on after the semester ends. Working with an encouraging and understanding team of people who have built careers in the public history world was a special and exciting experience.
I get it – when an undergrad tells an adult that they’re studying history, the common response is “what are you going to do with that, teach?” The PLHC opened doors for me that I didn’t even know existed, outside of the strictly academic field. A history degree is so beneficial when finding a career in state or national parks, city government positions, museums, public engagement, and many other outdoor, team-work oriented fields. This experience has helped me figure out possible career paths that I want to take after graduating and has shown me how fun public history can be.