Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Meet PA SHPO’s 2022 Interns!

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There are many things my family and I looked forward to in 2022, like seeing a movie in theater again, visiting friends in person instead of Zooming, weddings, and lots more. In the PA SHPO office, I think I can safely say that the chance to host interns again was one of the most anticipated events of the year.

Interns are a valuable part of any office. At the PA SHPO, they bring energy, work, and experiences that all of us appreciate. Because of their efforts, we’re able to make some headway on important projects and progress toward more preservation outcomes here in the Keystone State.

This year we were fortunate to hire two interns through PHMC’s Keystone Internship Program to work with our MARS (Mapping, Assistance, Resources & Survey) team. Sarah Hoffeditz was hired for the MARS Sites Survey Internship and Jacob Hockenberry was hired for the Agricultural Survey Internship. I asked them to share a little bit about themselves and their projects this summer.

Tell us a few things about yourself!

Sarah: I am a native to Pennsylvania and I have lived in the small community of Mercersburg since 5th grade. I am avid reader and my favorite short story is “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury.  I am a grade A nerd for history, photography, videography, and specifically Lord of the Rings. I have a two year old child (cat) named Darwin. I love to go for hikes and walks.

Sarah Hoffeditz with Darwin

Jacob: I am a native of Centre County, Pennsylvania and have lived in the small town of Centre Hall all my life. I’m a huge history buff and love collecting anything old related to railroads, industry, or local history. In my spare time I like to read, go to the gym, and play video games with my friends. I’m also a third-generation firefighter and volunteer with the Centre Hall Fire Company.  

Jacob Hockenberry

Where are you going to school? What are you studying and why did you choose your major?

Sarah: I am a Graduate student at Shippensburg University. I am studying Applied History with concentration of Museum Studies. I chose this major because I have always had a passion for museums big or small. Going to museums has always brought back fond memories with my family. Also, to be a part of the effort to restore, help, and promote local, national, or international history feels amazing to be a part of. 

Jacob: I recently graduated from Shippensburg University with a BA in history and a minor in political science; I also earned a certificate in geographic information systems (GIS). This fall I am headed down to Charleston, South Carolina to pursue a MS degree in historic preservation at Clemson University. I choose to further my studies in this field because of the passion I have for both history and old buildings. I believe that this field will provide me with the opportunity to draw from my studies in history and give me hands-on experience working to preserve the historic built environment.   

Can you give us a sneak peak about your projects?

Sarah: My PA SHPO project is working on surveying several of the PHMC historic sites like Landis Valley. I am collecting data about the above ground buildings and/or archaeological sites and then updating PA-SHARE with that information. 

Sarah hard at work learning Surveyor with PA SHPO staff at Landis Valley Museum in May.

Jacob: This summer I am working with PA SHPO staff to document, research, and update various aspects of the commonwealth’s agricultural history to better understand the role that it held in the state’s history, as well as facilitate its preservation in the future. Additionally, I will have the chance to evaluate an existing agricultural historic district in Lancaster County to reconsider its significance and integrity amid modern development. 

Frock-Boyer Farm, Union County.

What would you like to do as your career?

Sarah: There are several directions that I would love to take my career. I love the work I have completed thus far with the SHPO and I think it would be amazing to continue it. I also wouldn’t mind at some point becoming a director either for a non-profit or a for-profit group. Later in life I think I would like to tack on the profession of photographer to my career path.

Jacob: As for a career, I would ideally want to physically work with old structures to preserve them through documentation, research, and intervention, or help to adapt them for modern uses so that communities can admire and utilize them in the future. 

What is your favorite historic place and why?

Sarah: My favorite historic place is the Conocoheague Institute. Located in right outside of Mercersburg there is a small Colonial Frontier homestead. This location is my favorite historic place because of two things. First, I love how they focus on both the environmental history and human history during the Colonial era. Second, I am extremely proud of how far this non-profit organization has gone. They have done an amazing job promoting themselves with such limited staff. 

The Conococheague Institute, Mercersburg, Franklin County.

Jacob: I don’t necessarily have a favorite historic place in mind. Instead, I like to focus on the value of the places around me and try to envision them in a historical context. I feel that in this way I can better appreciate the changes that have taken place in an area over time. But if I had to choose a particular place, I would say that the historic farms and buildings in my home area of Penns Valley because they have been foundational in shaping my interest of the past. 

PA Route 45 near Woodward, Centre County. Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Stay tuned for more…

If you noticed, I had only asked Sarah and Jacob for a “sneak peak” about their projects for now. In August, we’ll feature a post from each of them about their projects, what they did, and what they learned.

About the Keystone Internship Program

PHMC’s Keystone Summer Internship Program is designed to provide pre-professional training to students interested in pursuing a career in history, historic preservation, or museums.  The internship is intended to be an integral part of the student’s academic training and students are encouraged, although not required, to seek credit for their internships.

Find more information about PHMC’s Keystone Internships on our website. Internship opportunities are typically advertised beginning in January or February.

Author: Shelby Weaver Splain

Shelby Weaver Splain is the Education and Special Initiatives Coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office. Shelby is a native of Bucks County and holds a Masters degree in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Historic Preservation from Goucher College.

One Comment

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  1. Thank you for the Shippensburg student Historical Preservation post.

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