Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Meet the 2015 Summer Interns

Some of the 2015 PA SHPO interns check out the Mid-Century design elements in the State Museum.

Some of the 2015 PA SHPO interns check out the Mid-Century design elements in the State Museum.

The PA SHPO provides opportunities for interested college students to work as interns in our office throughout the year, but summer always brings a crop of fresh faces.  Our summer interns are participants in either the PHMC Keystone Internship Program or the PENNDOT sponsored summer internship program in cultural resource management.

Summer 2015 interns at the PA SHPO include:

Madison Ramsey of Huntingdon County is a rising junior at Lycoming College pursuing a BA in Anthropology and Archeology.  She has been intrigued by archeology since childhood and her interest in the field was confirmed by an introductory cultural anthropology course at college. Madison was drawn to the Keystone Internship Program by the opportunity to explore career options in a work setting. She is working on a project for the Allegheny National Forest to research and document the location of the 1779 Battle of Thompson’s Island, the only Revolutionary War battle in northwest Pennsylvania. In addition to her internship duties, Madison is off to a busy summer learning to navigate Harrisburg’s public transportation system and working as a server for a caterer at local weddings.

Kaitlyn Coleman of Williamstown will be a junior in the fall at Messiah College where she has a dual major in History and English Writing and a minor in Public Relations. Her student internship has been helpful in satisfying her college requirement for experiential learning and providing a window into possible history related careers.  Some of the knowledge she will acquire this summer – like competence with the CRGIS mapping system — will assist in her future classes.  Like Madison, she is working on the Battle of Thompson Island project, but also will be working on researching and preparing a National Register nomination for the Irvine Estate.  Kaitlyn’s hobbies include photography and digital editing—useful skills in our line of work!

Jonathan Seitz

Johnathan Seitz

Johnathan Seitz of Mechanicsburg is a rising junior at Washington College in Chestertown, MD with a dual major in History and Anthropology.  He is no stranger to the PHMC having served as a volunteer in the State Museum Archeology Lab for several years processing artifacts for the permanent collection.  Johnathan has also gained valuable experience through participation at field schools in Trappe, PA and Chestertown, MD, collecting historic archeological data.   This summer Johnathan will be working with structural historians at the PA SHPO to assemble a list of organizations, groups or individuals with an interest in preservation issues. This information will become part of a searchable database to identify interested parties for the project review consultation process and other public outreach efforts. Such a list will be helpful to our own office and to other state and federal agencies seeking public input on the impact of federal and state projects on historic buildings, districts or landscapes and archeological sites in their communities.

Evan Robinson is originally from Connecticut, but is currently pursuing a MA degree in Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey.  Prior to his post graduate studies Evan completed a BA in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. As an undergraduate he was fortunate to participate in some fascinating archeological investigations during a field school in Peru.  His strong interest in cultural resource management led him straight to the PENNDOT sponsored summer internship at the PA SHPO.  This summer he is working on updating archeological survey reports in the PA SHPO CRGIS (Cultural Resource Geographic Information System) and testing the online predictive mapping of archeologically sensitive areas throughout the state.  (This PA SHPO predictive model for archeological resources will be shared with the public later this year.)    Evan has made the adjustment to Harrisburg easily, but he notes it is the farthest south he has ever lived.  (For those of us who survived another cold winter here, it is hard to imagine our area qualifies as the south, but as with all things, it is all relative!)

Maegan Ferry hails from Hillsborough, NJ and is currently enrolled in a master’s program in Geoenvironmental Studies at Shippensburg University where she received a BS in the same field of study.  Maegan was drawn to her major due to its multidisciplinary focus, encompassing elements of biology, geology, hydrology, physical and cultural geography, hydrology and planning. She enjoyed putting her skills to use last summer at a field school in the Atacama Desert and Andes Mountains of northern Chile under the guidance of her college advisor.  Maegan is working with Evan on the archeological predictive model mapping project and mapping and digitizing information for inclusion in the CRGIS.  Her PENNDOT internship has proven useful to her studies by introducing her to a new set of software tools to manage environmental data. Having spent several years in the south central PA, Maegan has had ample opportunities to explore the area’s many public parks and trails.  Living so close to the Appalachian Trail (a scenic 2,180 mile footpath extending through the Appalachian Mountains from Maine to Georgia) is a reward in itself!

Andrea Sowle

Andrea Sowle

Andrea Sowle is a native of historic Auburn, Indiana (home of the Duesenberg Museum for antique car aficionados) and is currently a graduate student in the MS in Historic Preservation program at Ball State University in Muncie, IN.  Andrea received her BA in History from Indiana University in Bloomington and learned of the PENNDOT internship program by attending the 2014 National Trust Conference in Savannah, GA.  This summer she is working to analyze, evaluate and coordinate survey data on historic bridges in PA.  Andrea is appreciative of the opportunity to work with two state agencies and gain multiple perspectives on cultural resource management and the field of historic preservation.  She hopes to take advantage of her time in PA by visiting two fabulous properties, Fallingwater in Mill Run and Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square.

Elizabeth Shultz, is currently pursuing a MA in Preservation Studies at Tulane University in Louisiana and is the only intern making a repeat appearance at the PA SHPO this summer. Elizabeth was a THIS (The Harrisburg Internship Semester) intern in 2014 while she was a Public History student at Lock Haven University.  The THIS program provides  outstanding students  in all academic majors at the 14 state owned universities in the PASSHE system an opportunity  to spend a semester in Harrisburg working in the executive or legislative branches of PA government or with independent boards, agencies and commissions.  Elizabeth’s first positive intern experience at the PA SHPO led her to return as a PENNDOT program intern. During her first internship Elizabeth researched the Hosanna Church on the campus of Lincoln University.  This summer she is working with Andrea Sowle to integrate information gathered on historic PA bridges.  When Elizabeth returns to Tulane she plans to continue work on her thesis analyzing the economic effects of tourism based short term rentals on community revitalization.  Clearly, while Elizabeth notes the benefit of her time at the PA SHPO to her developing career, her contribution to our office and that of all the interns is substantial.

Internship programs have long been a win/win opportunity at the PHMC with students benefiting from exposure to careers in public history and mentors gaining critical help for key projects from skilled scholars. Internships are integral to the much needed youth outreach efforts in our field which will hopefully help to create the next generation of historic preservationists or supporters of historic communities and resources.

1 Comment

  1. Lynn S. Warner

    My parents, L. Joseph and Evelyn Skinner have the sheep skin from King George to the Penn brothers in 1755. A log house and barn were built west of the Manada creek. The year 1842 is noted in the barn.

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