Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Summer Interns Offer Fresh Perspectives

For several months every summer the PA Historic Preservation Office is host to student interns, an arrangement that benefits both parties.   While the assumption is always that internships are beneficial to students, the converse is quite true as well.

The students provide not only assistance with special projects or ongoing research, but a fresh perspective on the meaning and applications of our work in the field of preservation.  Their youthful enthusiasm and energy (and generally impressive computer skills!) are most welcome and an encouraging sign that the future of historic preservation is in good hands.  For the interns of course, the summer program provides a great learning opportunity in the field of historic preservation and cultural resource management.  Two summer internship programs are offered in our office, the Keystone Internship administered by the PHMC and another managed by PENNDOT’s Environmental Policy and Development Section.    Both programs are open to undergraduate or graduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds such as anthropology,  history,  planning, architecture and historic preservation.

So, here are the summer interns of 2013!

Kate and Jesse

Kate and Jesse

Jesse Gunnels has the distinction of being the intern traveling the farthest to work in Pennsylvania this summer.  He hails from Rawlins, Wyoming, a mere 2300 miles west of here!  Jesse is pursuing a Master’s degree in Applied Archeology at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, having completed his undergraduate work in anthropology in Hawaii.   While central PA is a far cry from his home or college territory, Jesse has not suffered much cultural shock.  He has been enjoying exploring our area in his free time and taking on the challenge of data management in the CRGIS (Cultural Resource Geographical Information System) office.  Jesse is working with fellow intern Kate Dillon to make archeological report data more available to the public.  Kate is native of Middleboro, Massachusetts with a BA in Anthropology and Journalism from the University of Massachusetts and a Ph.D candidate at SUNY in Anthropology.  Kate served two years in the Peace Corps in West Africa providing instruction and assistance in agricultural practices before beginning graduate school.  Like Jesse, Kate appreciates the real life work experience in the SHPO office and the chance to do archaeological field work.  Kate is also enjoying central PA’s farmers markets and summer arts festivals.



Also working in the CRGIS section is Laurel Thompson of Wooster, Ohio.    Laurel will be a senior studying Medieval European History at Kalamazoo College in Michigan this fall.  No stranger to the academic world, Laurel has been surrounded by college professors much of her life.  Both her parents and her sister are professors (of math, psychology and biology), so it is no surprise that Laurel has some interest in a university career herself.   Laurel’s research skills and ease with the databases have made her a real asset this summer as she works to organize archaeological data from the Allegheny National Forrest.  She is also a great resource to discuss the various inconsistencies’ in the recent book and film series about the Tudors!

Katie and Audrey

Katie and Audrey

Working in the Division of Preservation Services are Katie Carver and Audrey Plummer.  Katie is a Pittsburgh and New York City native who is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Applied History at Youngstown State University in Ohio as a follow up to her BA in History from Pace University in NYC.  Katie decided to pursue historic preservation after working in advertising and as a production assistant for PBS.  She is especially interested in preservation’s role in planning and community development and loves the idea of mixing the past and the future.  Katie also has been quick to appreciate the lesser known amenities of downtown Harrisburg, like where to find the penultimate cheeseburger!  And last, but certainly not least, is Audrey Plummer of Atlanta, Georgia, who earned an architecture degree at Georgia Tech, before beginning her current dual Master’s programs in Architecture and in City and Transportation Planning.  Audrey is working on her thesis regarding the reuse and retrofitting of golf courses in the USA.  Her research into the topic is fascinating, tracking demographic trends and emerging environmental practices.  Who knew that states like Pennsylvania have an overabundance of golf courses and must find new uses for those not always sustainable greens?  Katie and Audrey are helping the Preservation Services’ staff with a number of diverse projects including: research for the South Mountain Cultural Landscape Plan; creating historic resource files for properties surveyed as part of the PA African American History Project; developing bridge success stories for web publication; developing mitigation strategies for long range transportation plans; and assisting with the Cultural Resources Essentials series – just to name a few!

The Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Office is justifiably proud of our latest crop of summer interns.  We predict you will be hearing more from all of them as they continue their studies and begin their careers in history, architecture, preservation, planning and anthropology.

1 Comment

  1. Dominic Billerwell

    Just want to say “HI” to Jesse Gunnels. He lived with me in Australia 15 years ago while being an exchange student.

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