Nov. 1, 2012
While searching for prospective internships over the summer, Buena Vista University student Mariana Ramirez stumbled upon an enticing online opportunity with George Mason University’s History News Network (HNN).
Upon learning that internships at HNN — an online news source that seeks to put current events into context by offering historical perspectives — can be completed remotely, Mariana submitted a resume, cover letter and writing sample. Soon after, she was offered a position as a features intern.
“I wasn’t actually looking for a semester-long internship for this academic year,” says Mariana, a junior history and Spanish double major from Schaller. “However, when I found out that this internship could be conducted online, I didn’t need much more of an incentive. Basically, if you have access to the Internet, you can do this internship!”
Within her internship role, Mariana writes research-based articles for HNN’s various segments including “Questions People are Googling,” which addresses some of the most popular and interesting historical questions that people search for via Google.
“Our media is often infiltrated by historical inaccuracies,” says Mariana. “These are especially prevalent in movies, television and the Internet which unfortunately lead our society to formulate erroneous interpretations of the past. I love knowing that my contribution, no matter how small, is helping eliminate these misconceptions.”
As part of the writing process, Mariana is first assigned a topic. After carefully researching the issue, Mariana develops an outline, writes the article, and submits it to an editor at HNN. She then makes any additional revisions suggested by the editor before the article is published to the Web site.
Since beginning her internship in September, Mariana has had two of her articles, entitled “How Did Hitler Die?” and “Did Lincoln Own Slaves?”, published on HNN. Amidst the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, Mariana is working on her next article about New York City’s past experiences with hurricanes.
“Knowing that my work has been published on HNN is very rewarding,” says Mariana. “Being a history major requires more than just being able to recite correct facts and dates. It’s an active process where we engage with the information that we encounter and fine tune our abilities to think and write like a historian. The attaining of these skills which I have been able to apply to my internship is largely due to the classes I’ve taken and the professors that have helped me along this process.”
Dr. William Feis, professor of history at BVU, was also pleased to discover that Mariana’s work had been published. “This will not only help Mariana in the future, but having her name in print will fuel the passion she already has for the history discipline. Mariana is deserving, too, because she works incredibly hard and is studying history for all the right reasons.”
“History internships are valuable because they allow students to do what historians do: research complex historical questions to find meaning, and then share those findings in a well-crafted, well-written narrative that is accessible to all,” adds Feis.
Mariana’s internship experience is also having an unanticipated impact on her career plans. “For the most part, this internship has required me to conduct research on a broad subject, analyze the quality of my information, and then condense my findings into an informative piece aimed at the general audience,” she says. “As a result, I’ve come to realize that I like being able to educate the general public. Where this will take me I am not sure yet, but I’m excited to find out!”