Category Archives: Internships

Alumni reflecting on MAPH Internships

My MAPH Internship Experience — Newberry Library, by Ikumi Crocoll

A Summer at the Newberry

Ikumi Crocoll

I had been looking forward to the summer internships since I started MAPH. There are, of course, many amazing organizations to work with, but, as someone with a previous library degree, I had my eye on the Newberry Library from the start. My summer experience there did not disappoint and was fulfilling in unexpected ways.

NewberryI worked specifically with the archives at the Newberry. While I had done some prior coursework and volunteering in archives, I did not have a great deal of processing experience (basically, arranging and describing papers and records in an archival setting), something pretty important if one wants to become an archivist (while I am still exploring career options, this is one of them). Most of my work at the Newberry revolved around processing two Midwestern collections: the William Edward Parsons Papers and the Elbert Ozial Taylor Papers.

Parsons was a Chicago architect, who specialized in city planning. He worked on plans for cities from Detroit to Manila. You might also recognize his work in Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain. Elbert Ozial Taylor, on the other hand, was a minister who became a national temperance lecturer. He was also a graduate of the University of Chicago. Unfortunately, most of the materials do not deal with the sins of alcohol, but they do give a sense of how Taylor thought through his sermons and perhaps a key to his philosophical and spiritual origins prior to his prohibitionist calling. Working with these collections gave me historical insight into figures, time periods, areas, and vocations of which I had little knowledge, especially revealing some facets of the Midwest in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Deciding how to organize items (knowing that there is not just one way!) proved challenging, and the entire process of getting a collection ready for public consumption often took a long time. However, I felt excited and proud to see the final products of my efforts: the papers neatly organized and labeled and a finding aid available online so that people could start requesting the documents immediately.

IkumiOne of the aspects I appreciated the most about this internship – in addition to the experience of working at such a prestigious library, of course – was the amazing people with whom I had the opportunity to work. Right from the interview, I knew that the staff were warm, funny, friendly people. They helped me in terms of my daily tasks and by giving me career advice. Furthermore, they have allowed me to stay on as a volunteer since the summer ended and have continued to be incredibly supportive of my endeavors to get a job in libraries/archives. I also had the privilege of working with one other MAPH person and a few other grad students, a lovely group of people with whom I could discuss work or enjoy gelato. These are people I still consider friends.

Naturally, there are many perks to working at a great library like the Newberry, and I would feel strange not at least mentioning some of those that one might expect. Toward the end of the summer, we (the archives interns) were taken to the vault to see (and touch!) some of the rarest and most valuable items that the Newberry owns. Highlights included an Oscar (I did get a picture holding it), a signed Chopin piece, a Thomas Jefferson letter, and a Shakespeare first folio. There were also various sessions designed just for interns on getting to know the Newberry’s resources, as well as weekly colloquia that we were encourage to attend, during which various scholars and librarians would present some aspect of research based on the resources they had found at the Newberry. Basically, we had the opportunity to see how incredible the Newberry is for humanities work.

As I mentioned before, not all was fun and games; processing, in particular, could take a great deal of work and patience. Sometimes you had to label and stamp hundreds of folders; sometimes you had to sort through many, many photographs without really knowing the subjects. The list of time-consuming tasks could continue on and on. Yet this was also an internship that exposed me to the Newberry’s approach to archival processing (both similar and not entirely the same to what I had experienced elsewhere), interesting historical documents, thought-provoking research, wonderful people, and, of course, a stand-out humanities library. I am exceedingly grateful for this. And yes, still hopeful that this work will somehow help me find a job.

My MAPH Internship Experience — MAKE Literary Magazine, by Alessandra Stamper

Last summer, Alessandra Stamper (MAPH ’15) interned at MAKE Literary Magazine. Here’s her insight into working for a small, creative non-profit, and the perks that came with the job!

Alessandra writes:

Interning for MAKE Literary Magazine has given me an insight into the local, independent literary community in Chicago. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know too much about it before working for them, and am thus very grateful that I got the position. Not only did I learn about the literary community in Chicago, I also learned about what it’s like to work for a non-profit. I had worked for non-profits before, but on a larger scale. MAKE, although prominent, is comprised of a small staff, so for me it was interesting to see how such a small staff can put together such a splendid product. The two people I worked with were very intellectually curious, which made it a pleasant working relationship; not to mention fun, as my interview took place at a coffee shop in Logan Square, I got to hang out with them at Pitchfork Music Festival (for free!), and our subsequent meetings were at cool restaurants in Logan Square.


MAKE’s booth at Pitchfork music festival in summer 2015

My primary duty was to post stories from previous issues on the website. Ideally these posts tied in with the theme of the upcoming issue, which is Archive. I felt like my input was valued, as I was able to suggest which stories I thought we should post. Once a story was decided upon, I copy edited the electronic version with the paper issue and entered it into the WordPress website. I also uploaded pictures and reached out to the author and or artist for updated bios to include in the post. I was responsible for creating content for the social media posts to advertise the web posts, which included Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. For the Instagram, I also took pictures around the city and paired them with a few lines from a poem or work of fiction or nonfiction from an issue, which was a really fun, creative project.

The content that I worked with was interesting, which was great for me because I felt like my intellectual curiosity from graduate school carried over in to the internship. This is a perfect internship for those interested in working in the magazine or literary world, but it’s also really fun and interesting even if that’s not necessarily a desired career path.

Current MAPHers can see the list of internships available this summer here.

Meet an Alum- Alissa Smith (MA ’12)


Check out this interview with Alissa Smith, who graduated from MAPH in 2012. Since MAPH, Alissa has worked in the nonprofit sector and speaks about her experiences in MAPH and how they lead her to her current position.

What is your current job?

I currently serve as the Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager for City Year Denver. City Year is a nonprofit organization with 25 sites across the country and three international affiliates.  While the title is relatively self-explanatory, it essentially means that I build and cultivate relationships between City Year and its work in schools and corporate and foundation partners in the community.

How does your job relate to MAPH? Do you see connections between MAPH and where you are now?

SO MUCH of my current role relates back to the work I did with MAPH…surprising since my MAPH focus was actually in Philosophy! City Year is one of the premier organizations working in the education space – AmeriCorps members between the ages of 17 and 24 commit an entire year to working full-time in underresourced, underperforming public schools, supporting teachers and administrators as tutors and mentors to ensure students reach graduation on-track and on-time. Continue reading

EdTech: Emily Schickli(’14) on her Internship with PinkThink

Instead of writing about my experience as the MAPH-sponsored Programs and Partnerships Intern at the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) this summer, I thought I would share a second, unique-to-UChicago opportunity that I enjoyed.

3dfb3b_293956c7244148199d4024b6214245cb.png_srz_p_78_78_75_22_0.50_1.20_0In addition to interning at IHC, I worked as a content writer/editor for PinkThink, a startup formed in 2013 by Booth student Makeda Ricketts, and found the experience both rewarding and helpful for figuring out my career path. 

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Brandie Madrid (’14) on her MAPH Internship

best-of-chicagoAfter I graduated high school in ’99 in the Chicago suburbs, I moved to Chicago proper where there was simply more happening in terms of art, music, and culture. I would frequent thrift and vintage stores like Ragstock and Hollywood Mirror, where alternative magazines like Lumpen and Newcity exposed me to communist politics and early Chris Ware comics, respectively. To me, Newcity was everything urban and alternative, and as my new local magazine, it heralded a big change from the suburban newspapers touting the local high school band’s achievements. Years later, when I saw a MAPH internship for Newcity, my heart skipped a beat. Surely if I could intern for such an established, long-running magazine (25 years and counting), I would be a part of something important, gaining knowledge about publishing and Chicago alike.

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Hannah on History: 2014 MAPH History Museum Internship

From day one of the program, my fellow MAPHers and I were told about the coveted MAPH Internships and what great opportunities they offered upon graduation; just nine months away! I was eager to apply to these internships (indeed I planned on applying to ALL of them; I had jobs on my mind from the beginning!) yet as coursework began I found myself absolutely absorbed in my fascinating classes and my priorities changed. Continue reading

Moments that Make a Museum: Mike O’Malley (’14) on his Internship with the Smart Museum

“That’s my claim to fame,” he said. “I took Frida Kahlo to the movies.”
2007_0170pIt was 1937. Leon Despres, Chicago alderman and activist, was visiting Mexico, sitting on a couch chatting in French with Diego Rivera while the artist painted a portrait of Despres’s wife, Marian. “I sat there in the morning while he painted her. Then we had lunch. He needed two hours more to finish the portrait, and I didn’t want to sit there any longer.” Diego Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo, happened to be hanging around the residence that day with nothing much to do, so Despres took her to the theater to see the film La Kermesse Héroïque, a French romantic comedy.

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Continued Education in Chicago: Ellen Mueller (’14) on her Internship with The Odyssey Project

ODY_0I began the Odyssey Project internship knowing its reputation for being a choose-your-own adventure process and an exercise in multitasking. I left the summer feeling like the internship had transformed in ways I never had imagined.

Unlike the interns before me, I didn’t teach a class as part of my summer internship, but I was, instead, more involved with the inner workings of the Odyssey Project concerning preparations for a new group of students and getting ready for another year of the program. While some of the work involved typical “intern” tasks like printing posters, folding, cutting, stapling, answering phone calls, and mailing applications, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the freedom I was given to create my own workload and choose an internship trajectory that fit my interests.

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Learning How to Read with Browne & Miller: Emily Nordling on her MAPH Internship

Fine-Arts-BuildingBefore my internship with Browne and Miller Literary Associates, I had glimpsed the world of publishing from a few different angles. However, from my first day setting foot in the historic Fine Arts building in downtown Chicago, I discovered that my work as writer, editor, and reviewer barely gleaned the surface of this vast and rapidly changing industry.

Researching and preparing weekly reports on digital publishing introduced me to conflicts I may have otherwise ignored, whose ideas and outcomes will inevitably change the face of publishing. B&M’s agents (Danielle Egan-Miller, Joanna MacKenzie, and Abby Saul) and assistant (Molly Foltyn) were eager to share their experiences, putting the ideas I was learning squarely into their real life context. For instance: Continue reading

Constant Discoveries: Eileen Truong (’14) on the MAPH Internship at Newberry Library


If you ever find yourself doing archival research (which—thesis, so most likely yes), you’ll probably come across these nifty things called finding aids. They provide background information on the subject, tell you what you can find in the particular collection and where to find it.

I used them during my thesis research and blessed the magical person who put it together without really giving it much thought of how they were created. But this summer at the Newberry Library, that all changed. Continue reading