History Internship

How My Internship Gave Me Confidence

Heather WilliamsonNews, Sciences

The University of Mobile has helped shape me not only for my career goals but also for my personal aspirations. I have taken so many diverse courses within history and education that I was fully equipped to fall into a role I had only dreamed of. I was able to come to this conclusion after taking an internship.

My spring semester has been full of this growth, personally and professionally. I am a history education major and I was given the opportunity of interning in the education department at the History Museum of Mobile. That internship impacted my undergrad experience tremendously.

My requirements for the internship were six-hour shifts every Tuesday and Thursday. I helped with classroom activities such as West-African masks, marbled paper, and quill pen writing.

I helped with the museum’s African American music festival, where 500 local school students were housed to learn the sound of pain transformed into triumph. I gave tours of the Ancient Rome Exhibit to visitors from pre-kindergarten to college-aged. I was also given the task of creating lesson plans for an upcoming exhibit.

I gave tours to hundreds of people… me. You may wonder why someone who is becoming a teacher is so shocked they provided information to many people at once, but the truth is throughout my life, I have always been crippled by shyness.

This shyness caused me to become a scripted-perfectionist, yet this internship took away my fear of off-script presentation and allowed me to feel incredibly authentic within my role. I gave my first tour on my fifth day at the museum and I didn’t expect it to happen so fast, but I left my comfort zone and went for it. My third tour is a story I will never forget. After finishing my tour, a group of parents walked up to me and one woman said, “How long have you been working here?” and I said,” I am actually just an intern, but this is my fourth week here.” The woman said, “What are you studying?” and I replied, “History education, my goal is to be a teacher,” and she said,” I am so glad you said that because I was going to tell you that I felt your calling was teaching, please continue that path.” That woman left a compliment for the head of my department.

This full-circle moment left me with nothing but the biggest thanks to the University of Mobile. I felt incredibly complete in that moment, a history education major partaking in public history who was told my skills had translated over to my work.

In the moments at the history museum, my education courses provided me with the skill of relaying information that welcomes student involvement, even if I’m giving a tour. The School of Education at UM has given me a large range of opportunities to work with students from all different backgrounds and types of schools, and this proved to be very valuable when creating connections on my tours.

I was able to take global knowledge and create a personal story for each visitor.

The University of Mobile allowed me to walk into a building with 11,000 years of history, fully prepared.