Oral History & Program Evaluation Intern

The need for preserving all of our nation’s history has never been greater, we’re counting on you! HBCUI (Historically Black Colleges and Universities Internship) DHA Program is an 11-week summer experience brought to you by Greening Youth Foundation in partnership with the U.S. National Park Service. As a part of HBCUI, students from schools around the country are putting their unique skills and talents to work in preserving the contributions of African Americans to our nation’s history and culture. Participants gain real world, on-the-job experience as they explore federal careers in the U.S. National Park Service.
Position Title: Oral History & Program Evaluation Intern
NPS Unit Name: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Harpers Ferry, WV
Position Dates: May 21 – August 3, 2018
Direct Hiring Authority Resource Assistant:
The DHA Resource Assistant internship (DHA-RA) is a unique internship opportunity within the Department of the Interior (DOI). The objective is to build a pathway to employment in the DOI for exemplary students in higher education.  DHA-RA interns will apply content expertise to NPS management and build a network with federal employees throughout the internship. These rigorous internships require specialized expertise and typically are available to upper level undergraduate or graduate students or recent graduates. The internships are designed to develop the participant’s technical and creative thinking abilities, leadership skills, and problem-solving capabilities.  DHA-RA interns will receive a weekly stipend of $480, park-provided housing or a housing allowance, and paid travel expenses.  Successful completion of the internship does not guarantee that the participant will be hired in to a federal position.

In order to be eligible for a DHA–RA Internship, applicants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent legal resident (“green-card-holder”) and enrolled or within one year of graduating from an institution of higher education.  

DHA-RA interns who successfully complete the internship requirements become eligible for 2 years from the date of their degree to be non-competitively hired by the Department of Interior.
Position Description:    
The goal of this Internship is to attract diverse applicants to the field of public history in the NPS. Visitors take cues from the race and gender of interpreters on the front line in our parks on a daily basis. This individual would work with the park Living History and Historic Trades branch to create a more diverse front line Living History experience. The Intern would be fully trained in and would utilize third person interpretation methods to integrate African American & Immigration History into all park themes through Formal and Informal Interpretation. Intern would receive a holistic Interpretive experience and training, and would live and work in Harpers Ferry NHP, being fully immersed in its history and fully supportive by park staff and park resources. A significant goal of this Internship is to conduct NPS approved, best methods and practices, using oral history interviews, completed on the park’s diverse living history volunteer corp. Based on the responses to the oral histories, the park would be able to determine how to offer multiple perspective public engagement programs through the NPS ACE [Audience Centered Experience]. The oral histories would generate possible recommendations to improve the park’s front line interpretation culture in order to make the park’s program more attractive and welcoming to diverse candidates. In the past, we have heard from Intern candidates of diverse backgrounds that they are intimidated by the rural nature of the park, and are afraid to come to a place like West Virginia. While we know that the eastern panhandle of WV is generally more welcoming to diverse populations than more rural areas of the state, we realize that if this is an assumption of our Youth and Intern applicants, it is something we must work to address. We feel that this Intern would be of great value in updating our Internship program marketing efforts and the overall intern experience to be more attractive, welcoming, and supportive of diverse individuals.
 The Intern would be expected to create and facilitate Critical Issues Public Engagement Programs that match diverse resource meanings with diverse audience perspectives. For example, applicants will conduct programs on Civil War to Civil Rights. These are topics that can be difficult to navigate with visitors who have strong feelings, but they are necessary discussions and a great method of using facilitated dialogue. This is one of the many new directions that Interpretation in the NPS is taking right now, and we see this as a perfect method of testing it out. This individual would bring great value to increasing the diversity of our front line operations. We feel this will enhance the Interpretive experience for all visitors, while making visitors of color feel better represented and more welcome in our park because of it. With Harpers Ferry's powerful history and ties related to the Civil War, Civil Rights Movement, NAACP, Niagara Movement, HBCU history of Storer College, and more, we feel strongly that it is an ideal place and atmosphere for this type of experiential learning Internship.
Weeks 1-3: Intern would be welcomed to the park, move into park housing, attend a Park Intern Orientation with their peers (other Summer Interns and Volunteers). Intern would be given a tour of all park areas, buildings, and would be introduced to staff and volunteers. Intern would receive books and articles to read as training, and would job-shadow park Interpreters on specific types of Interpretive skills and program development and delivery. Intern would be provided time to attend park programs & events as part of training.
Weeks 4-7: Intern would be conducting oral history projects, including research related to development of new park programs. Intern works directly with Living History and Historic trades staff and experts to develop and deliver daily and weekend special events and programs, wearing period clothing. Intern meets with other Interns and staff to assess how the Internship program can be more welcoming to diverse candidates. Intern will assist in development and execution of special historic trades themed workshops.
Weeks 8-10: Intern develops recommendations, based on oral histories from diverse living history volunteers, for Internship Program improvements. Intern does final work on development of Interpretive programs and projects. Intern continues to serve as frontline Interpretive living history interpreter, staffing exhibits and presenting Interpretive programs to the public.
Week 11: Intern submits and presents final assessment and
recommendations for how Internship program can be more welcoming to diverse populations moving forward. Intern presents final Interpretive products and makes recommendations for future Living History programs and events. Professional development support is provided by staff and followed up on by Supervisor and Intern Coordinator post-internship.
Learning Goals:
The Intern will learn a diverse set of Interpretive, Living History, and historic trades skills. The Intern will gain improved public speaking skills, and will gain ease interacting with the public during programs and special events. Intern will gain skills in the research, planning, and execution of Interpretive programs, workshops, and special events. Intern will come away with a better understanding of the Civil War, Civil Rights history, and the John Brown Raid. Intern will have a strong understanding of how NPS units operate, and the value of modern Interpretive techniques in education the public and encouraging meaningful reflection and discussion of controversial but important historical events and themes. The Intern will gain an in-depth knowledge of how to professionally conduct oral history interviews.

  • Current study or recent graduate with a degree or concentration in one of the following fields is preferred: History, Music, Communications, Theater, Art, or Political Science. An interest in Civil War, Civil Rights, or HBCU history is beneficial.
  • Public Speaking skills, strong oral and written communication skills, research, and strong writing. Also a plus (but not required) are: historic trades, baking, or sewing skills.
  • The individual must be comfortable interacting with the public on a daily basis.
  • The individual must be willing to wear period clothing and do third person interpretation for park programs. Music skills (piano/organ or voice, ability to read music) are highly desirable, but not required.
Additional qualifications:
  • Must be currently enrolled in an accredited HBCU institution
  • Must be between 18 and 35 years of age
  • Must be U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident or U.S. national
  • Must be able to pass a federal background check
Work Environment:
The work environment will be a mix of field and office work, with an emphasis on front line Interpretation work in the field. Intern would be working in a variety of settings, including in museum exhibits, historic buildings and offices within, and outside in the elements. Intern would be required to wear period clothing in warm temperatures outdoors.
Vehicle/License Requirement:
It is strongly recommended that the Intern possess a valid driver's license and bring a personal vehicle. This is recommended for both professional and personal reasons. A vehicle is required to be able to drive to the grocery store and other amenities.  Intern must have a valid state driver's license in order to operate a government vehicle.
Compensation and Benefits:
  • Compensation is at a rate of $440 per week ($12/hour)
  • Shared Park Housing is available, offered in apartment or dormitory style. Intern may be required to share a bedroom and common living spaces. Housing is located in lower town historic Harpers Ferry, very close to the program office, outdoors spaces, and exhibits that the Intern will be working in. Housing has A/C and a fully stocked kitchen, and is fully furnished. TV and internet is not provided, but may be purchased and shared with other Interns/housing residents for a small fee.
  • Attend the all-expense paid Leadership & Careers Workshop in Washington, D.C. in August
  • Qualify for federal non-compete hiring after meeting service requirements
  • Make a difference in your local community and beyond
Application Instructions:
Interested students should apply directly to this position via the SERVE job portal at: www.serve.gyfoundation.org
For more information about HBCUI visit www.hbcui.gyfoundation.org. QUESTIONS? Contact us at hbcui@gyfoundation.org.
Greening Youth Foundation (GYF, www.gyfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization whose mission is to nurture environmental stewardship among diverse youth and young adults, while exposing them to conservation careers.
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