Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Verrazano Senior Spends Summer at the Rockefeller Archives

Deryn Cro, a Verrazano senior majoring in History and English Literature, spent her summer interning at the Rockefeller Archive Center.  We had the chance to catch up with Deryn and learn more about her summer internship experience.

Deryn, could you tell us where you interned and a little bit about that organization?

I interned with the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  The center houses the papers of the Rockefeller family, the Rockefeller Foundation, Rockefeller University, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund along with other philanthropic instutitions such as the Common Wealth Fund and the Russell Sage Founation.

How did you find your internship?

I googled the phrase "archival internship" and it was one of the first results to pop up!

That's proof of the power of internet searches!  What was the application process like?  Were there any challenges or surprises?

The application process was pretty straight forward.  I had to submit a resume, cover letter, letter of recommendation and a transcript.  My interview was conducted over the phone which was something I had never done before.  I was able to have notes though, and I found that to be quite helpful.

Did you have any hesitations or concerns prior to starting your internship?

I had to find housing in Westchester which was somewhat challenging.  I was nervous about living with strangers, but I was able to get in touch with the other girls in the internship ahead of time.

Was your internship credit-bearing, paid, unpaid, etc.?

My internship was paid.

That's excellent!  Did your faculty advisor play any role in your internship?

My faculty advisor wrote me a letter of recommendation for the application which was very well received by the application committee.

What made you decide to choose this summer internship instead of another opportunity?

I had learned about the Rockefellers in school and was very interested to learn more about the family and their philanthropic endeavors.  Unlike other programs I was looking at, this one also offered guest lectures, a mentoring portion, talks with RAC employees and trips to many other archiving institutions.  I also liked the idea of traveling to some place I had never been before.

Were there any additional benefits to your internship?

I was able to visit many places connected to the Rockefellers and other collections of the RAC.  I also got to attend a summer picnic at Kykuit, the Rockefeller mansion in Tarrytown!

It sounds like you really got to explore another part of New York State this summer.  Could you describe a typical day at your internship?

My schedule changed day to day depending on the events or lectures they had scheduled.  I generally arrived at 9:00 a.m. and would work on my project for most of the day.  Twice a week at 10:00 a.m. I attended talks by guests or archivists who worked at the archive center.  These talks ranged from discussions on archival practices and the field to topics related to the Rockefellers.

What was most unique or interesting about your internship experience?  Is there anything that stands out as your reflect on your time at the internship?

For me it was the collections I worked with and the artifacts I got to see.  I processed the collection for Nobel Prize winner Max Theiler which included his Nobel Prize!  I was also able to see a piece of John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s wedding cake.  They keep it in an unassuming box in one of the vaults.

That sounds fascinating.  Did your internship relate at all to your undergraduate studies or your future goals?

I am currently applying to Master of Library Science and Information Science (MLIS) programs with a concentration in Archival Studies.  This internship allowed me to gain valuable experience and network within the field.

Deryn, thank you so much for sharing your summer experience with us.  We wish you the best for your senior year!

For more information on internships at the Rockefeller Archive Center, please visit:

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