Farewell to Summer 2016 Scholar-Intern: Hana Goldstein
It’s hard to believe that my time at the AGS headquarters has come to an end. I couldn’t be anymore grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned and all the open doors this opportunity has provided me. I will never forget the moment I walked in the office and saw the endless amount of atlases lining the bookcases surrounding the office. At that point forward, I knew this internship was the perfect fit for me.
As an intern at AGS, I didn’t have the typical responsibilities one might expect from an internship experience. Here at the headquarters, I took on a wide range of duties which really helped me feel like I had a truly meaningful role at this historic organization. My responsibilities ranged from researching and interviewing, to writing company, non-profit and councilor spotlights, to social media management and improving our websites, nothing can quite describe just how rich of an experience this has been for me.
My experience here has reinforced my strong passion and desire to continue studying within the field of geography. AGS has helped me develop invaluable academic and professional skills that I will continue to apply to my future studies and wherever else my journey takes me. But if I had to choose one thing I learned that I’ll be taking away from this experience, it would be the importance in spreading geographic literacy and awareness everywhere. This means placing greater emphasis in formal geographic education in order for people to better understand how we are spatially interconnected living in one world together.
I have to take a moment to thank John and Anastasia for acting as such incredible support systems, creating a friendly work environment, but most importantly, for making this summer a memorable one never to forget. I look forward to seeing what the future set of interns gain from this experience and hope they enjoy it just as much as I did.
Thank you, AGS, for the unforgettable experience and the incredible people I have met along the way.
Written by Hana Goldstein (8/11/16)
Spring 2016: Emma Hayward and Kathleen Emerson
My time here at AGS has flown by! When I first walked into the office this past January I felt nervous and overwhelmed. Five months later I am sad to be leaving.
From company and non-profit spotlights, to councilor interviews and write-ups, to social media management, and geography-themed events, I cannot believe how lucky I am to have had these experiences. John, Ana, and Selene place a great amount of trust in the interns, and I am proud to say I have done my best during my time here.
To have the opportunity to work with such a historic organization has been a pleasure and a thrill. I will miss getting lost in the books, maps, atlases, and artifacts that adorn the AGS office.
I cannot thank AGS enough for this experience, and I promise, someday I will be back to sign the Fliers and Explorers’ Globe!
So long and thank you AGS!
What a wonderful experience at AGS! Over the course of this past semester, not only has AGS cultivated my knowledge and interest in Geography and the role it plays in our everyday lives, but I was also granted me the opportunity to develop a number of professional and academic skills that I will carry forth as I graduate from Hunter College and continue my journey.
I am extremely proud and excited about the website that Emma and I developed over the course of this internship. On our last day at AGS, we launched Connect 2 Conserve, a website dedicated to conservation. This was a special project done in collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to invite discussion about the impact of wildlife conservation efforts worldwide, especially as they are connected in relation to a geospatial and geographical context. The project stemmed off a joint-forum, “Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of Illegal Wildlife Trade,” held by AGS, IFAW and the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation held in Washington D.C. in March. I’m also thankful for the opportunity we had to meet Dr. Parag Khanna and many of the other AGS Councilors at the AGS hosted dinner event for the release of Dr. Khanna’s new book, Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization. I was especially thrilled to meet Dr. Khanna after interviewing him for our Councilor Spotlight page.
I am sad to be leaving such a meaningful, passionate, and historic organization. My time here with Emma, Ana, John and Selene was invaluable. I will miss being in our cozy and quiet office with the plethora of books, atlases, maps, magazines, artifacts and photos that I could get lost in for hours! I am very thankful for my time and experience at AGS and am looking forward to see and hear about all the great geography and geospatial themed events and partnerships that will be developed in the future. First and foremost, I’m looking forward to the 2016 Geography 2050 Symposium this November! With that, I wish AGS and the new interns the best of luck.
Autumn 2015: Jesse Miller and Timur Pozhidaev
What a blessing it was to work in the American Geographical Society (AGS) the autumn of 2015 and beginning of winter 2016! As the oldest Geographical organization in the Western Hemisphere, AGS has much to offer to the one who is interested in traditional geography as well as both global and regional contemporary geographical trends.
During the fall semester the interns had an opportunity to work with the emerging companies of geography-oriented sector, including GIS, human geography, remote sensing, human trafficking, ecological, conversational and many other commercial and not-for-profit companies. It was very helpful to implement our geographical skills both technical and humanitarian to update AGS website with daily articles ‘Company Spotlight’, ‘Nonprofit Spotlight’, ‘Council News’, and ‘Map of the Week’. Another useful responsibility was to update social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and UBIQUE) with the latest geography-related news and apprises. This duty helped us to stay informed and enlarge our common geo-knowledge, as well as being able to stay multitasking.
Throughout the fall symposium “Geography 2050” we were introduced to event-planning procedures, including keeping up presenters’ database, creating flyers, distributary materials as well as community outreach techniques by the ways of using social media tools. The event itself helped the participants to expand their professional networks, with the opportunity to find a potential career path.
The most important element that AGS offered the Scholar-Intern is to work with very talented people inside the office: the Executive Director Dr. John Konarski III, Community Outreach Manger Ms. Selene Lawrence, Scholar-Intern Mr. Jesse Miller, and Volunteer Ms. Sophie Collings, as well as some AGS’s Councils and members. During the free of work times we had key discussions about central geographical problems,including interesting political trends, news and discourses from various points of view.
AGS had great past and greater future, all the best wishes to AGS members, councils and staff!
Written by Timur Pozhidaev, 1/5/2016
A Summer in Brooklyn Heights with AGS
As a sophomore in the Geographic Science major, I knew that I wanted to intern at a geographic organization. When I found the American Geographical Society, I knew it would be a great opportunity. When I got to the office and saw that I would be sitting at Isaiah Bowman’s desk surrounded by bookshelves with material ranging from Green Metropolis to the first Geographical Review from 1916, I felt like I was in the right place. Coming in I was not sure what this would entail, but it was exciting.
In the office I worked with the other intern, Christopher Ewell, and volunteer, Sophie Collings, to create maps of the week, find intriguing articles, and keep our social media pages up to date. Selene Lawrence introduced us to the organization and showed us around what we would be doing. Throughout the summer we wrote almost 200 spotlights on companies that are innovative and spread geography to the public. We spotlighted some not-for-profits, and highlighted councilors as well. Learning about these companies and not-for-profits not only helped the readers, but it helped me learn about the variety of directions that I can go in my career. While talking to the councilors I found myself becoming more and more interested in their studies and expanding my options even more.
Throughout the summer I worked on other projects. I worked with WordPress a lot to help enhance the website and add features such as an Affiliate Forum. Christopher and I spent many weeks creating and perfecting a presentation for the Executive Director, John Konarski, to open the Fall Symposium, Geography 2050. This presentation has helped me learn that geography exists in more than academia and research. Geography lives within public policy, business, not-for-profits, and every-day life.
This summer has taught me many different things about the broad subject of Geography. I am excited to go back to school and share what I have learned and allow it to help guide my future in the field. Thank you AGS for a great summer in New York!
A Spatial Summer at AGS
My name is Christopher Ewell, I’m going to be a senior at New York University, and I’m an International Relations and Environmental Studies double major. I chose to intern at the American Geographical Society because I wanted to work on analyzing and promoting awareness of how people and the environment are interconnected. This internship gave me the opportunity to undertake independent research on groundbreaking developments in geography and efforts to solve global issues, learn how to effectively present this information to the public and stakeholders, and hopefully get them to act in the best interest of our planet. AGS’s role as an intermediary between business, academia, and policy allowed me to see how global issues are approached from various perspectives, from entrepreneurial start-ups to government actors, and communicate with each of them in a professional setting. I’m planning on pursuing a career researching and addressing large-scale global crises, such as climate change and sustainable ocean governance, which will require collaboration between different countries and people. The experiences I gained at AGS in public relations and networking with regards to these issues will hopefully allow me to determine where and how I can make the best impact through my career.
I was responsible for expanding and updating AGS’s media presence by writing articles on current issues in Geography, posting interesting news, updating the website, and using mapping software to create a “Map of the Week”. Most frequently I wrote articles called Company Spotlights that featured a company doing innovative geographic or geospatial work, and reached out to the company for a quote, letting them know AGS is spotlighting them with the hopes of building geographic business memberships. I also wrote blogs on topics of my own choosing, such as the “new ocean” that has formed in the Arctic due to climate change-induced ice melt and the resulting international governance debates. Additionally, I attended conferences as an AGS staff member such as State of the Map and Capitol Hill Ocean Week in Washington D.C. to interview key individuals about their work and build a network for AGS. My main learning objectives were to build writing, technological data-analysis, mapping, and professional communication skills in ways that can successfully engage the public, funders, and decision-makers in the environmental and social issues of our globalized world, all of which I believe I achieved during my internship.
I enjoyed my time at AGS very much, and I’m excited to continue learning and involving myself in the field of Geography. The incredible and close-knit team at the office made the experience both enjoyable and intellectually challenging. I hope to return to AGS in November to attend the Geography 2050 Symposium and further interact with the inspiring people who are working towards building a better future. More than anything this internship has taught me the importance of thinking globally and thinking spatially, and helped me recognize that the field of Geography can and needs to be applied almost everywhere in order to make critical decisions regarding the fate of our planet and its people.
A Year in Brooklyn Heights with AGS
As a Human Geographer with a huge passion for geography, mapping and exploring the physical and social world, the opportunity to be part of the oldest geographical organization in the U.S. was an exhilarating prospect. I grew up being totally enamored with the AGS, an American Institution that boasted an endless repertoire of expeditions, triumphs and pioneering research since 1851, one I felt a huge need to be a part of. Due to this admiration from across the Atlantic, I was thrilled to be offered a chance to volunteer with the organization upon arriving in the U.S.
Throughout my time at the AGS I have been privileged to work alongside extremely talented and passionate people. Elise Mazur, Chris Ewell, Timur Pozhidaev and Jesse Miller have proved great coworkers, all bringing enthusiasm, innovation and interesting perspectives to the office each day.
Our key mission as a team has been to develop and implement an engagement strategy that encourages policy makers, the public, and companies to gain an interest and appreciation of geography. To do this we adopted interesting and exciting ways to present information, such as thematic and interactive maps, thought-provoking articles and blog posts, interviews with council members and highlighted geography through current affairs. Together we also piloted a new Company Spotlight initiative that endorses innovative geographical companies from around the world and has rocketed over the past few months. The annual AGS symposium has also been high on our agenda throughout the year. The event sees the AGS bring key innovators in the industry, leading academics, policy makers and huge international companies together to collaborate new ideas and celebrate geography’s might. It has been an honor to work on something so influential and I wish everyone and the symposium the very best of luck next month!
The AGS has thus showed to be an extremely progressive environment to work in, where new ideas and visions further advance the organization and where there are always new fun projects, ventures and ideas in the pipeline!
I have also been lucky to work under a great manager and geographer, Selene Lawrence, who has been a true inspiration over the past year. Her expertise, passion and wealth of knowledge has further encouraged me to embark on a geographically centered role in the UK, taking with me her insightful visions, skills and drive. Her support, praise and advice in all of my quests throughout the year (however whacky) has been extremely encouraging and appreciated, and she has not only shown to be an incredible mentor but a great friend.
I would also like to thank AGS Director John Konarski III, who gave me the chance to volunteer and consequently be part of the AGS. He has not only provided me with a professional platform to develop my geographical thinking but a chance to grow and feel valued as part of this prestigious organization. I believe his vision, determination and expertise has taken the organization by storm, taking AGS to a whole new level which has been truly inspirational to witness.
Before joining the team at AGS, my expectations of the organization were set extremely high, and so it was with rose tinted glasses that I joined the team in its Brooklyn Heights HQ. I am ecstatic that almost a year on, I am able to report that my preconceptions were enormously justified, my expectations were not only met but were truly exceeded and the experience has proved to be one of the most enriching experiences of my career!
I am forever grateful to feel so welcomed and appreciated at the AGS, working alongside such great people in what I feel has been a fundamental period of time for the organization. Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity and experience AGS, I wish everyone the very best, and I look forward to our geographical paths crossing again one day in the future!
Interning at AGS
During my studies at the University Of Vienna, Austria, I always wanted to do an internship abroad, to gain work experience in an foreign country, to improve my English language skills and to have an invaluable experience, both professionally and personally. In 2010, during a field trip to Canada, I got to know Vancouver, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. So I decided that my internship has to be in one of the mega cities in North America. Since my girlfriend Iris was doing her MBA in a one-year program in New York, the Big Apple became the place to be. I searched for different opportunities and came across the American Geographical Society’s internship program for which I immediately applied. I was very happy when I got final acceptance at AGS.
I was warmly welcomed by Maria and overwhelmed by all the interesting literature, maps and paintings. Most of all however I was fascinated by the Fliers’ and Explorers’ Globe and all the famous signatures on it. Since I applied different courses in programming and visualizing digital-globes and geo-browser related content, I suggested creating a virtual version of the globe for Google Earth. As AGS’ homepage gets rebuilt at the moment, this was a great opportunity to design some interactive content. After geo-referencing the overlay I gathered information about all the signers, which was finally integrated in the application. It was really fascinating to read about all the famous people and their achievements in the world of geography. Although I had basic knowledge in using the KML-notation, I learned many new interesting things in applying this mark-up language. The final version of the globe can be viewed in a few weeks on AGS’ new website.
One of the other projects I was working on was the creation of an interactive application of AGS’ Transcontinental Excursion of 1912. My main goal was to give an insight of the daily life during the excursion based on the information from the Memorial Volume of the excursion.
Overall I had a great time here in New York City and working with AGS. I have to thank Maria and the other interns for all the great moments at the office and during our lunch-walks.
My AGS Summer Adventure
Upon applying for the summer internship at American Geographical Society (AGS), I didn’t hold any expectation of working here as a non-(geography) major student, though my interest in geography was revealed way back in my teenage years. The original aspiration was to see how geography is related to real world and what geographers are doing. It turned out that AGS is a great place as it is the hub of all geographical contributions, both academic as well as professional, across the country since the year of 1851.
As a political science student, I was excited when offered a chance to broaden my horizon by switching to another field during which I could also get familiar with regular office work. Maria Rosa, the operations manager and supervisor of all interns gave me a warm welcome and gave me my daily tasks. I became soon relieved from the uncertainties as a newcomer. Besides, I was delighted to be exposed to a part of AGS office library items, literature and maps that are available at hand in the office, and I believe it is huge resource for those who would like to do geography-related research.
I started the internship digitizing document and creating a filing system on the computer. With a long history since its establishment in the last century, AGS has many old documents that need to be digitalized. I learned quickly under Maria’s guidance how to use the office equipment to accomplish the work. Though I did it in a comparably little amount of time, this work indeed cultivated my carefulness and patience.
After I had completed my task with digitalization and I was involved heavily in the layout the quarterly AGS publication – Ubique.
As for office atmosphere and staff that I worked with, it was always jubilant and cheerful, and everybody was so talented and kind. When it came to lunch time, the whole crew sometimes went out together to grab some salad down stairs and take a walk.
It was great pleasure spending my summer here in Brooklyn Heights where AGS office locates. I gained valuable experience that made me grow is what I treasure the most.
Reconnecting with the AGS
As a recent graduate from my master’s program at the University of Nottingham, it was time to look for an opportunity that would launch my geography career. I interned with the AGS in the summer of 2009 and I thought I would contact them to see if they could help me in some way. When they gave me the opportunity to intern with them once again, I knew I was embarking on another adventure.
I knew from my previous experience that I was not only going to be working within a prestigious organization, I would be able to showcase my new achievements, knowledge, and self-growth from the time I finished my first internship. Being back, it felt as though I never left and was again greeted with a warm smile from the staff.
The work I have done this time around was still as exciting as it was two summers ago, which shows the consistency and improvement of the AGS. As office work is necessary in any job, I was also given the opportunity to manage their social media sites to promote the society positively and effectively. Through these means, I have been able to expand how the society interacts with the public and other geographers around the world.
My biggest project though was to help organize the society’s booth for the AAG conference in February. To prepare for the conference, I was responsible for creating information pamphlets and posters about the society. As I began my geography education at Clark University, the AAG conference was a bit of a mystery, but to be given the opportunity to go to the conference and represent the AGS was a honor. I also had the privilege be involved with the Fliers’ and Explorers’ Globe and was present at the unveiling of the first replica in New York City.
I knew what I was doing for the society was important. Working at the booth for the duration of the conference, I felt as though I was part of the AGS team. It has been another great opportunity to work with the staff and fellow interns these past few weeks.
A Geographer Grows
During my time as an intern for the American Geographical Society, I was able to get a first-hand look at the professional lives of geographers. I was assigned multiple projects to assist the Society’s growth, which helped me learn about varying aspects of the geography field. My first project was compiling a list of potential employers in the field to add to AGS’s GeoJobs database. The GeoJobs database expansion required me to research what qualifications geographic employers look for, and it allowed me to understand the multitude of fields that seek geographers. Through this project, I discovered that many fields employ geographers, including surveyors, cartography companies, academic institutions, and think tanks, as well as technical groups specializing in GPS and GIS technology. Throughout my tenure as an intern, I continued to append the list of potential geographic employers.
Another project I worked on involved researching previous recipients of two AGS grants, the McColl Fellowship and the Wrigley-Fairchild Prize. In creating a list of the awards granted, I learned about what research the Society sponsors and the process an applicant goes through for an award of this caliber. Historically, the AGS has focused their efforts on polar exploration, a tradition that continues today, as many of the recent fellows used their grants to research and publish on topics such as Inuit vulnerability in a warming era, polar whaling, and Canadian Arctic life. However, I learned that the Society sponsors research efforts as far reaching as Madagascar, and equatorial research, such as rainforest response to hurricanes and natural disasters.
The most interesting task of my internship involved cataloging the expansive library at the Brooklyn office. Along with another intern, I created a database containing information about every book in the library. There were over a thousand books on the shelves, and we listed information including the location of the book, the title and author, and several categories and keywords related to the book. The goal of this project was to make it easier for researchers looking for specific topics to be able to locate resources. In cataloging these publications, I was able to look through hundreds of books, some dating as far back as the 1800s. It was incredible to browse atlases from various historical periods and see how the charting of the world has changed over time, and it was extremely educational to see how urban plans and city plans were documented during times of international war, such as the London City Plan, published in the midst of World War II.
My time at AGS as an intern has proven to be extremely enjoyable and I have learned a lot. I would like to thank Tim, Maria, and Peter for allowing me to work with the Society and expand my experience in the field. I would also like to thank the other interns for making it such a positive environment and experience. As I return to Rutgers University to finish my last year as an undergraduate, I will be sure to take with me my newfound knowledge of the discipline of geography, and use this knowledge to grow as a geographer and a student.
An Extraordinary Experience
After I prepared my cup of tea, washed my hands, and downloaded the NPR “All Things Considered.” I would get to work, digitizing documents or helping to prepare for the departure of The American Geographical Society’s prized possession: the Fliers’ and Explorers’ Globe. Although my commute was long from the northern Bronx, I always found solace climbing into the pre-modern elevator to climb two flights to the Court Street office. I could not imagine another office where silence and productiveness exist together. During my weeks at the Society, I worked on a range of projects. The longest project I was given was the digitizing of old financial statements. I would edit and convert them into PDF from JPEG images. The project took quite some time, but I enjoyed how I could work at a pace that was comfortable for me as I sat at my own desk, and sometimes my office. It was not long until I felt completely comfortable, able to grab a beverage out of the fridge that Maria provided, and heat up food to eat regardless of whether it was lunchtime.
Interns Kariema and Jason were warm and insightful. I walked into the office for the first time and was immediately introduced to two very intelligent and amiable people. Here, I did not worry about teamwork issues or miscommunication. For my friends at the American Geographical Society, were always respectful of others recommendations and tasks. At the annual AAG meeting showcased in mid-town New York and the Marriot, we interns had the task of designing our booth with the simple materials on hand. With patience, a few laughs, and some snacks Kariema graciously offered, we created a very neat display. I will miss the laughs and hyper-politicized conversations we had around the aged wooden lunch/project table. And what was especially cool was when Maria would join us. She always promoted lunchtime and would join us, shedding her boss image as she laughed with us about silliness.
I intend on giving the office a call back sometime in the next year, for I can’t wait to work there again if the opportunity is available. And I hope to see new faces and work as a group to complete projects. And when I get back, I’ll be sure to encourage an afternoon walk to Hudson Bay with ice cream.
Working with History
As someone who grew up in Brooklyn, right next to Manhattan, I took for granted all of the opportunities this city had to offer. It was only when I decided to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey that I truly missed everything about this great city. When the chance arose to intern in Brooklyn at the American Geographical Society, I jumped at it. The eleven weeks that followed would be filled with many educational, as well as fun tasks.
The week I arrived happened to be the week of the AGS conference. This is a semi-annual event where AGS board members, staff, and councilors come together to discuss the events of the past six months as well as plan for the future. I helped organize the event and put together booklets containing the information needed for the conference. My next task would be a little more detailed and time consuming. I was asked to go through our list of emails for all of the small newspapers to which we send our op-eds to. Many of these emails had been changed or simply did not exist anymore and it was my job to update them. I went through all of the small newspapers throughout the country and added new contacts that were not in our system. This would enable us to reach out to as many small towns as possible and spread information about AGS. I was then asked to go through our list of subscribers and update their emails and other information.
My next project was going through old documents and files from previous decades and digitizing them. There were old workmen’s compensation forms as well as old paychecks stubs and tax forms. I found paperwork dating as far back as the 1920’s and was able to get a glimpse of how business was managed in the earlier days of the Society.
Our office on Court Street is home to an extensive library containing books with topics ranging from polar exploration to imperialism to baking recipes. It was my job, along with one of my fellow interns, to make a spreadsheet of all of the books along with their author, publication date, and main themes. By compiling this spreadsheet, we made it possible for staff to find any book in a quick and easy way. There were a number of very interesting books published in all different states, as well as different countries, that dated back as far as the late 1800s. Going through these books gave me insight into many different cultures and lifestyles of people around the world. There were also a number of maps, atlases, bibliographies, and dictionaries of foreign languages.
My final task was to go through our AGS website and liven it up a little bit. A few changes were needed since we had just moved our office from Wall Street to Court Street. I wanted to make sure everything was updated as well as make sure it was as user friendly and easy to navigate as possible. I want visitors to the site to be able to learn what AGS does as well as what individuals can do to get involved.
As I finish writing this on the Monday of my last week of my internship I cannot help but think how fast these weeks have flown by. From the moment I walked into this office, I was immediately greeted with smiling faces and amiable personalities. I have learned a great deal during my time here, lessons I will carry with me into the real world.
Christina K. Holmes
Interning at AGS
Working at the American Geographical Society is sort of what I imagine acting in a BBC period drama might be like: exciting to be a small part of history, and at the same time attempting to be relevant to an audience in the 21st century. AGS has a rich history, which is what I was initially attracted to when looking at their internship program. But as I began working there, I realized what was more interesting still, was their efforts in keeping geography relevant in today’s globalized world.
I first became interested in geography as a high school student in London. In England, geography is a popular school subject as well as a popular major at the university level. I hoped to pursue geography at the collegiate level in the States but was disappointed to learn my university did not offer it. I took as many classes as closely associated with geography as I could, and upon graduating in May, was happy to find the internship here at the AGS.
Geography in the US is trivialized and perhaps this is because of our Americentric world view. According to statistics issued by the State Department last year, only 37% of US citizens hold a passport. But, geography doesn’t just mean knowing countries on a world map (though this is certainly knowledge that is becoming more and more important with globalization and the proliferation of information, which is drawing us closer). Geography also means understanding our surroundings even here in the US, and how we interact with it. Geography is an essential part of our everyday lives, so why wouldn’t we want to learn about it and insure our future generations learn about it too?
The AGS’s effort to disseminate information on geography and the importance of geographical study is a valiant one. But, like with any mission, as an intern I’ve learned there always more we can do. The survey that the AGS has helped to produce is an important one, and I encourage anyone to take it and pass it along. It is also important for the AGS to stay relevant in today’s world dominated by social media and the Internet. Help us do this by giving us feedback on our website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. It is important we understand our member’s needs, so we can better provide for them. As a not-for-profit, AGS depends on their members, subscribers, and donor’s support, and with this support, we can ensure the AGS’s presence in the 21st century is secured.
Interning at AGS
As I am a graduate student of Geography, with a minor in Business Administration and town construction in Cologne, Germany, an internship is part of my studies. I could have done this in Germany, but after a vacation trip to the US last winter, for me it was clear that I would love to do an internship in the US. Through web pages of American Universities I found the recommendation of internships at the American Geographical Society and I sent my resume immediately to Mary Lynne Bird. I got her answer with the confirmation from September through November the very next day and I was so excited about this opportunity to go to New York City. Now, it is my last week of ten weeks at the AGS and I cannot believe how fast time passed by.
When upon arriving at the AGS, I informed that Mary Lynne had just retired by Maria whom took very good care of me. One of the first things I assisted with was the layout of the September 2010 Ubique. Maria showed me how to work with Publisher and to organize the layout in a way that all articles fit in the issue. After finishing the printing and mailing my next projects were the archives. Interns before me had already taken a hundreds of pictures to preserve the Council and Society Minutes back to 1856. So what I did was working on these pictures with different programs to make them better readable and to merge all pictures of one book to one pdf-document. I hope that through this work the research on the Council Minutes will be easier in the future.
Another project I have been working on, are the archives of the correspondence from Isaiah Bowman, the director of the AGs from 1915-1935. To preserve these documents as long as even possible all folder had to be changed to special non-chemical folders. I started to read some correspondence between Bowman and Professors in Europe from different countries during and after the First World War and these files were so interesting that I could not stop reading. You cannot be closer to the history. With this work I learned how much the AGS did back in these days and isstill doing today for Geography. It is so important to preserve all these treasures of the AGS. Other assignments I have been working on were subscribing mailings for students. I really enjoyed working at the AGS and it is an honor for me to have been part of it even for few weeks. I want to thank Mary Lynne for giving me this great opportunity to intern at the AGS and I want to thank Maria for the all the time she spent answering all my questions and showing me around downtown part of Manhattan during the lunch breaks.
Dacey Marie Zelman-Fahm
My Summer Internship at AGS
I grew up in a small town you have never heard of and few venture beyond. I was lucky enough to be raised in an eclectic family with strong ties in global affairs. My grandfather being a consultant for the United Nations and my grandmother an international interpreter introduced me to the diversity of our world.
My increasing love for culture and place had directed me to a double degree in anthropology and geography from the University of Arizona. However, following my 2010 graduation I was overwhelmed with the lack of opportunity in a sunken economy. I found myself nervously sending resumes to every corner of the country. I was thrilled to receive a response from Mary Lynne. Thank You. It took a big gulp and a long stride to leave home for a three month escapade, but it was definitely worth the angst.
My 10-weeks in the AGS office were spent bouncing between many projects. My very first assignment was to research previous interns. Their stories were encouraging, and I realized I was destined for an exciting summer. I next indexed the archive cabinets, which entailed sitting cross-legged for days, ecstatically reading old letters and manuscripts. As the streets bustled outside, I was busy flipping through history. Mylargest undertaking was pushing the AGS further into the digital age. It began by transforming the AGS Wikipedia page from a short stub into an extensive network. I also updated and enlarged the email database by scouring the internet for possible sponsors, members, and Op-Ed newspapers. Lastly, I created and maintained an AGS Facebook page. The number of fans continues to climb, and the Council is elated with the possibilities.
Because exploration is the foundation of the AGS—interns are encouraged to discover. We were provided insight into the dynamic organization, and pushed to delve into the city. I have visited New York before; however, this time the city turned into an entirely new atmosphere of learning. The city of dreams and the AGS office became my playground. Thank you to everyone at the AGS for an amazing experience. I might not have discovered a new world; nonetheless, wandering through the city’s boroughs and the AGS archives, I found certitude. My future as a geographer is sealed.
Interning at the American Geographical Society
As a geography major and a rising senior at Clark University, I wanted to experience what geographers do as a career. By going online I found the American Geographical Society, and I knew that being an intern here would give me the opportunity to work with geographers. The past 11 weeks has put me in contact with geographers and the projects that they are working on. Walking down the hall, and exploring the different books and resources that are within the doors of American Geographical Society, one sees evidence of the success the organization has had in the field of geography. So much information is in one place, and to look at it every day has been amazing.
My biggest task for the summer was to help research the transcontinental excursion across the United States conducted by the American Geographical Society in 1912. In 1912 Professor William Morris Davis of Harvard University directed the excursion across the United States and invited different geographers from Europe and United States to join him as he traveled by train to large cities and explored natural landscapes. One goal of the excursion was to bring geographers together on an educational tour to an area that people did not know much about. I worked with Professor Frederick E. Nelson, the director for the new excursion, which for 2012 will recreate that of 1912. One of the first steps to be undertaken was for me to organize letters from 1910-1912 that dealt with the excursion. I went through different boxes and folders that contained letters, photographs, and other documents from the excursion and put everything in order by date. In order to preserve one-of-a-kind documents, I put them into protective sheets which went into binders. Now more than 1000 documents on the excursion of 1912 can be easily accessible and used for future planning. By organizing these documents, I was able to gain insight to the excursion and learn how Davis was able to complete this successful project.
Everyone in the office has been very helpful and appreciative of everything that all the interns have done. It is nice to hear everyone saying “good job” or “keep up the good work.” This internship has encouraged me to want to continue pursuing geography as a career.
Interning at AGS
Rewind one year. After switching my major to geography at the University of South Florida I made myself a goal to spend my final college summer interning in New York. I began researching internships in the geography field by talking to my advisors and sifting through online job servers. My advisor recommended the American Geographical Society not only for their convenient location in the Financial District of Manhattan but also for their longstanding commitment to geography and exploration.
The past intern testimonials on the website solidified my aspirations to intern with AGS. I knew immediately after receiving such a sincere and welcoming e-mail from the Executive Director that this summer was going to be unforgettable. I’ve completed several internships prior to this experience but I knew that interning in New York would be a definite step up.
My first assignment involved the archives which I had been reading about extensively on the website. I was told to go drawer by drawer and input the information into an Excel spreadsheet, therefore; when any information was needed a simple search online could tell which folder to look through in the archive room. In the beginning the task was a bit overwhelming but as I delved deeper into the past I was so grateful for having been given this assignment. Letters and maps dated back to the 1800s was only part of it and it was interesting to see the evolution of the study of geography through letters from geographers of the past.
I really got an understanding of what it’s like to work a 9-5 position and what would be expected of me. I know AGS might have given me an idealized version of the 9-5 job though. I doubt there will be a Maria to take us out to lunch every day and show us the sights, but hopefully there will be a staff similar to this one in my future.