The collections of the Misericordia Archives are a microcosm of women’s lives in the twentieth century United States. This service-learning project in the fall of 2017 enabled students to situate the rich history of campus life within broader events taking place in the United States. The entries below comprise students’ reflections on this experience.
Misericordia regularly sends our students out into the community to build their professional experience and serve others. Since 2016, MU has sent several students to internships in Washington, DC; Baltimore, MD; Scranton, PA; and Eckley, PA. Read more about our students’ work in area historic sites, museums, and other related public history endeavors below.
In the summer and fall 2018, I partnered with the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton, PA, to co-curate an exhibit on mining photography. My co-curators (AHM Director Bode Morin, and AHM Curator John Fielding) and I wanted to capture the ways in which photography has served to document, memorialize, and preserve Anthracite mining and mining culture, from the beginnings of the Anthracite industry in Northeast PA in the nineteenth century through today.
The resulting exhibit, Anthracite Photographers: Photographers of Anthracite, brought together the work of nine photographers who documented the Anthracite Region, including Lewis Hine, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Bernd and Hilla Becher, George M. Bretz, Watson Brunnell, William Herman Rau, George Harvan, John Horgan Jr., Scott Herring, local press photographs, and the photographers of the Federal Government’s HABS-HAER project. We examined the collective contributions of these artists and practitioners, and the ways in which their work catalyzed social action, served industrial purposes, and memorialized NEPA’s post-industrial landscape. The exhibit opened December 1, 2018, and featured a companion exhibition catalog. The exhibit is scheduled to be on-view at the Anthracite Heritage Museum through 2021.
–Jennifer M. Black, Assistant Professor of History, Misericordia University
Misericordia University History major Sarah Sporko provided crucial support throughout the duration of the project, with funding from Misericordia’s SURF program for the summer months. Sarah’s blog, reproduced below, chronicles the project’s completion through her internship in the fall of 2018. For more information on Misericordia University’s public history opportunities, visit misericordia.edu/history.
This week at the VA and around the US, we celebrated Veteran’s Day. Not only am I interning with the VA, but most of my family are active military or retired veterans. Throughout my life, it was these family members that I would look up to and aspire to be, although I never had the desire to join the military.
Below are photos of some of my family members, not including My grandpa (Army) or my uncle Jimmy (Reserves). My Aunt Shelly met my Uncle Sid in the US Navy, and now their son will be joining within the next year. My brother wanted to make my grandparents proud so he joined the Army Reserves soon after high school. My dad too, wanted to follow suit of his parents and joined the Army after high school. He was stationed in Korea and in Germany before being medically released. My grandma served four years in the Air Force and my grandpa served in the Army and was an MP on base for a while, when released my grandma fell in love with photography and my grandpa became high ranking in a local police department. My Uncle Steve and Uncle Jimmy still serve in the Army reserves and get stationed overseas often. My Great grandpa served in WW2 and I actually never had the chance to meet him.
My cousin Timothy wanted to follow after his dad and joined the US Air Force, he is currently stationed in Italy. My uncle Bill, Air Force, just recently moved back from the US from Italy, but before he moved back he had to get home from Kandahar.
It was my uncle Bill who let me live on base with him in Italy for several months, to travel to Germany and France.
In support of Veterans Day the VA made several blog posts and various posts on social media, and in my meeting we went around to those who weren’t there last week and discussed their military ties.
This week I attended the meeting and got the notes published on time. I am still waiting to hear back if I have the okay to go to DC next semester. I was also selected to participate in a data entry project and a research project. I accepted both projects, one will be due next week and the other will be ongoing. I also was able to submit my family members photos and information to maybe be nominated for Veteran of the Day on the VA website! My uncle Bill was chosen but since he is still serving he was not eligible, I am submitting my Grandma, in honor of her passing, next.
This week the meeting went on without any issues, we discussed more of the weekly report (which was cancelled last week), as well as leadership charts, Veterans Day, and travel plans, along with the usual round robin discussion.
The weekly report was discussed briefly; they were all included on a list, and they each voted for what they thought the best ideas would better. Suzanna will pick the best and it will be discussed at a later day.
Travel plans were discussed for January 6th through 17th, I reached out to David about me being able to join in on the meetings for the first week. David thought that would be a good idea and will look into it for me. I am very appreciative that David is so nice; the atmosphere is very open and inclusive and I genuinely enjoy working on things for them.
For Veteran’s Day, We went around and spoke about all the veterans in our lives. They asked me to submit my family members to their “veteran of the day” social media campaign.
Suzanna handed out leadership charts, to make sure everyone knows their audience and knows the tiers of the organization. The charts are extremely helpful for everyone in the organization.
This week in my internship was different because my direct boss was still at a conference and many others were preparing for events. So the meeting was over about ten minutes early.
I was able to attend the meeting and take the minutes, I submitted them to both David and Blake who are both my lead contacts. I was unable to attend a video conference via skype that was planned because of class on Wednesday and I was actually sad because I was looking forward to seeing everyones actual faces, but I am sure there will be more opportunities for this in the future.
This week’s meeting was fun because there was an intern attending from Florida. She was visiting the office, and we got to hear what she does and her background. We went round robin for most of the meeting discussing who everyone was and what they do.
The two presentations on the weekly briefing and organization of shared drive were rescheduled to next week. But, we did discuss the VA’s plans for Veterans Day and the trip where everyone is going to DC in December. I wanted to see if I could possibly go, but they don’t know dates yet so I’ll wait and find out more at the next meeting.
This week we discussed the purpose of the weekly staff meeting, which is to be an informational meeting that promotes cohesion across all team members, regardless of their primary duty.
We discussed some rules to a beneficial round robin and how to be respectful to others times during the round robin.
Also this week the interns participated in a survey with a 24 hour deadline on how the VHA can stream line and enhance communications between the team and the interns.
Also this week I handed in my midterm survey, which tells the school about my experience thus far in the year. I am enjoying my time with the VHA and I love everyone on the team. I have been successfully been able to attend meetings and submitted minutes while learning about the organization. I hope to be apart of more projects in the near future. I can see myself working on a team like this for my career.
During this week of my internship, I attended the weekly staff meeting as scheduled and produced the meeting minutes within the 24 hour deadline. I tracked my process through the group’s Trello board as instructed.
During the meeting they discussed Employee surveys for their previous year that ended Sept. 30th. They use these surveys to see what the supervisors are doing right and wrong and to see what in the office can be improved to lessen stress.
Also, they use the surveys to decide what their goals for this year will be. They have different goals for specific tasks, such as leadership, media, etc. The team works together to compile a list of goals and they narrow the list down to just 10 goals.
The team has various huddle meetings to breakdown goals and projects and they typically last an hour and meet once a week. They just created a huddle for all the team members related to students, intern or volunteer work so they can brainstorm projects and not take up time in the weekly meeting.
The weekly meeting always ends in a round robin where everyone says what they are working on or important dates coming up. They include the interns in this, so this is where I reached out to my supervisors and told them about the midterm assessment.
This week went by quick and I continue to look forward to the next weeks.
During this week of my internship, I was able to email back and forth with a few people in regards to upcoming projects. We scheduled a video chat for all the students and staff to get to know voices with faces. Also, I started to put my assignment on Trello and move it through the steps as necessary.
During the weekly staff meeting, I was able to take the minutes and submit them within the 24 hour window. This meeting was interesting because the team started a new year at the start of October instead of January. They are also forming a huddle meeting specifically for students and staff members to provide a better learning experience for the students and brainstorm more projects.
I reached out for more assignments and there is not any available at the moment for me, but are available for other types of interns so I am going to reach out again to see if I can aid in any projects they have.
The office has been very busy and stressful for the team so my team of interns is just attending the various meetings for now, but will soon be doing more.
I continue to look forward to the upcoming weeks.
This week of my Internship was a bit more individual work than the previous weeks. It was my own responsibility to know what I was doing and to get what I needed to get it done.
My weekly meeting felt short even though it went over time, but I planned ahead and made sure my professor knew I would be late just in case. I had to reach out to get the agenda and submitted the minutes on time to my lead.
I have noticed that most of the items that we discuss get taken care of at other meetings so I miss the actual break down of action items. Its unfortunate that I am in class during these meetings.
I believe new projects are going out next week so I plan on picking one up that fits into my schedule. I look forward to next week.