Ariel Caruso ’14
Internship Site: Supreme Court of the United States - Washington, DC
I was recommended this internship through a friend in the Political Science Department at The George Washington University. She forwarded the informational email to me, and the application took place online. To secure the internship, after the interview process I had to fill out forms for federal employment and security clearance. I also had to request recommendations from two sources, so I chose my academic advisor and my former internship supervisor. The application process was fairly easy and the interview was a standard 30 minutes, part of which was spent discussing the nature of the internship.
The main task was to give tours and lectures (up to 260 people at a time) to the public and special guests of the Justices. I also read and researched artists for short biographies to be placed in the offices off the Justices. I filed the Graphic Arts Reference Collection and also did some research through microfilm at the Library of Congress. By far my favorite project was completing inventory of the Fine and Decorative Arts Collection, where I got to view everything acquired by the museum. That was the most extensive and time-consuming part of the project, including multiple trips to the Court warehouse and hours spent updating the object database.
I noticed that a combination of all of my classes that involved research was useful. In particular, I drew upon creative research skills learned in HIST 204, Introduction to Historical Methodology. There were dead ends involved in my research, and I had to come up with ways to develop solutions. I also had to create new ideas for sources once the ideas of the staff ran out.
Someone I found the most helpful was one of my supervisors in Collections Management. She was a recent graduate student in Museum Studies who gave me ideas for graduate school and internships should I choose to pursue that aspect of museum studies. I was surprised that the Court acted as a spring-board job for many people. Most of the staff was under 35. Therefore, they had great advice for how to break into the museum world.
This internship has helped with my career goals in several ways. First, the people skills developed through this internship will benefit future networking. In addition, the public speaking is not only an important skill to have for meetings and the like, but it also developed a sense of self-confidence. Finally, this internship provided practical experience, which will help qualify me for future internships at museums.
Tips from Ariel:
Creativity is the most important starting point when looking for internships. You never know where there could be opportunities worth trying. I never thought I would end up at the Supreme Court working towards a career in the museum field. I would also recommend preparation for interviews. I prepped for my phone interview by writing out notes and condensing everything I wanted to say in a list of three bullet points for each question they could ask.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.