News from Our Public History Program (31 August 2015)

Meghann Waddle

Five of our Public History majors interned during the summer semester.  Meghann Waddle and Shelbi Long both were based at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology under the supervision of PHP alumna Jeannie Regan-Dinius (BA, ‘93), the Director of Special Initiatives.  This is the fifth summer in a row that we have placed students at the DHPA to assist Jeannie, and the first time we have had two interns there simultaneously.  Meghann and Shelbi reviewed proposed projects protected under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, coordinated with a Department-wide committee to improve its social media presence, and digitized records for uploading to the Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database. 

Also interning in a related field was Mitchell Knigga, who will continue his internship into the fall semester at Ball State University Libraries’ Drawings + Documents Archive located in the College of Architecture and Planning.  It houses over 130,000 architectural drawings, photographs, and other items pertaining to the history of Indiana’s built environment, making it one of the largest resources for the preservation of sites and structures within the state.  Mitchell’s major project involves processing the collection of Wright, Porteous & Lowe, Inc., a prolific architectural firm which operated out of Indianapolis throughout the mid- to late-20th century, and creating digital resources for the collection, including an online catalogue and finding aid.  This experience complements his minors in Historic Preservation and Real Estate Development.

Megan Oaks did her internship at the Carmel-Clay Historical Society in Carmel, Ind. under the supervision of executive director Whitney Dennis.  She helped coordinate volunteers to staff the Society’s Monon Depot Museum; conducted and analyzed visitor surveys to learn more about those who attend museum events; and researched and composed labels for upcoming exhibits, including one that will be part of the state’s Bicentennial Celebration in 2016.  Finally, Sarah Shrack’s internship took her the farthest away of our five summer students to the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, located in New

Sarah Shrack
Sarah Shrack

Mexico’s Socorro Desert about 50 miles south of Albuquerque.  As their first-ever public history intern, Sarah helped create cultural history content to complement existing natural history exhibits in the visitor’s center.  She also researched and drafted text for a new brochure that highlights important historical developments in the NWR’s past, contextualizing them with reference to important state and national events.  Her last project involved conducting and transcribing two digital video oral history interviews with longtime area residents, one of them a retired staff member of the NWR and the other a descendent of the original Spanish settlers of the region.

News from our PHP alumni:  Christina Newhart (BS, ’15), who was our first placement in summer ’14 at Mounds State Park, where she interned as a history interpreter, was hired this past summer as a seasonal Interpretive Ranger at Voyageurs National Park in International Falls,

Christina Newhart
Christina Newhart

Minn.  Andrew Luce (BA with Honors, ‘14) has just accepted a new position as Development Coordinator with Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research in Houston, Tex.. In the intervening year since his graduation from Ball State he has been working as Development Assistant at the Asia Society Houston CenterNicole Griffetts (B.A. with Honors, ‘13), who until this past May was serving as Education Coordinator of the Allen County-Fort Wayne (Ind.) History Center, is now Program Manager for the ARC [Association for Retarded Citizens] of Noble County Foundations located in nearby Albion, Ind.  Jacob Dobbs (BS, ‘12) parlayed his experience with HistoryIT in Indianapolis to get hired in the spring as a data processor in the Criminal Records Division of the Indiana State Police Headquarters.

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