W&J Junior Leads Online History and Culture Programs During Pandemic

Created: September 18, 2020
Last Updated: September 18, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 18, 2020)—The summer of 2020 is one for the history books—which Sarah Byrne ’22 will be ready to document thanks to her Maxwell scholarship-funded internship.

The junior history major spent her summer as the education intern with the Westmoreland Historical Society (WHS) and Historic Hanna’s Town, an archaeological site and history center in Hempfield Township that WHS maintains. In her role, Sarah worked in the education department of WHS doing historical research and writing, educational programming, design, and tours.

“I found this opportunity after researching local history societies near my home. I contacted Westmoreland and when I saw it was working in the education department, I was very excited for the opportunity,” Sarah said.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic made much of her work remote, Sarah had a variety of responsibilities and was able to spend some time on site to give tours following state safety guidelines. Her main project of the summer involved working on Clio Tour Entries, which provide online guides to local history and culture.

Sarah’s experiences in her classes at W&J and the connections she’s made here prepared her to take on the role despite the summer’s challenges.

“I do not think I would have been able to have this opportunity if I went to school anywhere else. W&J has so many resources and people that are willing to help you, and I was able to take advantage of that,” she said, citing both W&J’s Office of Career Services and her supervisor in the Student Life Office, Lisa Allen, as big supporters.

Putting her knowledge into practice through her internship has not only given Sarah valuable experience, but also the confidence to pursue her passion and solidify her career path. Following graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and eventually work at a historical site or museum.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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