WASHINGTON, PA (July 5, 2022)—Though rising senior Ana Giampa only possesses a limited knowledge of physics, she recently found a way to travel back in time.
A history and English double major, Giampa spent the last several months serving as the archival intern at Woodville, the historic Neville House and National Historic Landmark in Bridgeville, Pa., and processing the Sarah Wrenshall Steinmark Papers—a collection of letters, documents, and books spanning the history of the Wrenshall and Cowan families during their occupation of Woodville in the 18th-20th centuries.
By systematically organizing, filing, and chronologizing the papers, she established the penned as prime transportation between the past and present.
“My favorite part was making connections between the family’s life in Pittsburgh and current times.” Giampa said. “For example, the Wrenshall family held property in downtown Pittsburgh near the Point for many years, and my supervisor and I were able to find the property on old maps and trace its development.”
Mapping time from antiquity to today is no easy task, but as vice president of the Order of Omega, vice president of education for Kappa Alpha Theta, philanthropy director of the Panhellenic Council, secretary of Sigma Tau Delta, and a student in archival courses, Giampa was up to it.
“In the 2021-22 school year, I was able to take HIS372 and HIS370,” Giampa said, noting that she and her classmates worked to create a full exhibit in the course. “Those classes inspired my interest in the archives and lead to this internship.”
They were led by Associate Professor of History David Kieran, Ph.D., who shared the opportunity at Woodville with Giampa and encouraged her to apply.
“Dr. Kieran has definitely been a huge influence,” Giampa said.” His classes and guidance as my academic advisor have given me the confidence to believe that I am capable of taking on these projects and succeeding.”
Rachel Stalker, assistant director of the Center for Professional Pathways, and Dr. Jennifer Harding, a professor of English with whom Giampa currently assists in conducting research, have served a similar role in supporting her goals.
Those goals are lofty.
After graduating, Giampa plans to attain graduate degrees in library science and American studies, and eventually develop research and educational programs at a public history site.
She’s sure she will.
“W&J has given me multiple opportunities, both inside and outside of the classroom, which have prepared me,” Giampa said. “And this internship has been an invaluable experience. Going into it, I knew that I loved looking at old documents, but in nearing its end, I have found a passion in the research that can be done with these documents.”
To learn more about Giampa’s work with Woodville, attend her presentation, “Leaders of Industry: Tracing the Cowan and Wrenshall Family Through Archival Documents,” on July 24 at the historic home.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu or call 888-W-AND-J.