Stephanie Husman interned with LitLabs and mentored students learning about applied humanities.
How did you get your internship?
In the fall of 2021, I took a course with Professor Jacqueline Barrios, called PAH 200 Introduction to Public and Applied Humanities. In this class, students develop practical and critical skills in improving the human condition, and this understanding is demonstrated through a semester-long project that focuses on community. After getting to know Professor Barrios, she offered me an opportunity to work with her in the spring as an Intern and Teaching Assistant.
Why did you choose this internship?
I didn’t start out as an Applied Humanities major. In fact, I struggled a lot with my previous major, for many reasons. I didn’t find a support system in that program and I never felt a passion for it. I would never say being a PAH major is easy, it's a challenge in its own way, but it’s a challenge worth engaging in. So, when Professor Barrios recruited me for this role, I saw the opportunity of having a mentor and continuing making a positive impact.
What was the focus of the experience?
My main responsibility as an intern for Professor Barrios was to be a Teaching Assistant (TA) for her PAH 200 course. As a TA, I had typical TA responsibilities like assisting with lectures, managing class logistics, providing feedback to students, and facilitating discussions within the classroom. Working with a diverse student population, a big portion of this internship is supporting students and their projects and I believe a skill that is really important for this responsibility is effective communication. Miscommunication can easily disrupt the flow of a classroom and basic email etiquette goes a long way.
The most satisfying part of my internship was in the last week of classes when students presented their projects. As a TA watching students present their projects it’s a different experience than being a student in the class - I got to see the evolution of students' projects from creating ideas, the challenges they faced, and how they overcame them to see their final product. It made me proud of all the students I was able to work with this semester.
In addition to my TA work, I also helped Professor Barrios and Professor Harris Kornstein launch the first Bloom event. Bloom is a Public and Applied Humanities event that features students' public and applied projects - even my project was featured in this event.
How has your internship experience influenced your plans for your future?
Public and Applied Humanities is filled with amazing people that can support you in many ways and I’m excited to continue my journey with PAH. During the summer and into fall semester, I will be supporting Professor Barrios in an undergraduate research project with LitLabs Fellows. LitLabs Fellow centers around the study of literature and urban spaces in order to create socially engaged humanities courses, events, and initiatives. I will also continue to be a TA for Professor Barrios in the fall.
What advice do you have for other students as they begin their internship?
I think everyone has an idea of what they will get out of their internship, and you’ll be surprised that you will get more out of it than you expect. By the end of my internship, I found a support system, I gained self confidence, and I became a part of a larger community.