Library of Congress-European Division
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Renee Arnold

Liberal Arts Major(s): International Politics
Minor: Bioethics and Medical Humanities
Hometown: Cranberry Township, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about the experience online through the Penn State Network Symplicity site (now Nittany Lion Careers). It was one of the recommended internships for me based on my major and interests.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I had a very positive experience working for the Library of Congress. I worked alongside six other interns, but I was designated as the “lead intern” for the summer. As lead intern, I oversaw scheduling for the other interns and was in charge of managing book retrieval for readers who came to the European Reading Room. I worked on multiple projects throughout the summer. One was reviewing the “France in America” website that the Library of Congress has in partnership with the Bibliothèque nationale de France and submitting suggestions on how to make that website more useful for researchers. My current project is to create a useful finding aid for the Raymond Toinet collection, which consists of almost two thousand seventeenth century French poems and pamphlets. All of these materials are housed in the library, but there is no easy way for researchers to tell that they are part of the Toinet collection. My finding aid will expedite this process for them.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience impacted me academically by challenging me to improve my French language skills and also my research skills. Several of my projects involved pulling books from the library stacks and using them for my work. I find that at school, I am usually using the internet for research and am rarely using written material. I enjoyed digging into this side of research. Through this internship, I also got the chance to meet with several researchers and discuss their interests with them. Many of the researchers are professors and it was very interesting to be able to talk to them about their classes and their students, being a student myself.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Following graduation in the spring, I would love to work for a non-profit organization, potentially doing research and policy work for them. As I mentioned above, this experience at the Library of Congress has improved my research skills and taught me so much about how to best utilize the resources that a place like the Library of Congress has. I know that my work here at the Library will aid me in my future career, whether I end up in a research heavy field or not. I also gained leadership experience being in charge of the summer interns. I have never had to lead a group of my own peers and so this was a valuable experience for me.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would strongly recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students if they are looking for an internship where they can improve their foreign language skills and also do research. My supervisor was very dedicated to finding projects that interested me and I never felt like I was simply doing "busy work."

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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