Internships: Flint Hills Discovery Center
Intern: Kirsten Hermreck, Graduate Student, English
Faculty Supervisor: Anne Phillips, Professor, English
Course: ENGL 4797
Semester: Spring 2017
During her time at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, Kirsten revised and enhanced education programs that the Center provides for field trip groups. These include pre- and post-visit materials for teachers to use in their classrooms that are tied to grade-level appropriate English/Language Arts Common Core Standards. Kirsten completed work on three such programs: Cowboys and Cattle Cars; Engineer It! Windmills; and the Natural Economy. To ensure that these in-house programs were historically and factually accurate, Kirsten used online resources to find primary documents, collaborated with the Curator of Archives and Library at the Riley County Historical Museum, and visited the K-State Hale Library many times to check out secondary documents. During the internship, Kirsten also collaborated with a full-time educator at the Discovery Center to strengthen a grant-sponsored archeology program and assisted with a number of student group visits by leading education programs and facilitating visitors’ time in the exhibits.
In Kirsten’s words, she is so happy to have completed this internship. “While I am not currently working in a museum setting, my internship strengthened my skills in project coordination and program planning, which is really useful in my current work as a graduate academic advisor at the University of Kansas.” Given her background in secondary education and English, Kirsten also enjoyed collaborating with the Discovery Center educators, who are much more versed in informal education practices. “We were able to learn a lot from each other throughout my time there.”
Stephen Bridenstine, Curator of Education and Kirsten’s supervisor at the Discovery Center, was quite pleased with the decision to hire an English intern. “Kirsten worked hard to improve our existing school programs through her innovative research and lesson planning. She took an already strong on-site program and created materials to help them connect with school teachers across Kansas. Kirsten’s skills as a researcher and writer were evident throughout the internship. We had never worked with an English Department intern before but Kirsten proved how effectively one can put those skills to use.”
For future English interns, Kirsten suggested that it is essential to communicate with their on-site supervisor throughout the internship to make sure they are on the same page regarding expectations of the internship, which may change as the internship progresses.