USFSP Student Accepts Coveted Internship With Smithsonian

A photo of USFSP student Amy Anderson, who just accepted a Spring 2016 internship at the National Museum of American History

Amy Anderson

USF St. Petersburg senior Amy Anderson sat on the floor and sobbed with joy when she received the phone call of a lifetime: She had been offered an internship at the prestigious National Museum of American History (NMAH) in Washington, D.C.

“Being accepted for this internship is very exciting,” said Anderson, 21, St. Petersburg native and a History major and Art History minor. “I was not expecting to be selected because of how competitive it is.”

Anderson said she is ecstatic to have landed a spot at NMAH—which is part of the Smithsonian Institute—because of her interest in American History and says that being able to see the tangible aspects of the nation’s history fascinates her.

“At the Smithsonian, I will be able to expand my knowledge of History, learn different techniques, and learn how to function in a national-scale museum environment,” she said. During the internship, Anderson will sort and catalog textile samples that were sent by U.S. consular officers from around the world between 1895 and 1913. The samples, which include American-made textiles, as well as those from Britain, France, Italy, and other locations, are representational of what the American textile industry was competing against in overseas markets.

Anderson credits her family for helping to foster and develop her love of history. “My dad’s hobby is history, so a lot of our vacations were spent going to the monuments, going to D.C., Gettysburg, and places like that,” she said. Since July, Anderson has spent many of her weekends interning at the St. Petersburg Museum of History.

“Her internship at the St. Petersburg Museum of History has allowed her to learn firsthand the value of objects in studying history,” said Erica Heinsen-Roach, visiting assistant professor of History at USFSP, who taught Anderson in four of her classes. She described Anderson as a delight; someone who is eager to learn and never missed a class. “In class, she demonstrated an intellectual curiosity and a strong willingness to learn. In a very engaging manner, she probes issues and always demanded clarification of complex problems.”

Anderson said she thinks her experience studying at USF St. Petersburg has played a major role in preparing her for the internship. “Because USF St. Pete is a smaller campus, I have been able to create these relationships with my professors, and they’ve only further fueled my interests in history,” she said. “I think if I went to a bigger campus, it would have been a very different outcome.”

J. Michael Francis, professor of History and Hough family chair of Florida Studies, said this prestigious internship also demonstrates the quality of the students enrolled at USF St. Petersburg.

“I think it’s just further affirmation and confirmation that our top students are as good as the best students anywhere,” Francis said. “Amy will be working at one of the best places in the United States. I’m confident that having completed a lengthy internship at this museum will open doors for her at museums all over the country.”