Iris Lagerweij

I was the RIAS intern from January to March 2024. These three months have taught me valuable lessons about my skills and capabilities and the RIAS and its staff gave me the opportunity to grow in a safe environment. This RIAS internship has been one of the best parts of my MA in American Studies!

When I started my internship at the RIAS, there were two things I really wanted to achieve; on the one hand, I wanted to learn how I could best function in an office setting, and on the other, I wanted to become more familiar with the “behind-the-scenes” aspects of the academic world. I did and learned both of those things and more during my time at the RIAS.

The intern is an indispensable part of the office here. This means that you have to be very flexible when it comes to your workday. There’s always something to do: make a social media post, edit the RIAS or NASA website, pursue your own research interests, help with a research request… The job was versatile enough that I was never bored.

Though there were unfortunately very little events during my internship, I was responsible for organizing a couple of them. There were also multiple researchers at the RIAS during my internship – from Plymouth University, UCR, and other institutions – where I learned how to support others and apply my knowledge to fulfill their requests. I was also able to help some non-academic researchers discover something about their own family histories, which was a particularly enriching experience.

Apart from those more practical tasks, I also had plenty of time to familiarize myself with the RIAS collections and do my own research. By the end of my internship period, I knew the collections inside and out, and I’d written a paper to submit to a journal! The personalized feedback I got from the RIAS staff was extremely helpful in this regard, as I’ve never had to think as hard as I did about my own writing until my internship here.

All in all, my internship at the RIAS helped me get out of my post-COVID funk. The RIAS and its staff welcomed me with open arms and helped me regain my motivation and passion for research. I’ll treasure the memories I’ve made here and the opportunities this internship has granted me. These three months went by way too fast!