Maaike Siemes

I interned at the Roosevelt Institute for American Studies from October until December 2023. During these three months, I had the chance to learn more about the RIAS and its collections, do archival research, and explore Middelburg and Zeeland. As a Master student in American studies, I think doing an internship at the RIAS was a great opportunity to obtain work experience in an academic environment.

As an intern, my primary job was performing library, editorial and administrative duties. During my internship, there were three researchers who used the archival collections for their current research projects. I was tasked with showing them how to work with the microfilm machines and to direct them in accessing our digital collections. This was a great way to familiarize myself with the collections. Besides, it was always great to chat with the researchers about their current research projects and interests.

The second half of my internship was where most of the activities were taking place. In November, I was able to assist with the planning of the Fall Roosevelt Lecture on Slavery at the Rijksmuseum with Valika Smeulders. In addition, there was the Fall International PhD Seminar, where I could participate in interdisciplinary conversations about American history, culture and literature. At the end of December, the RIAS also organized a lecture about the legacies of the Roosevelts regarding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which turned seventy-five years old in 2023. It was great to learn more about US history through all of these diverse activities.

During this internship, I also got the opportunity to work on my own research projects. The academic RIAS staff helped me formulate my research plans and they were always prepared to discuss and review my MA thesis ideas. Their encouragement helped me further develop my research skills and made me more enthusiastic to pursue an academic career.

Overall, I am incredibly grateful for the all the support from the entire RIAS staff and the opportunities this internship has given me. I also want to thank Leontien for making me feel welcomed so quickly and for always being so helpful with everything.