York Applied Geographers
AGS Internship Program
Interns continue to play an important
part in activities at the AGS. The many projects they carry out
are not just important and necessary but of lasting value to the Society [Read full details of internship experiences below].
They are welcome at the AGS at any time of the year, part-time as well
as full-time, for a minimum of ten weeks. Most assignments are for work
in the AGS office in New York on Wall Street, but there are a few projects
that could be carried out elsewhere.
Interns receive neither monetary compensation
nor an expense allowance, but the Society provides them with recommendations
for future employment and for graduate school.
How To Apply: Send a current resume to:
Maria V. Rosa [Email: MVRosa@amergeog.org]
The American Geographical Society
32 Court Street, Suite 201
Brooklyn, New York 11201-4404
or call: 1-718-624-2212
LET’S HEAR IT FOR INTERNS!
2010: Fabienne LivrozetLIZZY’S LEAVING!!!
As I am a graduate student of Geography, with a minor in Business Administration and town construction in Cologne, Germany, an internship is part of my studies. I could have done this in Germany, but after a vacation trip to the US last winter, for me it was clear that I would love to do a internship in the US. Through web pages of American Universities I found the recommendation of internships at the American Geographical Society and I sent my resume immediately to Mary Lynne Bird. I got her answer with the confirmation from September through November the very next day and I was so exited about this opportunity and to go to New York City.
Now, it is my last of ten weeks at the AGS and I cannot believe how fast time pasted by. Arriving at the AGS and be informed that Mary Lynne has retired Maria took very good care of me.
One of the first thing I assisted to was the layout of the September 2010 Ubique. Maria showed me how to work with Publisher and to organize the layout in a way that all articles fit in the issue. After finishing the printing and mailing my next projects were the archives. Interns before me had already taken a hundreds of pictures to preserve the Council and Society Minutes back to 1856. So what I did was working on these pictures with different programs to make them better readable and to merge all pictures of one book to one pdf-document. I hope that through this work the research on the Council Minutes will be easier in the future.
Another project I have been working on, are the archives of the correspondence from Isaiah Bowman, the director of the AGs from 1915-1935. To preserve these documents as long as even possible all folder had to be changed to special non-chemical folders.
I started to read some correspondence between Bowman and Professors in Europe from different countries during and after the First World War and these files were so interesting that I could not stop reading. You cannot be closer to the history.
With this work I learned how much the AGS did back in these days and is doing till today for the Geography. It is so important to preserve all these treasures of the AGS. Other assignments I have been working on were subscribing mailings for students.
I really enjoyed working at the AGS and it is an honor for me to have been part of it even for few weeks.
I want to thank Mary Lynne for giving me the great opportunity to make an internship at the AGS and I want to thank Maria for the all the time she spent to answers all my questions and to show me the downtown part of Manhattan during the lunch breaks.
2010: Atika Din Ashraf
As I approach my senior year of college as a geography student, my mind begins to wonder what it would be like to apply this fascinating subject outside the comfort of university life. Hence, I undertook a search for an internship program which not only allowed me to use the skills I have developed through university and various other work experiences I have participated in, but also provided me with real professional experience in a geographical context. I have had the opportunity to work in a number of varying organizations, from teaching English and French in the Siberian countryside, to working nine to five in a financial institution. While I learnt a great deal from these roles, they all lack one element I feel is critical to my future career: the use of geography in a working context. That’s when I discovered the American Geographical Society’s Internship Program. Not only was the internship based in New York City – a far cry away from my sheltered lifestyle in Scotland – upon reading testimonials describing the diverse and interesting projects previous interns participated in, I knew this was the experience I had been yearning for. Upon completing my internship with the AGS, I can honestly say that my expectations have been succeeded. Despite having to cut my internship short, I have completed an array of fascinating projects. I have compiled a timeline mapping out the full history of the AGS, extracting key events that occurred for every year the organization has existed. It was staggering to discover how active the Society has been since it was founded in 1851: in 159 years of existence, I failed to leave a single year blank. Upon completion of this task, I know I have gained a comprehensive knowledge of the Society’s history and its involvement in geography overtime – however, I am not so naïve to call myself a subject-matter expert, as I know that there will be uncountable amounts of material and information hidden in the AGS archives!
2010: Dacey Marie Zelman-Fahm
I grew up in a small town you have never heard of and few venture beyond. I was lucky enough to be raised in an eclectic family with strong ties in global affairs. My grandfather being a consultant for the United Nations and my grandmother an international interpreter introduced me to the diversity of our world. My increasing love for culture and place had directed me to a double degree in anthropology and geography from the University of Arizona. However, following my 2010 graduation I was overwhelmed with the lack of opportunity in a sunken economy. I found myself nervously sending resumes to every corner of the country. I was thrilled to receive a response from Mary Lynne. Thank You. It took a big gulp and a long stride to leave home for a three month escapade, but it was definitely worth the angst.
My 10-weeks in the AGS office were spent bouncing between many projects. My very first assignment was to research previous interns. Their stories were encouraging, and I realized I was destined for an exciting summer. I next indexed the archive cabinets, which entailed sitting cross-legged for days, ecstatically reading old letters and manuscripts. As the streets bustled outside, I was busy flipping through history. My largest undertaking was pushing the AGS further into the digital age. It began by transforming the AGS Wikipedia page from a short stub into an extensive network. I also updated and enlarged the email database by scouring the internet for possible sponsors, members, and Op-Ed newspapers. Lastly, I created and maintained an AGS Facebook page. The number of fans continues to climb, and the Council is elated with the possibilities.
Because exploration is the foundation of the AGS—interns are encouraged to discover. We were provided insight into the dynamic organization, and pushed to delve into the city. I have visited New York before; however, this time the city turned into an entirely new atmosphere of learning. The city of dreams and the AGS office became my playground. Thank you to everyone at the AGS for an amazing experience. I might not have discovered a new world; nonetheless, wandering through the city’s boroughs and the AGS archives, I found certitude. My future as a geographer is sealed.
2009: Jennifer Kaye
Rewind one year. After switching my major to geography at the University of South Florida I made myself a goal to spend my final college summer interning in New York. I began researching internships in the geography field by talking to my advisors and sifting through online job servers. My advisor recommended the American Geographical Society not only for their convenient location in the Financial District of Manhattan but also for their longstanding commitment to geography and exploration.
The past intern testimonials on the website solidified my aspirations to intern with AGS. I knew immediately after receiving such a sincere and welcoming e-mail from the Executive Director that this summer was going to be unforgettable.
I’ve completed several internships prior to this experience but I knew that interning in New York would be a definite step up.
My first assignment involved the archives which I had been reading about extensively on the website. I was told to go drawer by drawer and input the information into an Excel spreadsheet, therefore; when any information was needed a simple search online could tell which folder to look through in the archive room.
In the beginning the task was a bit overwhelming but as I delved deeper into the past I was so grateful for having been given this assignment. Letters and maps dated back to the 1800s was only part of it and it was interesting to see the evolution of the study of geography through letters from geographers of the past.
My second assignment was to brainstorm marketing strategies for a book by the Kansas professor, Wakefield Dort, written about the river systems in his area. AGS hasn’t helped to publish a book in some time so I felt honored to be a part of their publishing revival.
2009: Jason Black
As a geography major and a rising senior at Clark University, I wanted to experience what geographers do as a career. By going online I found the American Geographical Society, and I knew that being an intern here would give me the opportunity to work with geographers. The past 11 weeks has put me in contact with geographers and the projects that they are working on. Walking down the hall, and exploring the different books and resources that are within the doors of American Geographical Society, one sees evidence of the success the organization has had in the field of geography. So much information is in one place, and to look at it everyday has been amazing. My biggest task for the summer was to help research the transcontinental excursion across the United States conducted by the American Geographical Society in 1912. In 1912 Professor William Morris Davis of Harvard University directed the excursion across the United States and invited different geographers from Europe and United States to join him as he traveled by train to large cities and explored natural landscapes. One goal of the excursion was to bring geographers together on an educational tour to an area that people did not know much about. I worked with Professor Frederick E. Nelson, the director for the new excursion, which for 2012 will recreate that of 1912. One of the first steps to be undertaken was for me to organize letters from 1910-1912 that dealt with the excursion. I went through different boxes and folders that contained letters, photographs, and other documents from the excursion and put everything in order by date. In order to preserve one-of-a-kind documents, I put them into protective sheets which went into binders. Now more than 1000 documents on the excursion of 1912 can be easily accessible and used for future planning. By organizing these documents, I was able to gain insight to the excursion and learn how Davis was able to complete this successful project. Everyone in the office has been very helpful and appreciative of everything that all the interns have done. It is nice to hear everyone saying “good job” or “keep up the good work.” This internship has encouraged me to want to continue pursuing geography as a career.
2009: Stephanie Afshar
First walking into the American Geographical Society, I was unsure of exactly how my ten-week internship would play out. As a rising senior at Bryn Mawr College and an Anthropology and Environmental Studies major, I was familiar with geography, but had never exclusively studied it before. Curious and anxious about what my internship would entail, I walked through the two golden entrance doors. I was immediately greeted by the friendly, smiling face of Maria Rosa, AGS’s comptroller. From that moment on, I knew I had made the right decision in leaving my hometown of West Chester, PA and embarking on my journey in New York City as an intern for the American Geographical Society.
What impressed me the most about AGS was the time and honest care the staff put into the interns. The environment the staff created allowed us to explore and engulf ourselves into learning about geography and the history of the American Geographical Society. Mary Lynne Bird, the Executive Director of AGS, always encouraged us not only to work on our assigned projects, but also to explore and pursue what sparked our own interests.
This thirst for knowledge is still very much instilled in the spirit of the American Geographical Society as well as those honored by the Society. One of my major projects for the summer was to help contribute to AGS website’s timeline. This was a huge task for an individual to take on, so to make it easier I divided the timeline into different themes. One of the major themes I worked on was researching the past medalists that have been honored by AGS. It was not only fascinating to research the hundreds of past medalists and honorary fellows, but truly inspirational to read about all the accomplishments and discoveries achieved by these extraordinary men and women. These individuals pushed the limits and dared to dream the impossible. From the race to be the first to the South Pole between Roald Amundsen (Daly Medalist, 1912) and Robert F. Scott (Cullum Medalist, 1906) in 1912, to the foundation of the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software company, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) by Jack Dangermond (Cullum Medalist, 1999), there is still that same message that anyone has the power to make change.
That message is still being taught and promoted to its youngest, least influential employees. Interning at the American Geographical Society has not only given me a better lens for analyzing both geographical and environmental issues, but has also reinvigorated my motivation to know that if I put my mind to it, nothing is impossible.
Last summer I graduated with Honors in Geography (BSc) from University College London. Like many of my contempories the thought of the ‘real world of work’ was not only daunting but quite frankly something to be put off! I have been very fortunate in the past to have had the opportunity to travel widely having lived abroad for much of my life and, in between my studies, traveled through Southern Africa and South America. The travel bug in me remains, however my sensible side told me that it was about time I began to focus on my career ahead of me. It was therefore time to compromise - work abroad.
I came across the American Geographical Society internship program in a book regarding internships overseas. Having been passionate about geography all my life the chance to work for the AGS in New York was the perfect solution for my near future. I arrived in New York at the beginning of January and began my work with the AGS soon after.
My time at the AGS has been extremely varied in terms of the size and type of projects that I have undertaken. From day one, I noted down a quick summary of my endeavors as I completed them. To my surprise and delight these notes last pages and pages and are evidence of what I have achieved through my time here. One of the larger projects that I took on was carrying out some research for the AGS travel program. Every trip that is organized has a set itinerary. My assignment was to go through these itineraries and subsequently find related websites that could be enjoyed by travelers before embarking on their trips of a lifetime. The websites not only had to be of some educational value, but also had to be respectable, eloquent and of course, of interest. This assignment was very interesting as not only did I learn an incredible amount of history, culture and politics of many different countries, but also it was fascinating to see what ‘site’, ‘place’ or ‘person’ got World Wide Web coverage. I am sure there could be a very interesting study into the geography of websites!
Another large project that I took on was biographical research that was followed up by writing a detailed summary on the signers of the Fliers’ & Explorers’ Globe. The Globe is one of the AGS’s wonders. All 68 names signed on the globe can be recognized as some of the greatest explorers of all time, with the likes of Charles Lindbergh, Robert Peary and Neil Armstrong. Delving into the lives of these great men and women was an inspiration. It was also extremely satisfying to search for the contact addresses of some of the present day explorers who may in the future sign their names on the globe, thus doing my small bit for the globe’s future history.
These two assignments were just a small fraction of the work that I carried out at the AGS. In fact I have named myself photocopying, fax machine and envelope stuffing queen! However I reveled in my work as a researcher as I am one for a good challenge. My research varied from searching for contact addresses for some 4000 names to ensure that our databases were up to date, finding relevant articles from the Geographical Review and FOCUS on Geography to meet with requests from other researchers in the field, to finding suitable information and photographs to go on the AGS conference display board. I have also had the satisfaction of getting to grips with the organizing of the onsite AGS library, proofreading the newsletter ‘Ubique’, attending lectures on a range of fascinating topics, and making suggestions toward a marketing strategy for the showing of the explorers globe. The list is endless.
My stay with the AGS has been remarkably interesting and enjoyable, which is evident by the fact that I was due to be here for just 12 weeks but ended up staying for 5 months! I am also so grateful to the AGS as it has given me the opportunity to get to know New York properly. I have fallen head over heels in love with this fantastic city and will be very sad in returning to the UK and back to the ‘real world’! Who knows what may lie ahead in my future, but one thing is for sure, Geography will always be a key factor in it.
LINDA MAKES A DECISION
As a student entering my last semester of my undergraduate studies, I was particularly hesitant about how I would spend my last summer as a “student”. Being someone who has always had the urge to travel, and explore the world, my opportunities were looking grim. While writing an essay for an Urban Geography course I came across an article published in the Geographical Review. I was very intrigued by this publication and decided to investigate the website. While searching through the information I came across the ‘internships’ and thought I would apply. When I received confirmation from Mary Lynne that I had been offered a spot, I was extremely excited and, without reservation, accepted. Being from Toronto, I took this as an opportunity to enjoy a more extreme version of city life while gaining insight into how Geography can be put to use as a profession.
Over the past ten weeks I have been given several tasks that I believe have provided me with skills that will be beneficial in the future. One of my tasks has been the construction of a database about all American post-secondary institutions that offer the discipline of Geography. Along with this I was asked to gather information in the form of websites for the AGS travel program to coincide with the itineraries, which are sent out to participants. Over the summer I have had the opportunity to read several issues of the Geographical Review and have found the information remarkable. My fellow interns Jessica and Kouichi, spent many the hours in the archives room rummaging through what I believe to be a wealth of Geographical knowledge, and were kind enough to enlighten me with their discoveries.
My summer in New York has been fabulous. I have enjoyed spending time in such a great city and in particular working with some remarkable people. AGS has helped me, as a graduating senior, to reconfirm my beliefs that there is still a great need for Geographers in the world, and I believe now more than ever that this is my calling. I would like to thank Mary Lynne and the rest of the AGS staff for this remarkable opportunity.
KOUICHI EMERGES FROM THE ARCHIVES
Unlike past years, rather than a plain old summer job at a local restaurant while taking summer classes I wanted an internship that would enhance my academic ability. Luckily, I happened to be reading an article in the Geographical Review in the library when I saw that the AGS offices were located in downtown Manhattan. Through its website, I later found out that the AGS had internship positions available. Without hesitation I sent out my resume and cover letter to Mary Lynne as she later offered me an internship position.
Currently, I am a Geography and Political Science major at Hunter College right here in New York City so it was natural that Mary Lynne asked me to make a visit to the AGS offices. Lizzy Church, the intern at the time showed me around the offices and explained what type of tasks interns had to carry out. From my short visit to the AGS offices, I definitely knew I wanted to work here for the summer.
I must say I’ve learned a tremendous amount the last ten weeks I have worked here. From compiling an annotated bibliography on surface to air missiles to finding articles published in the Geographical Review, it was definitely a great learning experience. My most important project here was making an inventory of the treasured archives, dating back to 1851. It was a daunting task, as I had to go through tons of files with thousands of papers. Quite frankly, I was not sure how far I would go during my 2 ½ months. Much to the delight of Mary Lynne and Peter Lewis, the AGS archivist, I managed to finish roughly half the files in the archives room. While rummaging through the archives, I did come across some interesting materials. (See below for a few of my “finds.”*) The notes I compiled through the inventory are currently being put into a database making it easier for everyone to find what they are looking for in the archives.
I would like to thank everybody here at the AGS offices for making this a wonderful summer. My ‘love’ for Geography has only strengthened while at AGS and I will make it my personal goal to educate as many people as possible in the field of Geography. I cannot go another day without people asking me, “So as a Geography major, do you like working with maps?” They would definitely know the answer to the question if they worked at the AGS.
It was also a pleasure to work with the other interns, Jessica and Linda. We had some delightful conversations during our breaks. On another note, if you just want to talk about the stories in the news, go to Steve [Steven Cusumano, AGS Comptroller], he’ll definitely entertain you with his insightful views.
*A Note from the Archives
For the past ten weeks I have entrenched myself in the archives room here at the AGS offices. Even though it was a huge task, I must say I enjoyed the experience tremendously. The amount and quality of work that the AGS has done in its history was evident just from the sample I rummaged through. Here are some of the ‘goodies’ I found: Letters from former Presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover to name a few. Reading a letter from Dr. David Livingstone while he was on his journey in Africa was definitely time well spent. The major projects the AGS participated in such as the Juneau Ice Field Research Project, expeditions to the Antarctic and Arctic as well as other places were interesting to read. Even though I only was able to look through half of the files, my understanding of the AGS in the place of history in the world of geography has only increased. Whoever gets the chance to do what I did should jump on it immediately. It will only increase your interest in the field of Geography.
Unlike most past American Geographical Society interns, I am not in my last few years of college, nor have I declared Geography as my major-that is, yet. I have just completed my first year at Middlebury College in Vermont and out of all the courses I took, my Geography classes particularly fascinated me. I started to grapple with the idea of majoring in Geography or International Studies with a focus in Geography, but I just could not come to any conclusions. Throughout the spring I was therefore simultaneously trying to determine my major and engineer a worthwhile summer that would provide experience in a field that might give me some academic direction.
Living in Westchester County, just outside of New York City, I virtually had the world at my fingertips in terms of internship opportunities. I found the AGS internship on a whim while searching the Internet and thought that it would be an ideal introduction to the field of Geography and its application beyond the classroom. I thus jumped at the opportunity when Mary Lynne kindly offered it to me.
Working at AGS has surpassed my expectations. During my weeks at AGS I have had informative, enlightening conversations with the staff and have been exposed to geographical literature and events that have provided a sense of what happens in the geographical “real world”. Mary Lynne was always nice enough to share and expose me to new information and ideas. I was even surprised when I, myself, found an article about GIS in The Wall Street Journal written by the AGS president!
Over the summer I have worked on various projects such as writing mid-sized biographies of the explorers that signed the Fliers and Explorers’ Globe-most notably Robert Peary and Neil Armstrong. I undertook many other tasks, preparing letters and mailings to new Geography PhDs, completing various research tasks on the Internet and creating an e-mail database of all AGS media contacts. I additionally edited and printed up-to-date copies of the American Geographical Society Information Booklet and helped my fellow intern, Kouichi, sift through the AGS archives and create records of the holdings.
I am truly grateful for the wealth of information I have learned at AGS, which has undoubtedly underscored my plans to major in Geography. I want to thank everyone at AGS for giving me the opportunity to learn the practical uses of Geography and for making my summer so enjoyable. I have certainly developed a greater appreciation for Geography, which I hope to impart to others.
A VOLUNTEER EXTRAORDINAIRE
For almost six months this year, The American Geographical Society was blessed with the services of a most unusual and valuable volunteer.
Robert Mazzullo brought his Wall Street-level technical savvy to the AGS offices. While he was here, he upgraded, wired, converted, connected, virus-protected, repaired, and generally improved everything he touched. That included instructing the human beings making use of the technology.
Bob has had a long and successful career as a technical support person in the financial services industry. In early January, the firm he had been with for many years cut 40% of its staff in response to hard times in the industry. Bob was swept up in the unlucky 40%. Rather than stewing at home on unemployment insurance while chasing the few jobs that were out there somewhere, Bob decided to use his free time to help someone and to learn something about a new sector of the economy and society. He turned up on our doorstep and took on technical support for only six work stations instead of the forty he was used to handling. In between applying his expertise to our needs, Bob read constantly, dipping into our library and scanning the periodicals regularly coming in. He became acquainted with GIS and got a taste of all that the discipline of geography encompasses.
In Bob’s search for a job, through AGS he attended a number of events and meetings where he encountered not only geographers but other people working in various sectors he had not dealt with before.
Happy ending: In September Bob found a job back in the financial services sector at a salary commensurate with his former position and far above anything similar in the non-profit world. In the process, he found that potential employers, including the one that finally hired him, were impressed with the fact that he had volunteered his services while job-hunting and that he had learned something about a different sector while doing it.
Even happier ending: Bob says he found geography so fascinating that he would love to find a job that allowed him to explore the discipline and work in it.
We think we have not heard the last of him.
Mary Lynne Bird
Intern from Kazakhstan:
Azhara Mukhamejanova writes "I am a senior at the Ohio State University majoring in Computer Information Science. Two years ago I came to Columbus, Ohio from Almaty, Kazakhstan with a decision to learn as much as possible about computers. Since my arrival to the United States of America, I have been studying hard yet succeeding learning about a new subject matter in a foreign language. In spite of many challenges, I decided that I did not want to miss any opportunity of furthering my knowledge about computers through a practical experience in the field. I began my search for an internship with optimism. For someone who is new to the field and to the country, I looked for any experience that I could receive. When I learned about getting an internship at the American Geographical Society, I was absolutely thrilled to receive such opportunity. Being passionate about traveling, I packed my bags to go for ten weeks to work in New York.
I came to the American Geographical Society with knowledge of computers from academic textbooks and hardly any practical experience. Nevertheless, I was ready to utilize my skills and expand my knowledge. In the course of ten weeks, my internship responsibilities included, updating AGS database, improving and updating the list of travelers’ literature, preparing multiple letters for new Ph.D. subscribers, and improving functioning of some fax and copier machines. One of most interesting tasks concerned installation and updating of software and hardware of some of the AGS computers. Configuring it to work properly, troubleshooting, running special computer programs on daily basis (e.g., antivirus program), and taking computer specifications were also a part of my many duties. The most rewarding experience was to communicate with the office staff regarding some technical questions that they had for me.
At the end of my ten-week experience working for the American Geographical Society, I was fortunate to gain a lot of practical experience related to computers in addition to a greater knowledge about the company. I have come to learn many people at the American Geographical Society, whose dedication and passion for their jobs has inspired me. Their collaboration and effort has created an excellent work environment. The overall experience of working for such respectful and honored organization is going to stay forever in my heart. Having spent the whole summer in New York city, where I met so many interesting and different people, and discovered many more interesting places, I evolved and grew as a person with a greater vision and understanding of not only computers, but also of life."
Intern from England:
Simon Harris writes "I have always been interested in Geography but unfortunately my experience of the subject has always been limited to within the confines of high school in England. Too often I find myself defending the value of Geography as a discipline. The American Geographical Society provided a wonderful opportunity to actually explore a practical application of Geography. The society kindly offered me an internship at their offices on Wall Street in the summer of 2002.
I am grateful for everyone at the office providing me with interesting tasks that where also beneficial for myself. Whilst I was at the AGS I began to work on aspects of the membership database which in the process enabled me to become familiar with at least some of the important figures and institutions in the field of Geography. I am certain they will become increasingly useful as I continue to study the subject. At other times I was asked to undertake research. Often this involved working with old copies of the Geographical Review that proved to be fascinating. There is always a danger with any internship devolving into little more than the clichéd ‘filing and photocopying’. I am indebted to everyone at the AGS for making such an effort to provide such thoughtful tasks.
Whilst not working, I managed to explore the downtown area around Wall Street and to make use of the phenomenal library situated at the AGS offices. It is an astonishing collection of geographical literature and I am sure what I did manage to sample will prove critical in my upcoming university interviews.
I had a thoroughly enjoyable time with the AGS, not only in meeting interesting people from as far as Kazakhstan but also in finally getting an opportunity to delve into practical uses Geography."
Intern from Kenya:
Josef Oduwo, who is a Master of Science in Information Systems student at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, served as an intern at AGS from mid-October through mid-December in 2002. He applied his technical expertise to our computers, printers, postal equipment, network systems, and fax facilities. He also installed a new DSL line and spent many hours researching a wide variety of information sets on the web.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree (with honors) in mathematics and physics, also from the University of Nairobi, Josef trained at Devdata Ltd, a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. He worked for a year at the National Health Research and Development Centre in Kenya, as a System Administrator, and, most recently, spent a year as a web developer and System Administrator for a winery in Australia, while taking courses at the University of Melbourne.
Fluent in Kiswahili as well as English, Josef fit nicely into the cosmopolitan pattern at the AGS office, following immediately after an intern from England and one from Kazakhstan. He also seems to have fit well into the larger American scene, having developed a fondness for pizza by the time he left.
Josef’s congeniality and willingness to tackle every task sent his way were greatly appreciated and will long be remembered. We were fortunate to have him here and sorry to see him go.
Nicole Rapp from Berlin writes "This is my last week of a 10-week internship at the American Geographical Society in New York City. I was asked to write about my experiences as an intern at The American Geographical Society and mainly about the reasons I came here.
Currently I'm a graduate student of Geography and North American Studies in Berlin, Germany, and this 10-week internship in the field of Geography is part of my studies. I was free to decide whether I wanted to do this internship in Germany or
abroad, and I can say that the decision was very easy! As a student of Geography I'm not only interested in traveling but also in getting to know different cultures and I believe that the only way to really get to know and understand foreign
cultures is to be in that country for longer than just a 2-week vacation.
The reason I chose New York City is definitely my love of this city. Being an Au-pair in Morristown, New Jersey, and coming back to New York City several times as a "tourist" was a good way to get to know the area and the people that live here, but I realized that if I actually want to understand the
American culture, maybe I should say the New York culture, I have to be part of the working world. Another reason I chose New York City is my Master's thesis which is about "the Disneyfication of Times Square."
Even though I've been to New York several times before I thought being on the spot while doing research and writing my thesis would give me the possibility to keep track of what's going on in the Times Square area.
Early this year I started looking for internships in the US. I surfed all kinds of websites that offered information about internships abroad and I was forced to realize that working as an European intern in the US would mean a lot of sacrifices: not many companies want to assist in the process of
getting a working visa, the internships are usually unpaid, and it is very hard to find an affordable and decent place to stay in New York City.
But when I found the notice from the American Geographical Society, I was interested right away, and I knew all these sacrifices would be worth the outcome!
I started this internship on August 7, 2001, and while being at The American Geographical Society I tackled a wide variety of assignments: web research on different topics, updating the mailing and press lists, updating the travel database, researching and preparing hundreds of letters, invitations and special mailings to all new PHD's, and New York area
applied geographers, and writing several press releases on articles in the Geographical Review.
I will graduate from the Humboldt and Free Universities of Berlin, Germany in Spring 2002, with a M.A. in Geography and North American Studies. And I can honestly say that being an intern at The American Geographical Society in New York City was a very good experience and reinforced my decision to become a geographer.
To be working downtown on September 11, 2001, when the suicide attack on the World Trade Center took place was a horrible and scary experience but also a very helpful one, because I was once again "on the spot" to keep track of what was going on. It made me understand the American culture even better.
Over the past fifteen years, the Society
has had some forty interns, but the first to come from abroad was
Neil Smith, from Hertfordshire, England. Neil is an honors graduate
in geography from the University of Sheffield. In his application
for the internship, Neil wrote that he wanted to learn how "theoretical
geography" can be applied to the commercial and governmental environments.
So, at the AGS, Neil took particular interest in the Society's involvement
with people and institutions in the business and governmental communities,
and he met and spoke with several AGS Councilors and Fellows from
those sectors. In his internship, Neil tackled research of several
kinds: archival, web, interpersonal, and print. He undertook writing
assignments, updated databases, compiled and organized data for special
campaigns, and raised the never-high-enough computer literacy of the
AGS staff by several notches. Neil has returned to Welwyn Garden City
in the United Kingdom, but he has left his mark here. His unflappable
adaptability, competence, and enterprise created a mantra at AGS.
When a big new project is proposed, the staff is apt to say, "It's
possible---IF we get another Neil." Let's hope we do.
Darren Roth was a full-time intern
at the American Geographical Society.
A list of the projects Darren carried
out not only indicates his industry and competence but suggests
the range of experiences that AGS interns can expect.
...updated and augmented the master
list of travel literature, compiled from reviews in Ubique and the
Travel Program reading lists and used to prepare customized reading
lists for AGS Fellows
...researched and compliled a list of
more than 200 local financial companies to appoach for funding of
...composed an appeal letter,
generated it, and sent it to the above
...compiled new press lists (from
Internet sources in particular) and updated existing ones
...sent out press releases about
Geographical Review and Focus articles and June awards.
...compiled address list of 187 new
geography Ph.D.s and generated letters to them with a special offer on
introductory subscriptions to Geographical Review
...entered one-and-a-half year's
worth of contribution information into database
...compiled information on 560
applied geographers in greater New York and entered it into database
...prepared inventories on several
large collections of AGS publications
...updated the AGS's internet
software and augmented it with user tips
...researched corporations and
foundations that might fund several specific AGS projects
...compiled list of potential
advertisers to be carried in the upcoming Geographical Services
Directory in Focus
...researched price list of
advertising rates for such notices in other magazines
- Shari Binder, senior at Hofstra
University, with a double major in Environmental Studies and
- Sydney Brown, junior in sociology
and anthropology at the University of Chicago
- Victoria R. Gellis, senior in
political science and French at Emory University
- David Thomas Wrubel, graduate
student in geography at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte
- With flexibility and multiple
skills, Shari, Sydney, Victoria, and David worked on several tasks.
Shari took particular responsibility, however, for researching the
archives and organizing materials and artifacts for a permanent
exhibit in the society's new office. Sydney, Vicki, and Dave
organized the staff library, which was in chaotic state after the
Society's move at the end of December '96. The three of them
also researched and processed special endowment appeals to all
living Focus and Geographical Review authors.
- Dave, in addition, pursued new
voluntees for the Society's volunteer business teaching program and
visited independent bookstores to try to place Around the World
books. He also updated press lists and wrote press releases
about articles in recent issues of Focus and the Geographical
Review, a task he has offered to continue to fulfill in the coming
- Sydney also keyed into our database
several years' worth of contribution records.
- Stephanie Patafio, junior at Boston
College, and Sylvia Kwong, senior at the State University of New
York in Buffalo, worked at AGS on numerous projects. One of
Stephanie's assignments involved ethnic demographic research related
to marketing the "Around the World Program". Among
Sylvia's assignments was identification of Japanese investors and
companies with significant stake in specific U.S. communities or
- Deborah Pasquariellio, a senior
geography major at Villanova University, started the job of
recruiting volunteers to participate in AGS's business geography
teaching program. She also began demographic and ethnic
research connected with the Around the World Program.
- Philippe Ponasse, a 1992 geography
graduate from Rutgers University, picked up on those projects when
he began interning at AGS and expanded upon them significantly.
- Darcey Ann Olsen, who was completing
a master's degree in international education at New York University,
helped several members of the AGS staff expand their computer
competency. She also helped generate the considerably larger
number of grant applicant being filed.