History major Rebekah Denz receives internship at National Archives

Lisa Eikenburg

Rebekah Denz, whose career goal is to become an archivist, has landed a dream internship with the National Archives and Records Administration, a massive repository of government agency documents, in College Park, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C.

The primary assignment to be undertaken by the junior History major from West Seneca, will be to assist in the processing of records of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and United States armed forces in the Western Pacific during World War II. Additional duties may involve processing naval operations and United States Marine Corps records.

Processing of records, Ms. Denz explained, is the intellectual organization and boxing of documents so they will be available for future researchers.

David Kinkela, associate professor and chair of the Department of History, indicated Denz was “super excited” to be accepted into the program. National Archives internships, which Dr. Kinkela says are highly competitive, offer exceptional opportunities for students majoring in History, Political Science and Library and Information Science. Denz is also pursuing a minor at Fredonia in Museum Studies, a program that prepares students for professional careers in history, art, anthropological or science/natural history museums. Dr. Kinkela noted that this program greatly contributed to Denz' successful application.

The daughter of Daniel and Reneé Denz said she could not imagine, as a first-year student at Fredonia, that she would be handling federal government historical documents and walking the halls of the National Archives as an undergraduate. “Now all I can think about is getting down to Washington, D.C., to start my summer adventure!”

Dr. Kinkela, who has done research at National Archives, says “it’s critically important for researchers to have access to documents. Rebekah wants to become an archivist, so she’s using the skills that she’s learned as a History major and applying them in a very direct manner.”

Last summer, Denz served a history internship at Chautauqua Institution, where she compiled information on activities, from 2000 to 2017, of the International Order of King’s Daughters and Sons. She also spent one day each week working with the staff at the institution’s Oliver Archives, and also attended a workshop taught by archivist Jonathan Schmitz.

“I found that a lot of people just want to know history and holding information that they are looking for is important to them,” Denz explained. “This made me want to help researchers find history that they crave to know and understand.”

Denz, who has a 4.0 GPA, is president of the History Club and enrolled in the Honors Program, and was also accepted for another 2018 internship, with the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington. She is believed to be the first Fredonia student to be awarded a National Archives internship.

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