Name: Beck Morawski
Class Year: 2021
Major: History of Art
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Internship Organization: Bryn Mawr Special Collections
Job Title: Student Curator of an Exhibit on the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry
Endowed Internship Funding Award: Ellen A. Michelson P2009 Internship Fund
What’s happening at your internship?
I spent the summer researching documents in the College Archives to begin to assemble a digital exhibit on an important if somewhat lesser-known element of Bryn Mawr’s history—a summer school founded in 1921 that allowed women working in factories and manual labor jobs to access a college education during a time that that was otherwise impossible for them. I delved through many folders of correspondences between members of the administration, alongside digital databases of student photographs, to construct a perspective of an element of the College that was extremely special and important to both those who participated in it and to larger historical movements toward workers’ rights.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I have worked with Special Collections since the summer after my freshman year, and I was eager to tackle the challenge of a research project that could be shared with the Bryn Mawr community upon its conclusion. While I had to complete my internship remotely, I was especially excited to get to “return” to campus in the form of the vivid historical descriptions we have in the archives!
Working remotely for the first time? What has that experience been like for you?
This was my first time working remotely. Previously, my work with archival material was an experience that was usually done in person, and it relied heavily on the tactility of the objects, of the experience of handling history with my own two hands. This summer gave me a chance to shed those preconceived notions and explore Bryn Mawr’s digitized collections in a way I hadn’t before. It was exciting to get to experience Bryn Mawr through the eyes of someone who walked through the same buildings a century before me, even while I was sitting hundreds of miles away from Philadelphia. With a shift to a digital exhibit, I also got to learn new skills in creating a website and organizing information for the digital reader, rather than a visitor to a traditional showcase of historical artifacts. Working remotely allowed me to reassess what it meant to study history in new and exciting ways.
What is most rewarding about your internship?
I was really surprised at how rewarding it was to see that the love current Bryn Mawr students have for their time on campus was shared all through the history of the institution. Every student whose story I read was so passionate about what their participation in the program meant to them, and how they wanted to work to make it the best version it could be. Seeing these firsthand accounts and getting to share them with the community felt important in this turbulent time, when so many of us are fondly remembering our own experiences in the dorms and among the campus greens.
Visit the Summer 2020 Internships page to read more student stories.