by Caroline Parson
For some, an internship can be one of the most effective and influential ways of gaining practical experience, increasing their knowledge, and defining their career goals. This semester, I have not only gained practical experience, increased my knowledge, and defined my career goals, but have defined myself and my future as well. Through my spring internship at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, I have solidified my career goals and achieved steps of working further with the National Park Service. My time at the Castillo has become my window of opportunity in determining what path I take after college.
Since continuing my work from the Fall semester of 2015, I have grown to love my internship and the visitors I connect to every day. Maintaining the same responsibilities from the previous semester, I carry out duties such as roving the facility’s grounds (safety patrolling), cleaning exhibits, providing assistance in “water battery” (crowd control located in moat during cannon demonstrations), and serving as a front-line form of communication for the fort where I greet visitors and answer their questions. In addition to these tasks, I also focus on historical interpretation and the many aspects of connecting guests to the Castillo. I put into action the skills and experience I gained last semester and continue to find new ways in which to interpret the fort’s various historic narratives. This Spring, I will be incorporating social media into one of the various outlets I use for interpretation.
While having the same internship two times in a row, I have benefitted from staying at the same location by strengthening the relationships I made with the staff last year as well as gaining the chance to work on more advanced projects and events than last semester. The Castillo de San Marcos and the phenomenal staff there have provided me such a great window of opportunity to further my public history and interpretation experience as well as confirm my decision to work for the National Park Service in the future.