Name: Leah Baer
Class Year: 2019
Internship Placement: Gettysburg
Job Title: Interpretive Intern
Location: Gettysburg National Military Park
What’s happening at your internship?
Gettysburg is currently preparing for the much anticipated battle anniversary. Thousands of people come to Gettysburg National Military Park on the first three days of July in order to partake in programs that delve into the most complex parts of the campaign and battle. For the anniversary, I am depicting Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Füger of Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery, so I have to write an outline about his accomplishments during the battle to tell visitors throughout the day. I am also developing my Third Day Program, which discusses Pickett’s Charge and its role in the battle and overall war. For the program, I am focusing on the role of immigrant soldiers in the Union Army, specifically on the third day of the battle, and their pivotal role in helping General George Meade achieve this necessary victory.
Why did you apply for this internship?
This internship requires me to apply all the skills I acquired as a history major on a grand scale. Gettysburg National Military Park receives thousands of visitors per day, and I wanted to play a role in helping people comprehend the complex and tumultuous events that occurred here and how the universal themes embedded in the battle still resonate today.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
My favorite part of the internship is helping with the children’s program conducted at the park. The program, called Join the Army, teaches children what the typical soldier experienced during the army as well as allow them to learn some commands and march around the battlefield. The children that participate are always really excited to be at the park, and they are so inquisitive about Gettysburg and the soldiers that fought in this major battle. I also learned from conducting this program that children will absorb the information we tell them if they are allowed to participate and mimic everything we previously told them.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?
The most substantial challenge I faced during my internship was garnering public speaking skills. The amount of people that attend the program changes every time, so I could be speaking to four people one day and 35 the next. The first time I presented my Third Day Program to the public I stumbled a lot and constantly looked down at my notes to remind myself what I had to say next. I practiced several times, and finally reached the point where I was confident with what I was telling the audience. I had to remind myself that the audience wants me to succeed and their goal is not to make me stumble with random innocuous questions.