by Anna Morales
Before this summer, I was extremely eager to begin my first internship to gain real-world professional exposure. I could not wait to shake the hands of those in my cohort and work alongside them in the field. However, as the pandemic swept the globe in March, like many other college students I had to reevaluate my expectations. After working as a remote intern with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ (SCDNR) Heritage Trust Program, I have found that my expectations have been exceeded. This position has given me a solid foundation of skill sets in anthropology, and newfound confidence while following my career path.
SCDNR’s Heritage Trust Program is an organization that preserves and protects the natural and cultural properties within the state (and is our nation’s very first program to do so!) The organizer of Heritage Trust’s internship program, Meg Gaillard, reconstructed the internship in order to accommodate the unanticipated circumstances. This summer’s group of Heritage Trust interns ranged from Ph.D. students working remotely from South Carolina to rising college freshmen soon to study archaeology at Princeton University. As archaeologists and anthropologists, we all had to creatively navigate our remote responsibilities as we washed artifacts, conducted research, attended webinars, crafted K-12 lesson plans, and more from home.
With this internship being entirely virtual, our interns had to learn to network and create unique workspaces to complete tasks. Microsoft Teams made it possible for us to learn about one another’s unique interests and attend webinars with professionals across the field.
“I know a lot of people don’t like working from home, but I actually really enjoy the flexibility.”
-Jessica Cooper, SCDNR Archaeology Intern
Washing artifacts from home seemed like a daunting task initially, but interns did a great job creating archaeological labs in their living rooms and bedrooms. Check out these cool finds that our interns came across while processing artifacts from SCDNR’s Fort Fredrick Heritage Preserve and Pockoy Island Shell Ring excavations.
One BONEus of remote work was getting to spend a little extra time with our pets. Studying archaeology at home brought a whole new meaning to the excuse “my dog ate my homework.”
All in all, I can say that although this experience was not what I expected my first internship to be, I wouldn’t change a thing. Walking away from SCDNR’s summer internship, I can say that I have gained a new sense of confidence as an archaeologist and have met some amazing people along the way. I look forward to maintaining the relationships I have formed through this and continuing to search for opportunities with SCDNR.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on South Carolina Wild are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect official policies, positions, or endorsements of activity or products by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.