The Cline Library and Special Collections and Archives would like to introduce the 2016 Elizabeth M. and PT Reilly Summer Intern, Ms. Alexandra Morris. Alix is 2015 University of Akron graduate (go Zips!) and a current NAU public history student . She brings a wealth of experience and insight to the Special Collections and Archives, both from her experience and education. By way of introduction, she volunteered to answer a few question we posed her that we thought might introduce her to the Cline Library and beyond…
Tell us a little bit about your background?
I was born and raised in a tiny rural township outside of Cleveland, Ohio. I discovered a passion for history through visits to museums, and decided to make history my major in college. In 2015, I graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts, and was accepted into the graduate history program at Northern Arizona University. My focus is the American West with a secondary emphasis in public history.
Why did you apply for this internship and what do you hope to gain from it?
I applied for this internship because I was excited by the prospect to create an exhibit that celebrates the 50th anniversary of NAU becoming a university. I wanted to be involved with bringing this story to life in a way that would interest and inspire viewers. I hope to gain skills in all aspects of exhibit development, but especially in interpreting history for different audiences.
What skills and experience do you bring to this internship that will help you be successful?
Organization and time management are two very important skills that I bring to this internship. I have technical skills including HTML coding and photo editing, as well as a creative eye. I have a number of experiences that will help me in this internship, including working on the Louie’s Legacy Mountain Campus QR Code project, which is a virtual exhibit exploring the history of Northern Arizona University buildings. I have also worked on a variety of exhibits, including scanning and then selecting and transcribing Civil War quartermaster documents to be featured on Summit Memory, a website celebrating Summit County, Ohio history. I researched a collection of almost 300 antique dolls for a historical society, and then photographed them and created a book detailing their history and historical significance. I have also created several mini exhibits for classes. I am looking forward to developing the skills in exhibit creation that I have started to build.
How do you see this internship supporting your student success and future career goals?
This internship is a fantastic opportunity for me to build skills in my field, to create professional relationships, and to work on a project that is directly related to the kind of work I hope to do in the future. My career goal is to interpret history for a public audience through creation of exhibits or public education, and this internship gives me a valuable opportunity to learn and develop the skills necessary to be successful in my chosen field.
What aspect of Northern Arizona University history most interests you?
While there are many different aspects of Northern Arizona University history I find interesting, I think the most fascinating is how students and alumni have created, developed, and interpreted their experiences at NAU. From starting and maintaining traditions over the years, writing letters to newspapers, protesting, and creating a sense of community through clubs, organizations and athletics, among many other outlets, students have helped shape the University and the meaning of their place within it. I think this is the most interesting aspect because this sense of meaning helps create what NAU is, and what it means to people to belong here.
You’re relatively new to NAU and Flagstaff, so what aspect of Flagstaff will you be looking forward to this summer?
I am very much looking forward to hiking and mountain biking. It is exciting to be in a place where I can walk out my door and be on a trail within minutes.
Dog or cat?
Cat. Although I like the idea of dogs, they are a little too high-maintenance for grad life.
We’re so excited to have Alix with us this summer as the Reilly internship. She’ll be developing the story for our exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the institution as a university, which we all know occurred on May 1, 1966.
Please join me in welcoming Alix to Special Collections and Archives and the Cline Library. She’s in the department frequently for the Louie’s Legacy project, so if you see her, say hello!