The Civil War Institute’s Brian C. Pohanka Internship Program offers Gettysburg College students a special opportunity to do paid work on the frontlines of history, giving public tours of iconic historic sites, leading children’s programs, gaining hands-on experience with original artifacts, creating multimedia products, and conducting independent historical research.
Selected students receive a $1,500 stipend from the CWI and free on-site housing at their respective parks/museums. Applicants need not be history majors or specialists in the Civil War era, although good communication skills, substantial interest in the past, and a desire to share that interest with others are essential. The program is open to all matriculated Gettysburg College students, regardless of class year.
Established in 2011 thanks to the generosity of the John J. Pohanka Family Foundation, the Pohanka Internship Program supports long-term partnerships between Gettysburg College and a wide range of National Parks and museums. Interns participate in a rigorous interview process, and are offered valuable opportunities for self-reflection, networking, and resume building.
SUMMER 2015 PARTNERS INCLUDE:
Pohanka Interns come away from their summer experiences with a greatly expanded awareness of the career options available to students with academic training in history and increased commitment to engaging public audiences in meaningful dialogue about the past. Many have gone on to enroll in graduate programs in history, public history, and historic preservation. Former interns have pursued graduate work at West Virginia University, University of Massachusetts, UNC Greensboro, Eastern Illinois University, American University, West Georgia University, Roger Williams University and the University of Louisville, and several have been hired as seasonal rangers at National Park Service sites. For an example of student work produced under the Pohanka Program, please see Melanie Fernandes' 2014 video for Boston African American National Historic Site.
During the summer of 2014, 17 Gettysburg College students held Pohanka positions up and down the East Coast. Throughout their time in the field, many reflected on their experiences “doing history in public” on the pages of CWI’s blog, The Gettysburg Compiler. Click on a student’s name to read about his/her individual experiences, or click here to read the introduction to the series:
Bryan Caswell ’15, Special Collections & Archives, Musselman Library
Jordan Cinderich '15, Gettysburg National Military Park
Rebecca Duffy ’16, Petersburg National Battlefield
Melanie Ferdandes ’16, Boston African American National Historic Site
Sean Hough '16, Manassas National Battlefield Park
Matt LaRoche '17, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Tyler Leard ’16, Richmond National Battlefield Park
Megan McNish '16, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
Emma Murphy ’15, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
Thomas Nank ’16, Antietam National Battlefield
Abby Rolland ’15, Stratford Hall Plantation
Jacob Ross '15, Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
Elizabeth Smith '17, Andersonville National Historic Site
Meg Sutter ’16, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
Brian Pohanka was a graduate of Sidwell Friends School and Dickinson College, where he majored in history. His passion for 19th and 20th-century military history and Civil War reenacting was legendary, and he was widely recognized as a leading authority on the Battle of Little Bighorn. The internship program, which makes it possible for students to spend their summers at sites that played a huge role in Pohanka’s life, cultivating conversations with public audiences, is a fitting tribute to his legacy.
Brian C. Pohanka (1955-2005)