State-sponsored internships offer two-month experience

By Tom Chadar

An internship with a state agency may not mean ruining your summer by wearing a business suit and working from nine to five every day.

Pamela Ottoson, senior history and pre-law major, has completed the Michael Curry internship with the Illinois Department of Transportation this summer.

According to the internship program coordinators in Springfield, the Michael Curry Summer Internship program offers college juniors, seniors and graduate students an opportunity to work in one of the agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor for two months, from mid-June to mid-August.

“(The internship) was the best experience I ever had,” Ottoson said. Before any road is built in the state, a research group goes to visit the site to meet the farmers and people of the area. A thorough archaeological survey is conducted in order to properly preserve historical objects. “On Fridays we’d go out to walk fields. You have to find out what that was (before) because you don’t want to ruin it,” Ottoson said.

The internship was varied by work in the Center of Archeology in Kanesville, Ill.

“The museum is a teaching center which draws school kids from all over the country,” Ottoson said. “We helped them to cope with the Illinois River flood. We spent two days piling up sandbags.”

She said the rainy summer helped in the hunt for artifacts. “When it rains a lot, it brings (the artifacts) all up again, the rain clears everything, so you can hunt for fragments of Indian pottery,” Ottoson said.

“The highlight of the summer was an arrowhead I found. We were walking, and all of a sudden I noticed something bright. I picked it up, and it came out to be an arrowhead which can be attributed to as early as the era before Christ,” she added.

Positions for the internship are available in Springfield and Chicago.

The internship is open to all residents of Illinois who have not previously participated in the program. They are expected to submit a completed application form, college transcript and a brief essay.