Intern Spotlight: Elena Vara
Internship Offers Real-World Humanities Experience
What is it like to be an intern at the Humanities Research Institute (HRI)? We sat down with a few of our student workers to find out. We spoke with Elena Vara (Global Studies & Spanish), HRI's David F. Prindable undergraduate intern for 2021-2022.
Interview by Sarah Boghossian, HRI Communications and Outreach Intern
Why did an internship at HRI interest you?
I was interested in the David F. Prindable internship because I wanted to have professional work experience in the humanities. When looking at the description of what the job entailed, some of my past work experiences as a social media specialist as well my academic writing seemed applicable. I am working toward two humanities degrees, so it is a great opportunity to see the diversity of opportunities that my degrees offer.
What is your favorite part of working with HRI?
I really love coming into the office every week. Everyone I work with is so friendly and willing to help me in any way they can. I talk to them about career and life advice, and it has been helpful to talk to people with a similar educational background about what options are available, even trying to navigate the real world in a safe place. The skills I have been able to learn go beyond the projects that I am working on, including learning how to write in a business setting, networking, and problem solving.
If you could give one piece of advice to people interested in working with HRI, what would it be?
Ask questions. This goes for anything from the projects you might be assigned to in day-to-day life, or just to get a new perspective on things. Everyone here is more than willing to help you in any way they can.
What are some current projects that you are working on?
Right now, we are working on undergraduate engagement, so we are planning a day on the quad. We will be asking undergraduates to take a survey to see what they would like to see from HRI. In exchange, they have the chance to win a few prizes. Another side of the undergraduate engagement has been interviewing other HRI interns, so we can show off the great work they are doing.
How has working with HRI influenced your future career goals?
What has been interesting to see was how many options there are for humanities majors from all disciplines. When I was getting offers for internships this summer, I went to Alaina, Erin, and Bridget to get advice about what I should do and what would be a good fit for me. One of the best pieces of advice they gave me was to do things that felt true to me and always be open to opportunities. There are always new doors being opened to you with every decision you make.