Internship at Shaker Village combines history, preservation and academic research

Posted by Centre News in Internships, News 16 Apr 2015

Grace Anne Martin ’15 hops out of bed, gets ready for the day and makes a 20-minute drive across the rolling Kentucky countryside from Danville to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Ky.

The biology major from Spartanburg, S.C., is the preservation intern this spring at the 3,000-acre historical site.

“No two days at the preserve are the same,” Martin said. “The variety is exciting, because it allows me to experience a wide range of tasks.

“Thus far, I have helped with stone fence repairs, been exposed to possible future research dealing with cool and warm grasses, prescribed fire techniques and learned about Shaker Village’s history,” she continued. “I have also helped prepare for and have shadowed different nature tours that are led by my internship advisor, Ben Leffew.”

An internship or research opportunity is one of the three main tiers of the Centre Commitment. This spring, the College has 49 students participating in a total of 50 internships for academic credit, which is a record number of students for the spring and fall terms.

Martin is earning two academic credits for this internship, which is a new option for students this spring.

“The College is offering two or three credit internships for the first time this year,” Mindy Wilson, the assistant director of the Center for Career & Professional Development, explained. “The option for reduced hours is often easier to fit into a student’s schedule, and so this change may be responsible for the dramatic increase in internships this year.”

Martin met Leffew during her sophomore year when her behavioral ecology class shadowed bird banding stations at Shaker Village and then, again, when her conservation biology class helped plant running buffalo clover at the preserve. From there, the Center for Career & Professional Development helped her make connections to secure an internship, as well as arrange for independent research throughout the semester.

“Through my ‘Rivers and Adaptive Ecosystem Management’ course, I am doing a semester-long research project that involves monitoring the water quality on the Shawnee Run Creek and pond on the Shaker Village grounds,” she said.

The classes that Martin has taken at Centre have provided her with a solid foundation for her internship, a base that she is happy to build upon.

“I have been able to develop strong laboratory skills through my courses,” Martin said. “I’ve really enjoyed getting to apply some of the knowledge I’ve gained while at Centre in a real-world setting.

“I am hoping that my experience will be able to open doors for multiple career opportunities, whether through my work experience or maybe through Shaker Village connections.”

Learn more about academic internships at Centre.

Learn more about the Center for Career & Professional Development.

by Anne Evans