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Appleton to intern at Smithsonian Institution this summer

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Kasha Appleton ’20 enjoys being able to touch history.

Thanks to an internship she secured, the Monmouth College student will touch a lot more of it this summer.

A history major from Chicago, Appleton will spend nine weeks in Washington, D.C., interning at the Smithsonian Institution to help archive cultural history artifacts.

“Primary sources give us something that secondary sources just can’t,” said Appleton, who has also worked the past two years in the College’s Hewes Library. “I enjoy working with documents that were created in a different time and wondering ‘What was the thought process when this was created?’ I enjoy how they can be used to teach us something new.”

Lynn Daw, who serves as the College’s archivist and technical services librarian, taught Appleton last spring in an archives management course through the College’s public history track.

“Kasha is THAT student,” said Daw. “The one who asks the key questions that lead class discussions in a whole new direction and advance the entire course forward. In her final project and presentation, she excelled at the goal of promoting and advocating for her archival program.”

Daw said Appleton has the “adaptability, curiosity and interpersonal talents” to excel in the intern position.

Daw provided a letter of recommendation to help Appleton secure the Smithsonian post, and so did history professor Amy de Farias, who has instructed Appleton in several cultural history courses, including an independent research project this year on black feminism.

“Her examination of race from different cultural and national paradigms enables her to come up with fresh interpretations,” said de Farias. “This is an important skill for a history major and a graduate of a liberal arts college.”

In particular, said de Farias, “Kasha is dedicated to highlighting forgotten episodes of African-American history, and especially women, in order to create a type of a counter-narrative.”

This summer’s experience at the Smithsonian Institution will mark Appleton’s second straight summer away from home; she worked last year at the University of Nebraska, researching “old habeas corpus petitions.”

This summer, Appleton will work at the Smithsonian from June 3-August 9. She said she’ll not only enjoy her work, but the opportunity to “wander around” and see all the other museums at the institution.

“It will be fun to be behind the scenes,” she said. “It’s going to be really interesting to learn all the different techniques they have for archiving.”

Appleton was initially interested in a pre-law track, but through her work at the College, her coursework and her internships, she said she is now focused on a career working in a museum or library.