Student Research & Internships

The History Department is pleased to offer a variety of research and internship opportunities

Summer research and internships are a fantastic way to:

  • Conduct original research that feeds into your senior comprehensive thesis topic
  • Develop fine-tuned research skills
  • Build your CV for job and graduate school applications
  • Gain experience and establish professional networks by working with art museums, historical archives, cultural institutions, and community organizations
Below are the various internship and research options available through the History Department. These include:

Autry Museum Internship Program

The History Department at Occidental College, with the support of an endowment from the Pacific Railroad Company, sponsors two nine-month paid internships at the Autry National Center for students seeking experience in public history, communications, exhibition design, and archives and libraries. The Autry National Center is an intercultural history center that explores the diverse experiences of the people of the American West. The Autry uses its extensive collections to provide year-round exhibitions, public programs, scholarly research, publications and educational services. At the heart of the Autry is the abiding belief that we can best shape the future by promoting a deeper understanding of the interwoven histories and diverse cultural tapestry of the American West.

As interns, students will strengthen academic and research skills while gaining valuable hands-on experience. They will be able to identify potential career pathways in public history and the arts that are often dependent on building professional networks. Interested students should demonstrate knowledge of, and interest in, history, fine arts (visual and/or performing arts), and cultural expression; excellent written and verbal skills; and the ability to work on projects with limited supervision. Students should also be prompt and reliable. Knowledge of specific computer programs and social media tools may be required for performance of duties.

All Occidental College students are invited to apply (must be juniors or seniors during the year of the internship). Internship opportunities and application deadlines will be announced in the middle of the spring semester.

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Andrew W. Mellon-Funded Summer Research Fellowships

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this fellowship offers students the opportunity to conduct original, arts, humanities, and/or social science-centric research that analyzes and deepens their understanding of issues central to our local community. Projects proposing collaboration with community partners (community groups, archives, museums, etc.) and/or local arts practitioners are highly encouraged.

Faculty mentorship will help students to develop practical skills in hands-on research and community-based learning while engagement in public scholarship will allow students to connect their education to productive careers in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

The Mellon student fellows will participate in the ten-week Occidental Summer Research Program offered by the Undergraduate Research Center (URC) and will present their research at the conference at the end of the program. They will also receive a taxable research stipend for ten weeks of full-time work, subsidized on-campus housing and meal plan (based on financial need), and a small budget for research expenses.

All Occidental first-year, sophomore, and junior students are invited to apply. The call for applications will be announced late in the fall semester. Funding decisions are announced in the spring semester, prior to spring break.

Interested students may contact Rithika Mukerjee, Mellon Grants Administrator, at rmukerjee@oxy.edu.

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Billington Student Research Fellowship

The Billington Student Research Fellowship in U.S. History funds two summer research fellowships for undergraduates conducting archival/primary source research in U.S. History. This is a competitive fellowship, and History majors who have completed their junior year will be given some preference in the process. American Studies majors are also encouraged to apply for this fellowship. All projects related to the history of the United States from its colonial era to the present are eligible. The Billington Student Fellows participate in the ten-week Summer Research Program offered by the URC and present their research at the culminating conference. Students also receive stipends ($4,500 for ten weeks), subsidized on-campus housing and meal plan (depending on financial need), and a small budget (up to $500) for research expenses. Faculty sponsors who work with students over the summer will receive a stipend of $1,000. 

The deadline for the Billington Student Research Fellowship is 4 pm on Monday, February 11, 2019. Submit application cover form, project proposal, personal statement, budget, and faculty mentor’s recommendation to the URC office, located in the Library/Academic Commons, Main Floor (Old Wing): Room 253A (entrance through Cumberland Reading Room). Additional information and application materials will be posted on the URC and History Department Websites.

Please direct any questions about the Billington Student Research Fellowship to Professor Sharla Fett, History Department at sfett@oxy.edu.

Billington Fellowship Guidelines

Recommendation Form

Application Cover sheet

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Institute for the Study of Los Angeles (ISLA)

The Institute for the Study of Los Angeles (ISLA) aims to collect, analyze, and share the diverse social and cultural history of the L.A. region, with a particular emphasis on the multicultural heritage of Northeast Los Angeles. In conjunction with the Undergraduate Research Center, the ISLA offers two student summer research fellowships. Two student internships are also available in library special collections and with a community partner organization. Through oral history projects and fieldwork across the disciplines, students will develop essential research skills with primary materials and, at the same time, develop their own relationships with community members.

Interested students may contact Prof. Jeremiah Axelrod, History Department, at axelrod@oxy.edu.

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Undergraduate Research Center's Summer Research Program(SRP)

History majors are also eligible for the ten-week Occidental Summer Research Program offered by the Undergraduate Research Center (URC). Visit the URC website or contact urc@oxy.edu for more information.

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Recent History Research Projects

Billington:

  • Gregory Kleinman: Holocaust Survivors and their Transition into 1950s America
  • Rosa Pleasant: Septima Clark: Radical Education and the Civil Rights Movement
  • Jack Shofield: Cuba and the United States: Homonationalism and False Narratives

Mellon:

  • Alex Lee: Poetry as Protest: Angel Island Detainee Poetry and Everyday Resistance, 1910-1940
  • Rosie Yasukochi: “I had never been there, yet I had a memory for it”: A Yonsei Guide to Japanese Internment

Other:

  • Laura Chun: Amerasian Homecoming Act: A Look into the Cold War and America's Reaction to the Vietnam War
  • Kil Chung: The 1862 Coolie Trade Act: Ending American’s Global Coolie Trade
  • Belén Moreno: Labor, Identity, and Resistance in California's Agricultural Industry, 1900-1930
  • Caroline Silverstein: The Rise of the Machine in Industrial Architecture

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