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Internship to Fellowship (I2F) Program

The Program

The Smithsonian’s Internship to Fellowship (I2F) Program is a two-tiered learning experience designed to introduce recent college graduates to the diversity of career opportunities within the fields of museum sciences and support. Selected candidates embark on a 15-week internship where they are placed with a mentor and spend time learning about the Smithsonian, it’s facilities, collections, staff, and it’s role in the global museum and research fields.

During their internship, interns participate in bi-weekly cohort programming that gives them a broader understanding of where their placement sits in the larger context of the Smithsonian, and explore the many facets of the museum profession through seminars, other cohort members, and site visits.

As part of the program, all interns will develop a fellowship proposal. Interns will work with their mentors and programming staff to conceive a project, research Smithsonian resources needed to complete the project, and write a proposal. Interns interested in continuing with the second half of the program will submit their proposals to a review committee.

Interns with accepted proposals will be welcomed as fellows who work with their chosen advisors to complete their independent project over the course of their 15-week fellowship. Fellows also participate in bi-weekly cohort programming that will focus on career skills and planning. The program will conclude with a symposium where fellows present their work.

In 2019, this program is being offered in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center (for more information go here) and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (for more information go here).


The Cohort Experience

The inaugural I2F Cohort arrived in Fall 2018 as interns and embarked on their fellowships in Spring 2019. The 11 member cohort explored DC and the Smithsonian through I2F Cohort experiences and on their own. You can read more about their experience in this blog post.

I2F Cohort: the Beginning and the End. Photo credit: I2F

The 2019-2020 I2F Cohort

  • Ashlynn Principe is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi where she received her B.A. in International Studies, specializing in social and cultural identity, with a minor in Spanish. Her research at UM focused on historical memory, identity construction, and ethnic minority representation. Outside of coursework, Ashlynn spent a lot of time volunteering and working with kids and student organizations to promote language acquisition and cultural awareness. She hopes to continue working with community outreach/engagement and education during her time with Gale Robertson in Family Programs at the National Museum of Natural History.
  • Aurora Trejo is a passionate conservationist and aspiring wildlife ecologist. While obtaining her degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Merced, she was inspired by the biodiversity and adaptations displayed throughout the planet and strives to protect wildlife through science. She looks forward to learning new molecular techniques to understand the population health of Chilean river otters, while exploring different parks and museums in D.C. As a Latina in science, she is proud to represent Los Angeles, CA, and Mexico while continuing to make academia and STEM more inclusive to people of different backgrounds. She will be interning with Jesús Maldonado & Lilly Parker at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.
  • Carolina Meurkens is a community organizer, educator, and artist from New York City. She is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, where she majored in German Literature and minored in Violin Performance. Carolina is also an alumna of the Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House, where she completed a writing fellowship in fiction. Since graduation, Carolina has taught creative writing to middle and high school students at the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, D.C. Carolina is also a co-founder of An Indivisible Art Collective, an arts education non-profit. She will be working with Cristina Diaz-Carrera on programming for the 2020 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on Northeastern Brazilian Culture.
  • Celine Romano grew up in Italy and recently graduated from the University of Warwick, where she received her B.A. in History. Her work experience in the cultural sector alongside her academic interests in race studies have informed an inquisitive approach to public history and performative representation. Celine’s research has focused on critical whiteness studies and hopes to learn how different narratives of identity are presented and understood in society. She will be working with Miriam Doutriaux in the Collections Department of the Anacostia Community Museum.
  • Clara de Pablo grew up in Wisconsin and Chicago and recently graduated from Yale University, where she majored in American Studies. At Yale, her research centered on representations of women in visual media and propaganda during the 1940s–50s. In her spare time, she was a volunteer coach for the Girls on the Run afterschool program, and recently worked as a leader for the Mexican intercultural exchange program, Jóvenes en Acción. Clara was a former intern at the National Museum of American History and is excited to return to the Smithsonian. She will be working on the exhibit, Girlhood: It’s Complicated, with Melinda Machado in the Office of Communications and Marketing at the National Museum of American History.
  • Daisy A. Jaime grew up in Granger, Washington. She graduated with a B.A. in History and Archaeological Sciences with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University of Washington. While there, Daisy was a part of a community-based archaeology project and conducted her own independent research. These experiences greatly influenced her interest in social/political identity forming from ideologies, movements, and material culture. She is interested in further looking at how political ideologies from Latin America express themselves within a U.S. context. She will be interning with Tsione Wolde-Michael and Patricia Arteaga at the National Museum of American History.
  • Elka Lee-Shapiro graduated from Oberlin College in 2018 with a B.A. in art history and East Asian studies. At Oberlin, she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and curatorial assistant in Asian art at Oberlin College’s Allen Memorial Art Museum, where she organized the spring 2019 exhibition, Centripetal/Centrifugal: Calibrating an Asian American Art. She is committed to foregrounding questions of identity and access in cultural institutions, and currently works at the Delaware Art Museum and Mural Arts Philadelphia to coordinate arts-based educational programs. She will be interning with Ashley Meadows in Public Engagement at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
  • Haneul Sim is a recent graduate from Yale University, where they received a B.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, with a focus on Asian American history. Their senior thesis, “‘A Peculiar but Revolting Kind of Slavery’: Chinese Prostitutes, Labor, and Citizenship in Post-Emancipation U.S., 1868-1882” examines how the policing of Chinese prostitution in late 19th century U.S. sought to regulate labor, as well as gender and sexuality, and how such policing restructured the meaning of citizenship post-Emancipation. They hope to pursue their research interest through this fellowship, as well as through a graduate program in the future. They will be working with Sam Vong at the National Museum of American History.
  • Jade Levandofsky was born in Los Angeles and grew up in NE Ohio. Jade studied Anthropology at American University with a focus on Linguistics, Postcolonial studies and Queer theory. After completing ethnographic research related to activism and language use in Amsterdam in 2017, they gained an interest in Museum and Archival studies. Since graduating in 2018, Jade has interned with the Recovering Voices Initiative at the National Museum of Natural History as well as presented their work at AU’s Public Anthropology Conference and the Lavender Languages Institute. They would like to apply their Linguistic Anthropology background to their Archival studies to expand on the idea of Decolonizing the museum and how archival spaces affect learning and bias retention. They will be interning with Jeremy Munro at the National Museum of African Art.
  • Jaimee-Ian Rodriguez is a scientist and activist from New York. He graduated with a B.A. in Physics from CUNY Hunter College and has conducted astrophysical research at the Center for Computational Astrophysics and the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard-Smithsonian. Throughout college, he worked with several Asian American political organizations to combat issues ranging from human trafficking to gentrification. Moving on from undergrad, Jaimee aims to combine his passion for science and social justice to advocate for an ecologically mindful future. He will be working as a science communication intern with Karen Osborne and Allen Collins in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the National Museum of Natural History.
  • Kara Chen is from Southern California and graduated in May 2019 cum laude from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) with a degree in History. During her senior year, Kara interned at Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, maintained by the National Archives and Record Administration, where she assisted in record holdings maintenance, writing descriptions for videos, and sorting of donated documents which earned her an “assisted” title on the collection’s completed finding aid. In August 2019, Kara will start her journey to become an archivist by obtaining her Masters of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University’s School of Information. She will be working with Philip LoPiccolo in the Smithsonian’s Office of Government Relations.
  • Karen Adjei is a graduate from Northwestern University, where she majored in History and minored in Asian American Studies. For the past year, she enjoyed rediscovering the area at home and seeking out opportunities to explore careers in museums, libraries, and archives. She previously interned with the Smithsonian, D.C. Public Library, and the Germantown Historical Society. Karen hopes to further develop her interests in restorative justice and information accessibility. She will be interning with Tsione Wolde-Michael & Patricia Arteaga at the National Museum of American History.
  • London Ruff grew up in Southern California and pursued Volcanology in college, with a specific interest in Icelandic volcanoes. She recently completed an internship at the National Museum of Natural History which inspired her to continue her work at the museum towards diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility through the I2F program. In her spare time, London volunteers at children’s hospitals where she performs and teaches magic for the kids. She will be interning with Tracey Cones at the National Museum of Natural History.
  • Raquel Wetzell is a native of the Washington D.C. Metro Area who recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with B.S. degrees in Biology and Anthropology. She has studied abroad in Italy, Greece, Australia, and Qatar. Throughout her undergraduate career, she made it a personal passion of hers to help other underrepresented minorities—particularly in STEM—have access to similar opportunities. Her research has previously focused on aquatic ecology and she has a strong interest in pursuing this into her graduate studies. She will be interning with Jennifer Snead and Blake Ushijima at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce.
  • Raven Benko is a Colorado native who moved to the west coast to study marine biology and environmental policy at Western Washington University. She was a recipient of the NOAA Hollings Scholarship and has conducted research on the responses of larval and juvenile fish to environmental stressors and the impacts of human disturbance on harbor seal abundance and behavior. Raven is a passionate advocate for science-based policy and science communication and aims to build her career at the science-policy interface. She will be learning to spread awareness of the amazing research and information generated by the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the National Museum of Natural History under Karen Osborn and Allen Collins.
  • Sydney Hamamoto is a recent graduate of Grinnell College where she majored in English Literature and History along with a Technology Studies concentration. During her time at Grinnell, she worked as a Vivero Digital Scholarship Fellow on the Native Histories Project with Professor Deborah Michaels. Her research interests include questions and intersections of Japanese American history, film and media studies, and food studies. She will be interning with Emily Cain and Laura Sharp in the Recovering Voices Program at the National Museum of Natural History.
  • Yesmarie De La Flor graduated from Indian River State College where she received a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology. In her last two years as an undergrad she held a research internship as a genome annotator studying the Asian Citrus Psyllid, an insect responsible for the spread of a disease known as Citrus Greening that negatively impacts citrus worldwide. She took up various leadership roles in clubs such as the IRSC Science Club and the IRSC Health and Self Club from which she greatly enjoyed getting involved in various activities that encouraged community involvement of STEM learning as well as healthy living. She hopes to use her passion for science to spark an interest in STEM fields in young minorities. Yesmarie looks forward to working with Dr. Valerie Paul at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce.

The 2019-2020 I2F Calendar

Internship Calendar

September 2019
  • Monday, September 9 – Program Kickoff
    • I2F Orientation
    • Unit Orientations (Internship locations, or as otherwise directed by the mentor/coordinator), after lunch
  • Friday, September 20 – Smithsonian History and Fellowship Introduction
    • Smithsonian Castle Tour
    • Smithsonian Libraries Tour
    • American History Archives Tour
  • Wednesday, October 9– Fellowship Seminar
    • Fellowships utilize Smithsonian collections, facilities or experts
    • Fellowship proposal process
      • What is a proposal
    • Intellectual Property and other research-oriented paperwork (working with humans, animals, etc.) 
  • Thursday, October 10 – Exploring SI: Education and Engagement
    • National Museum of Natural History with Internship Visits
    • 18th Annual Smithsonian Staff Picnic
    • Hirshhorn Museum with Internship Visit
  • Friday, October 11 – Exploring SI: Collections
    • National Zoological Park with Internship Visit
    • National Museum of American History with Internship Visits
  • Tuesday, October 22 – Resume Workshop & Fellowship Proposal Work Session
  • Friday, November 8 – Exploring SI
    • Anacostia Community Museum with Internship Visit
    • Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Internship Visit
    • National Museum of African Art Internship Visit
  • Friday, November 15
    • Fellowship Proposal Work Session
  • Wednesday, November 20
    • Smithsonian Exhibits Open House
  • Friday, November 22
    • Fellowship proposals due
  • Friday, December 6
    • Smithsonian Marine Station Virtual Internship Visit
    • Presentation Skills Workshop
  • Friday, December 13
    • Final Presentations Practice Session
  • Wednesday, December 18
    • Final Presentations
  • Friday, December 20
    • Last day of Internship


Fellowship Calendar

January 2020
  • Monday, January 13 – First day of Fellowship
  • Wednesday, January 15
    • Orientation (AM only)
  • Wednesday, January 29
    • Individual Check Ins
  • Friday, February 7
    • National Air and Space Museum, Udvar Hazy Center
  • Wednesday, February 19 
    • Individual Check Ins
  • Friday, March 6
    • Academic, Career and Financials Goals & Planning
  • Wednesday, March 11
    • Individual Check Ins
  • Friday, March 27
    • Resume Review and Mock Interviews
  • Friday, April 1
    • Individual Check Ins
  • Tuesday, April 21 
    • Final Presentations Practice Session
  • Wednesday, April 22
    • Pending Site Visit
  • Thursday, April 23
    • Final Presentations
  • Friday, April 24
    • Last day of Fellowship

I2F Alumni

To see information about our past 2018-2019 I2F Cohort, please click here.