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“Internships, both at the AAA and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, have been more fulfilling than I could’ve anticipated­—and I had high expectations to begin with. It has been so rewarding to produce material that is accessible to the public, like the blog post I wrote on music in Benin, as well as lesson plans that will be utilized by educators and Folklife Festival personnel as an introduction to the country of Benin.” —Sylvia Wilson

The American Anthropological Association Summer Internship Program, made possible by the generous gifts and support from donors, provides students with hands-on academic experience outside of the classroom. Students have the opportunity to intern at the AAA offices and with program partners at the Smithsonian or the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC).

The program can be an instrumental experience for students, connecting them with professionals in the field, developing their skills, and raising awareness of future career trajectories.

Two women sit side by side smiling for the camera

Sylvia Wilson and Alexandra Seeman, 2019 summer interns. American Anthropological Association

“No internship could’ve combined my passions better than this one,” said Alex Seeman, an intern with the NHHC. “I got to inventory countless artifacts from the CSS Georgia, and research aircraft crashes that have now been submerged for over 70 years.”

“The experience the interns get is invaluable,” said longtime donor and AAA internship supporter Maria Vesperi. “The students in this internship get real world exposure. They encounter a new environment living in DC with other interns and the opportunity to lay the foundation for their career in anthropology.”

Since its inception in 2011, the AAA Summer Internship Program has received support from over 400 donors, and hosted 18 interns. AAA would like to take this opportunity to thank all supporters for helping us provide a professional experience (including lodging and a stipend for food and transportation) that accelerates the careers of talented anthropology students. Please help us grow the number of students completing internships by making a contribution at

Applications for the 2020 Summer Internship Program are officially open!

Katie Patschke is executive assistant at the AAA and was a 2014 summer intern.

Cite as: Patschke, Katie. 2019. “Internship Program Offers a Pathway to Success.” Anthropology News website, December 20, 2019. DOI: 10.1111/AN.1329

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