Calling (college) students of history for new summer internship

EXPLORING THE PAST: Interns at Xpress will research Asheville's rich history.
EXPLORING THE PAST: Interns at Xpress will research Asheville's rich history. Photo by Thomas Calder

Put on those latex gloves, we’ve got primary source material to look into! Mountain Xpress has announced a summer internship for college students interested in local history. Summer interns will have the opportunity to research Asheville’s historic citizens, buildings, events, triumphs and tragedies. In addition, you will learn of, and develop contacts with, local historians and institutions throughout the city.

Other duties will include transcribing primary letters and documents, as well as independent research on topics that intrigue you. Our goal is to continue to shed light on our city’s past.

Interns should plan to work a minimum of 20 hours per week. Your work time will generally be concentrated during business hours; in the event of evening or weekend assignments, flextime will be offered. Depending on intern’s availability, positions will begin in mid-June and run through mid-August.

The Mountain Xpress summer internships are unpaid positions. Candidates must be enrolled in an educational institution and pursuing a degree in a field relevant to history to be considered. We prefer that candidates receive academic credit as a result of their internship, and we are happy to work with interns to submit relevant paperwork or other requirements.

To apply, visit our online form. We look forward to hearing from you!

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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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10 thoughts on “Calling (college) students of history for new summer internship

  1. Curious

    Can a college student afford to take an unpaid internship during the summer?
    “The vast majority of interns working at for-profit organizations must be paid at least the minimum wage and any applicable overtime. Technically, paid interns are temporary employees and treated virtually the same as regular employees with respect to labor law.”

    • Able Allen

      That’s a fair question. There are certainly many cases where unpaid internships are not fair and stand in the way of a student earning money. This program’s purpose is to create learning opportunities for the intern and in the format we currently use for our internships, it’s entirely appropriate for it to be unpaid. It is up to students to evaluate whether our program is a good fit for them.

  2. Anonymous

    Unpaid internships such as this one are against the law. As a private organization you’re required by law to offer at least minimum wage for these positions or else you’re violating Department of Labor standards.

    • Able Allen

      Thanks for your concern about employment law. It’s an important and complex subject. I can assure you, we do comply with department of labor standards and our internship program meets the criteria for unpaid internships. There are plenty of valid potential criticisms of unpaid internships. However, the internship we offer is for the purpose of education and is not designed for the benefit of Xpress.

      • Curious

        It does appear that your internship meets the standards in the fact sheet you reference. I’ll be curious to see what responses you get. I’m also curious if you made an overtures to history departments at local colleges to make the educational value of this experience credit-bearing.

        • Virginia Daffron

          Curious, we have posted this opportunity with local colleges’ career departments. As we state in our internship application, we are very willing to work with students to structure our program so that they can receive academic credit for it. We are in regular contact with our interns’ educational advisers. During the fall semester, we had interns who received credit for their internships from UNC Asheville and Asheville High School. I can assure you that we take a lot of trouble to ensure that our interns are deriving benefit from the program and have many opportunities to build their portfolios and receive mentoring. They do not perform rote assignments or grunt work — that’s left for us staffers.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            They should receive credit. What you offer is far more valuable than any book learning.

        • Able Allen

          I have reached out Warren Wilson (my alma mater) about the opportunity. UNCA and other colleges have already had students in our previous internships- for credit.

      • Phil Williams

        Anonymous appears to be what they call in my profession a “Barracks Lawyer”….Unpaid internships are not against the law – although I am certain that there are guidelines to prevent employers from taking undue advantage of the interns. Some programs are for credit only and some are “work/study” which pay a stipend, or help with books and tuition.

    • Phil Williams

      Not sure about that – you’d have to show the chapter and verse of the law that prohibits unpaid internships. Various internship/fellowship programs, well, vary, from college to college, organization to organization….. From personal experience, I spent a semester doing an internship on my graduate degree from WCU – I worked – unpaid – for a local private rehabilitation hospital in exchange for college credit only – I received no monetary compensation – although I did have a full-time job. Later, as an employee of the NC Division of Veterans Affairs (Now the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs) I occasionally signed on college students for a “work-study” program for which they received college credit AND $5 per hour up to (I think) 20hrs per week, plus reimbursement of mileage and expenses.

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