History Interns • Angelina Cuellar ‘17
Long Island is home to more than 100 museums, with exhibits in the fields of aeronautics, science, local arts and — most frequently — history.
This winter, history secondary ed. major Angelina Cuellar discovered an unexpected career alternative while interning with the Long Island Maritime Museum in Sayville.
An Unexpected Path
"My internship introduced me to a career path that I never even considered as a history education major."
"My goal as an intern was to experience museum life. I never thought about taking my history degree down any other path than education, but I see now that I have many more opportunities with my degree.
"Going into the internship, I kept a very open mind. Reflecting on the experience now, I learned more about teamwork than anything. Although my job was to conduct research on antiquities, including rope boat fenders, stereoscopes, nautical superstitions, etc., what influenced me the most was the museum staff.
Research and Projects
"Researching gave me insight into fascinating maritime objects and history that I never even knew about. I also served as a tour guide or field trip facilitator a few times. I was able to learn even more about maritime history on Long Island, like the life of the baymen or the oyster business. I was given the job of cataloging objects in the attics, antique leases for oyster boats, and all of the shipwrecks that occurred on the Island. The shipwreck catalog job was actually the first step in a larger future project of digitizing the history of shipwrecks on Long Island.
"Working at a museum, especially one like the Long Island Maritime Museum, you realize how integral teamwork is in order to have events go off without any hiccups and have exhibits and projects be successful end products."
"Finally, I volunteered at a few festivals, including the Pirate Festival, Seafood Festival, and the Boat Burning Festival. All of the events were huge successes and took a lot of teamwork. It was fun being a part of the team, but it also made me realize how much dedication it takes to pull off these events and how necessary volunteerism is for the success of the events. Even though my internship is over, I intend to continue volunteering at the museum.
The 2016 Pirate Festival at Long Island Maritime Museum (photo courtesy of Newsday).
Q&A With Angelina
What inspired you to go into history secondary education?
"I have always loved history. I was always good in school because I wanted to have good grades. But when it came to history, I excelled because I had an intrinsic motivation to learn more.
"I wanted to be a nurse when I was really young, because I always wanted to help people. Over the years I have seen enough hospital shows and heard enough stories from my mom, who is an RN, to know that the medical field is not for me. I changed my dream job to a history teacher instead. My love of history is getting stronger every day, and I know that if I can become the best teacher I can be, then I can still help people. I can help students to build their critical thinking skills and to become good people."
Who inspires you?
"My mom. She is one of the most stubborn yet kind-hearted individuals I have ever known. Her innate ability to empathize with individuals free from any judgment has been passed down to me and I am grateful for this ability."
Aside from earning a degree and getting a job, what do you hope to get out of your time at SJC?
"I hope to see differing perspectives on history or other subjects in general. SJC is full of educators and students that come from many different backgrounds and have different ideas. I like to learn about all types of perspectives so I can become a well-rounded and accepting individual."