In the Fall Quarter of 2016, UCI senior and history major Nichole Grimes joined the History 197 Internship Program to develop hands-on experience in public history - including historical research and writing skills applicable to a variety of careers after graduation.
Grimes was placed at the UCI Libraries for her internship with Becky Imamoto, then the Research Librarian for History and now the Head, Collection Strategies Department, and Derek Quezada, Outreach and Public Services Librarian. Grimes’ particular research focus, U.S. environmental groups in the 20th century, matched up well with an upcoming Libraries exhibit in celebration of the 100 Year Anniversary of the National Parks Service.
During the 10-week internship, Grimes learned how to work with archival materials as she searched for information about John Muir, Hetch Hetchy Dam, and the Sierra Club. She utilized a treasure trove of materials to synthesize it down while considering themes, display aesthetics, and size constraints. Grimes also learned best practices for writing text for a public audience and mounting the physical exhibit.
This internship proved to be so interesting to Grimes that she decided to become a librarian. Grimes went on to get her Master of Arts in Library Science at Arizona State University. Both Imamoto and Quezada stayed in touch with Grimes after she graduated from UCI. Imamoto wrote a letter of recommendation to Grimes’ graduate program and co-presented at a library conference, giving Grimes her first professional experience. Quezada served as a mentor for a second internship where Grimes gained valuable experience in teaching students how to use special collections material.
Grimes graduated from Arizona State University in 2019 and accepted a position as the History Specialist with the Anaheim Public Library system. Grimes is grateful for the experience at the UCI Libraries, saying, “I wanted to thank you for all the amazing experiences I have had with UCI over the past few years. Much of my relevant experience has come from UCI Libraries, and without your mentorship and guidance, I wouldn’t have been prepared for this job opportunity. Thank you so much for offering me the history internship way back in 2016. That internship changed the course of my education and employment and I owe my current success to you.”
History 197 interns continue to assist UCI Libraries with processing archival material, developing collections in foreign languages and supporting research.