MARA Student Laura Froelke’s Internship Launches New Career Insight

iStudent Blog

Published: October 28, 2019 by Havilah Steinman

Internships are central to a well-rounded student experience in San José State University iSchool’s many programs. Because of the nature of an online program, internships are a key aspect of gaining important contacts in a student’s chosen field. This is so important, in fact, that all successful graduates of the Master of Archives and Records Administration program complete an internship or an equivalent. Laura Froelke, MARA student set to graduate spring 2020, recently completed an internship at the Oregon State Archives, leading to influential and exciting career opportunities.

Froelke, who intentionally follows the Cultural Heritage pathway within the MARA program, shared, “I was lucky enough to land a local internship that invested in us and introduced us to a bunch of contacts in the area. It’s given me a leg up on networking for when I start my job hunt in earnest.”

Froelke’s Internship Journey

With a compelling and non-traditional background, Froelke was able to stand apart from other applicants to the Oregon State Archives (OSA) internship program. She commented, “I put off my internship search until the last minute; [however], the Oregon State Archives was intrigued enough by my engineering background that they made an exception and added me to the roster. I don’t recommend this kind of non-planning, but it did teach me the importance of presenting your whole story to wherever you apply, because they may be interested in what specifically makes you a little different..”

If you’re wondering about the types of responsibilities Froelke took on for her internship, check out the numerous Facebook posts she was able to write for the Oregon State Archives Facebook page. These carefully crafted stories will undoubtedly offer insight into the OSA for years to come, as well as provide Froelke with clear evidence of the learning competencies she fulfilled during her internship! 

Froelke further expanded on her work at the OSA: “My internship was invaluable. OSA, in particular, tries to serve its interns as much as they benefit from us. I had a lot of input on the type of work I got to do, sometimes doing something for a single day just to try it. My resume now has a list of hands-on work I now have experience in. We went on several visits to local archives to see how they work and to meet the people running them. We each had a ‘career panel’ where people related to the path we want to take met with us and had a conversation. Mine included reps from the City of Portland Archive, Multnomah County Archive, and Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Historical Archives. My panel gave me insight and connections—also, one of them marked up my resume to better fit the industry.”

MARA Course Work and Internships

The Masters in Archives and Records Administration (MARA) course work differs from the Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) course work in many ways. To read more about it, check out the “Which Degree is Right for You?” page on the iSchool website. Froelke shared more about the specific skills gleaned in her experience: “Regarding how my internship relates to my classwork, I now have working experience with metadata, vinegar syndrome, SharePoint, deciphering cursive and other skills I’d previously only encountered in class. I can bring these experiences into class discussions, where before I could only talk about certain concepts abstractly.”

Selecting, applying for and completing an internship can seem like a daunting task for students enrolled at the iSchool. However, Froelke leaves us with the following encouragement: “My internship broadened my career path. Initially, I was only interested in a museum or historical society setting, but now I’m considering records management and government work. It helped me to hone in on the skills I want to employ at a job, which are less limiting than I’d thought.”


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