In cooperation with the History Department at Bethany Lutheran College, the ELS Historical Society sponsors an undergraduate research internship program for juniors and seniors majoring in history or a related discipline. Previous participants in this program researched, wrote, and edited substantial portions of a 480-page book, entitled Telling the Next Generation. Future participants will have similar experiences through other research projects.

Availability: One or two “Research Intern” positions per semester

Intern Supervisor: Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson (contact him)

Qualifications: The intern must:

  1. have a basic familiarity of major developments in American history and church history (preference may therefore be shown to History Majors, though students of any major may apply);
  2. understand how to locate both printed and electronic materials in the library; and,
  3. be able to write concise narrative summaries with proper documentation (Chicago Manual of Style).

Note: Previous experience in scanning documents with text-recognition software is helpful, but an ability to learn on the job is sufficient.

Orientation Tasks: The intern will keep a journal, reflecting upon these orientation experiences.

  1. Familiarize oneself with the Society's mission and programs by perusing its website.
  2. Tour the Ottesen Museum with the museum director.
  3. Tour the ELS Archives with the archivist.
  4. Meet with Oak Leaves editor for an overview of the mission of the Society’s newsletter, its past contents, and its future plans.
  5. Meet with the Intern Supervisor to receive assignments (see “Projects,” below).

Optional: Attend a meeting of the Society’s Board of Directors, or of the Synod’s Committee on Archives and History.

Projects: Each intern will work on at least one of the following projects and keep a journal reflecting upon the experience. Additional projects may arise during the course of the year. The intern and academic advisor can be assured that they will be of a similar nature to those listed below, i.e., involve historically oriented academic and professional work.

  1. Research, writing, and editing in preparation for a publication to commemorate the synod's centennial celebration (2018). Tasks may include:
    • Conduct oral interviews
    • Retrieve documents from the library collection.
    • Scan documents, with text-recognition software, into Word format.
    • Copy edit documents to verify the accuracy of the scan.
    • Research biographical backgrounds of document authors and write biographies.
    • Research (in the archives and library) the background context of the documents and write historical introductions for small sets of related documents that will appear as a unit in one section of the book.
  2. The ELS in American History (an article series for Oak Leaves, the quarterly newsletter of the ELS Historical Society; may later be republished in a book):
    • Read the series of historical articles concerning the Wisconsin Synod, published in Forward in Christ (June 2000–Apr. 2001) for ideas on how to complete the steps below.
    • Locate historically pertinent passages in the Lutheran Sentinel, Synod Reports, and Lutheran Synod Quarterly (e.g., what did ELS pastors think of FDR’s New Deal? How did the Vietnam draft impact the synod? How did the synod’s stance on Roe v. Wade emerge?)
    • Prepare outlines for historical narratives.
    • Write historical narratives (750 words each) concerning particular decades or episodes in American history as experienced by the ELS for publication in Oak Leaves or perhaps The Lutheran Sentinel. (The intern will receive credit as author.)
    • The intern author shall permit the Society the right to unlimited, non-exclusive reproduction of his or her articles for its own non-profit purposes. The intern author shall retain the limited, non-exclusive right to republish the article for his or her own purpose, profitable or otherwise, so long as no more than two such articles are published in the same collection.
  3. Archival assistance in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod Archives, under the supervision of Synod Archivist.
  4. Museum assistance in the Ottesen Museum, under the supervision of the Director of Programs.
  5. Editorial assistance for the Society’s Oak Leaves quarterly newsletter, under the supervision of the Oak Leaves Editors.
  6. Updates and enhancements for the Society’s website.
  7. Indexing periodicals.

Time Commitment: Interns enroll for 3 academic credits, corresponding to 135 service hours during the 15 week semester, or 9 hours per week, on average. Interns shall log their hours on the form provided. Time logged for orientation tasks shall count the same as time spent on assigned projects. Work hours can be flexibly arranged with the supervisor, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Assessment: A brief meeting with the Intern Supervisor will be scheduled for each week to review prior work and plan future work. The Intern Supervisor will provide a more thorough evaluation of each intern’s work at the end of weeks 4, 8, 12, and 15, and share information with the appropriate parties at Bethany Lutheran College as required by the college’s internship program policies.

Payment: This is an unpaid internship. However, in some cases intellectual property rights that may be acquired by the intern as author of certain works.

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