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October 4, 2012

Shabhia Akter ’15 Learns about Museum Management at American Museum of Natural History

If you visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York City this summer, you may have learned a thing or two from Shabhia Akter ’15 (Woodside, N.Y.).

Shabhia Akter ’15 at the American Museum of Natural History

Shabhia Akter ’15 at the American Museum of Natural History

Akter, an English major, worked at the museum this summer as an intern with the Museum Education and Employment Program (MEEP).

Through MEEP, summer interns receive on-the-job training in developing and presenting themed tours to visiting camp groups. For the first month, interns learn from museum staff about natural sciences, anthropology, education, and museum management.

Those who successfully complete the training portion stay for an additional six weeks to give tours to museum visitors.

“During the first month, I went on numerous tours given by museum curators and educators in different halls of the museum,” Akter says.

“Then I did research to create my own tour utilizing two halls. In the second month, I gave my themed tour to visiting camps and school groups.”

Watch brief videos about student internships
Read more articles about internships

Akter also worked on the museum’s “touch carts.” These interactive exhibits contained a variety of artifacts that Akter explained to the museum goers.

Akter, who learned of the internship opportunity through Lafayette’s Posse Scholars program, said the experience helped her improve her communication skills.

“I was interacting with hundreds of people every day: giving tours, directions, and teaching them about various artifacts. I also learned how to work with large groups of children and how to use inquiry to engage their curiosity and make learning fun,” she says.

After Lafayette, Akter would like to attend graduate school with the goal of teaching at the college level. This internship helped foster her passion for teaching others.

“I love teaching and working with youth. That’s the main reason why I decided to work at the museum. It gave me the ability to do both while being surrounded in an amazing environment.”

Her internship was supported by Career Services’ Intern Scholars program, which provides students with a $4,000 stipend for internship expenses.

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