Omar Eaton-Martinez started at the National Museum of American History in November as the new intern and fellows manager, ready to continue his love of working with youth. Here he talks about internships, fellowships, and his favorite exhibition at the museum.
Q: What do you do as intern and fellows program manager?
A: I recruit for interns and fellows, manage the logistics of placing them in departments, and plan enrichment activities. It’s great to meet all the interns and fellows and see their development along the way.
Q: Why should people apply to be an intern or fellow at the National Museum of American History?
A: These internships are golden stamps on resumes. They’re highly valued. They beat it in my head that interns are valued here, from top to bottom. Most people are hesitant to ask interns to do menial tasks. It’s not paper-pushing. Interns see their efforts in day-to-day operations. There is no guaranteed track of employment, but lots of staff used to be interns.
Q: What experience do you have in working with young people?
A: I’ve been working with youth since I was 21. I was a high school social studies teacher in Washington, D.C. for more than eight years and I came to the Smithsonian from the National Park Service, where I planned youth development programs for two years.
Q: What do you like best about working at the National Museum of American History?
A: I get to work with everyone because everyone uses interns. I get to see how everything comes together and works as a whole. The people have been outstanding, very helpful and always pointing me in the right direction.
Q: What are your plans for recruiting interns and fellows?
A: We’re reaching out to different schools, institutions and organizations that represent people who don’t come to the museum or intern here, to diversify. The goal is also to make sure that everyone is in the know. We want to get the best and brightest from all walks of life.
Q: If you had to tell an intern or fellow to see one thing in the museum, what would it be?
A: Right now I’m big on The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden exhibition. My eight-year old daughter loves the presidents. She knows them all in order and most of the first ladies, too. I respect it more because of her.
Applications for fall internships at the National Museum of American History are due July 1st.
Will Omar be recruiting at your school?
Columbia University, March 6; Hunter College and Lehman College, March 7; City College of New York, March 8; Catholic University, March 13.
Check out the intern perspectives blog posts to see what our interns are working on.
Angela Modany is an intern in the New Media Department at the National Museum of American History.