History Major Finds Her Passion for Archiving During Internship

books aligned on a book case.

Julianne at the library

Julianne reading a book at the library

Before COVID-19 social distancing, through her internship with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania this semester Julianne Tarrant was able to figure out what career path she wants to take after graduating in May. The history major from Nutley, NJ (Essex County) also minors in political science and international studies

Julianne at the library choosing a bookJulianne has always liked history, more specifically presidential history. “Their personal lives is the better part, because you learn so much about what they did in class but then you get to know more about them as people and that kind of makes a bigger picture.”

After a tour at Rowan University Julianne really liked the university, as did her mom. “My mom really pushed me to come here and I am really thankful she did that.”

Julianne started off as a history education major, but then decided to drop education and focus on history. “It was really the faculty from the history department that showed me that there was so much more I could do with history aside from teaching, which I never knew before. The faculty opened my eyes, there is so much I can do.”

Dr. Jennifer Janofsky, a professor who teaches public history courses has become one of Julianne’s mentors. Dr. Janofsky was the one who told Julianne about the Historical Society of Pennsylvania internship. “She kind of knew what I wanted to do and what my experiences were already with different internships and she was like ‘you should try the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.’”

When Julianne applied, she did not think she would get the internship Julianne reading a book at the librarybecause she though that other students from other colleges in Pennsylvania had a better chance due to them being closer. To Julianne’s surprise, after her interview within an hour she was already signing papers to start interning there. “I wouldn’t have heard about it if it wasn’t for Dr. Janofsky, I am very thankful.”  

Julianne is currently working on the Philadelphia Orphan Society collection, where she transcribes lots of documents into Excel sheets, to then use that information for the genealogy research that the Historical Society of Pennsylvania performs. Through this internship she has learned to read other people’s cursive writing much better. “It was really hard at first and now I’m starting to get the hang of it.”

Thanks to this internship Julianne said she learned that she really likes archiving and hopes to one day work at one of the presidential library museums.“There are 13 of them in the country, different presidents and just based around them. So, I definitely want to work in museums, preferably ones that relate to presidents.”

Julianne’s advice for future history majors and current history majors is to read all assigned readings. It may seem tedious reading about World War II over and over again, but it is worth it.

“And don’t just study one area of history, try to take it all in because we have a really diverse history staff so take as many classes as you can.”

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Story by:
Iridian Gonzalez, senior journalism major