Register Internship Provides Variety

Hello! My name is Christian Ruth. I am a second year PhD student in history at the University at Albany, SUNY. This past summer I had the amazing opportunity to be the first editorial intern for the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. This was my second internship for KHS, as I was lucky enough to be the intern for Camp ArtyFact several years ago during my undergraduate program at the University of Kentucky. KHS made a fantastic impression on me back then, and I was more than happy to trek down from New York to spend the summer in Kentucky once again. Although I hope for a career as a professor, I have enjoyed learning about the inner workings of such a fantastic public history institution. I joined David Turpie and Stephanie Lang, the editor and associate editor of the Register, and worked throughout the summer on a variety of interesting projects. As you would imagine, the internship focused on preparing new issues for publication, but that initial idea of the internship quickly blossomed into much more. As the first intern to work with the Register, I was happily surprised by how David and Stephanie were able to quickly come up with new and interesting tasks for me to tackle. Internships are complicated projects, but I found myself, again happily, startled by the sheer variety of things that I was doing throughout the summer. Besides editing the grammar and spelling of the submitted articles, I spent a great deal of time researching material in the articles—fact checking the authors and making sure that the information they were citing was accurate. While I spent most of these efforts digging through scholarly books, I also delved into KHS’s own archival material, both in physical and digital form. One of my fondest memories of this summer was hunting for a particular image to be used for an article and finding a horrifyingly funny picture in the archives of an old Easter Bunny outfit. One of the reasons KHS is such a great institution is that it has a firm commitment to promoting historical education, and the Register is an important part of that mission. While I frequently spent time editing submitted articles for inclusion in new issues of the Register, I also began to convert those same articles into teachable lesson plans for educators to use. Academic articles like those submitted to the Register are interesting, and critically important in advancing historical knowledge, but they are not always readable enough for everyone. Especially teenagers! Creating these lesson plans is a new project for the Register, one that will hopefully provide teachers in middle- and high-school settings a chance to use the great scholarship in the journal. The lesson plan that I worked on, and am still revising, is based on an article about tobacco farming, a quintessentially Kentuckian topic if there ever was one, although the Register publishes scholarship on a huge variety of subjects. During the summer I was also able to take advantage of events happening at KHS, including attending an excellent conference on Civil War history featuring some prominent scholars in the field. The internship as a whole gave me valuable experience. As someone who wants to work within academia, learning about the inner workings of a scholarly journal was incredibly helpful as I seek to publish my own research in the future. David and Stephanie, as well as everyone else involved in the Register, were always willing to listen to my suggestions and offer their own valuable advice whenever I asked. As in my previous internship, I found nothing but kindness and professional support at KHS, and look forward to working with them again in the future. (Editor’s Note: Christian Ruth is finishing his doctoral exams and preparing to work on his dissertation. David Turpie has left KHS to become director of publications at the Arizona Historical Society and editor of the Journal of Arizona History.)

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