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MAR 20, 2012

Q&A with LAMOTH Intern Adrienne Gehan

BERKELEY - An art history major, sophomore outside hitter Adrienne Gehan had the opportunity to take her classroom knowledge into the real world with a unique internship. For two weeks over winter break, Gehan lived in Los Angeles doing an "externship" with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Sponsored by Cal, the externship program allows current students to observe the day-to-day activities of a Cal alumni sponsor and obtain hands-on experience in a variety of career fields. enjoyed the chance to talk to Gehan about her experience. How did you hear about the internship? Did you have to interview?

Adrienne Gehan: Elly Barrett's mom emailed all of the sophomores' moms with information about Cal's externship program, and my mom forwarded me the email. I looked at the details and the different options and decided that it would be a good opportunity for me to gain experience and knowledge about my intended career path. The externship was great because it is only two weeks during Christmas break so it worked with my volleyball and school schedule. What kind of work did you do? What did your day-to-day look like?

AG: For most of the internship I worked on a project called "Mapping Auschwitz" in observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is Jan 27. The museum mapped 15 square miles around the museum, representing the size of Auschwitz, a concentration camp in Poland. At noon on Jan. 27, supporters came onto the streets included within the map holding multiple signs depicting the insignia used by the Nazis to classify Jews, Homosexuals, and Immigrants. The "flash event" raises the question: What are we going to fill our borders with?

I researched businesses, churches, synagogues and schools around the area. Then the other two Cal students and I called all the organizations and tried to gain their support in the event. We also put together flyers and handed them out around L.A. and helped do small tasks around the museum. Had you done an internship like this before?

AG: I've never done anything like this, so it was very exciting. Where did you stay? What was it like being in L.A. for two weeks?

AG: I stayed with family friends. It was really fun getting to know some parts of the city and getting to know the family I stayed with better. What was your favorite part of the internship?

AG: My favorite part of the internship was getting to see the day-to-day activities within a museum. It was good to see all the behind-the-scenes tasks needed to run a museum. I loved being able to help plan the Mapping Auschwitz event. What did you most take away from your experience?

AG: I realized I loved being in a museum on a daily basis. I also learned a lot of World War II history and loved being able to hear survivors tell their own experiences. I also got a lot better at working with Excel and driving on highways, which still isn't my specialty. How did the L.A. museum compare to the Holocaust museum in D.C. that we went to in September?

AG: The Los Angeles museum is smaller than the one in D.C., and in my opinion, more historically focused. The Holocaust museum in D.C. was incredible and really created an experience for the viewer. The Los Angeles Museum offered daily survivor talks, allowing you to hear the experience of an actual survivor.

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