Internship Spotlight: Audrey Gray

In the upcoming semester, I will be a U3 student going into my fourth year at McGill University in the faculty of Arts, majoring in both History and Anthropology. Within my academic field, I am most interested in archaeology, historiography and critical museum and heritage studies. At the beginning of my third year, I began seriously looking for opportunities outside of the classroom that would allow me to put the skills I have been learning to use and to gain experience. Furthermore, I felt that finding an Internship relevant to my area of study would shed light on my options following the completion of my undergraduate degree. After completing ANTH 357 with Professor Peter Johansen, I realized I wanted to complete an internship that made use of the methodological skills I had developed within Archaeology. I was very fortunate to have this opportunity presented to me in the form of a summer internship working for the Maski Archaeological Project, made possible by Professor Johansen.

The Maski Archaeological Project (MAP), is a research project focused on the archaeology of South India, from the Neolithic through the Medieval period. At the start of the winter semester, the plan was to carry out work in Karnataka India under the supervision of Professor Johansen and Dr. Andrew Bauer. Of course, this could not happen due to the global pandemic and instead, the direction of research was tailored to remote work focused on textual data analysis. As an intern, I was responsible for finding and researching volumes of compiled inscriptions from Medieval Karnataka and creating a database that organized inscriptions based on relevant terms, such as time periods and regents. Towards the end of my internship, I was also given the opportunity to oversee the work of my co-intern Emily Draicchio and co-ordinate the organization of data on a nineteenth-century volume on medieval South Indian Inscriptions.

The cancellations of my internship abroad certainly forced me to manage my expectations, however, there were still many highlights. These included the ability to work at my own pace and customize my office space. Working outside in the sunshine was another benefit to working remotely. Another highlight was the fact that my co-intern and I were navigating the same situation together, which helped provide a lot of stability and moral support in times of adjustment. And of course, the ability to be a part of a research project where I was able to strengthen my skills in collecting and compiling data outside of the classroom will always be an invaluable experience to my academic and professional career.

Working remotely was certainly a challenge that took some time to adjust to. My supervisor recommended I log my hours to keep track of how far into my internship I was. This was helpful not only with managing workdays remotely but also because the nature of my work was project-based rather than consistent day to day work. I found recording it also helped to keep me accountable and made me feel like I was punching in at the office every morning. I found the biggest challenge of the remote internship was the space for miscommunication. I endured quite a bit of anxiety, especially at the beginning of my internship for I had no-one to talk to face to face. Learning to not be afraid to ask for clarification is something I have learned that has helped immensely and I am sure will continue to help as the remote semester kicks off in the fall.

Interning for MAP this summer has helped to affirm that through my degree, I am pursuing a career that is right for me. It has helped me understand the amount of work that goes into research projects and has taught me the importance of meticulous data organization. I will not be receiving academic credit for this internship but look forward to applying the skills I have acquired through it in my upcoming classes.

I received funding in the form of the Arts Internship Award. This fund helped me greatly, as the sudden change on behalf of the pandemic reduced the summer job pool for students. Thanks to the funding, I was able to focus on my internship rather than worry about how I was going to save for the upcoming semester. I am so grateful to the AIO for providing me with the funding and opportunity to pursue a summer internship, as well as Professor Johansen, not only for selecting and supervising me but for being so accommodating during such an unprecedented time.

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