Summer School

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The Medallion

By Andy Rhodes, Managing Editor of The Medallion

This summer, the Texas Historical Commission welcomed two college interns to Austin for nearly two months of preservation education through the agency’s Preservation Scholars program (formerly Diversity Interns). 

Zoe Simien (Texas State University) and Ledell Thomas (Prairie View A&M University) will spend much of the summer working with THC staff on projects related to their fields of study. Both are looking forward to experiencing the day-to-day tasks of working in a professional preservation environment.

Zoe SimienZoe Simien, Texas State University

Why did you decide to pursue this internship opportunity with the THC?

When I came across the internship, I saw it as an opportunity to gain more experience and the “know-how” of preserving and protecting historical sites.

How have your past experiences prepared you for interning with the agency?
I have faced a lot of challenges in college and obstacles at work that I had to either work through or find a way around. The work I am doing at the agency is not easy, and my past experiences in school and work have prepared me for the hard work ahead.

What factors did you consider when choosing your major?
I chose to major in criminal justice because I have a strong drive to protect those who need it. As I continued my college education, I realized there was a shortage in law enforcement’s involvement with protecting and preserving archeologically significant sites. I felt this needed to change. Combining this drive with my passion for archeology allows me to protect these sites.

What are you looking forward to accomplishing during your internship this summer?
I hope to make a strong foundation for future training of law enforcement officers on preservation and site protection.

Why is Texas an interesting place to pursue a career in a history-related field? 

There was a rich culture in Texas before early Spanish exploration. Since then, more cultures have been added, and the mixture has grown more than many other states because of its geographical location. Insight into much of Earth’s history is deep within Texan grounds.

How do you anticipate using your experience at the THC in the future?

The knowledge and skills I develop as a Preservation Scholar for the THC will enable me to implement better site protection with the help of law enforcement officers throughout the state, country, and hopefullythe world.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I am focusing a lot of my time and effort on my career and working toward accomplishing my goal of combining law enforcement with archeology and enhancing the preservation and protection of archeologically significant sites. I also enjoy family time and different activities downtown when I have the chance.


Ledell ThomasLedell Thomas, Prairie View A&M University

Why did you decide to pursue this internship opportunity with the THC?
I decided to pursue this internship to gain more knowledge about the preservation and history of Texas. I’ll be able to have a background in working with a commission that celebrates the rich history of Texas, and grasp the importance of preservation for the future of Texas. I hope to use my research about Texas’ history to contribute to the new and future architecture culture. 

How have your past experiences prepared you for interning with the agency? 

I’ve obtained leadership skills from being a trainee manager at McDonald’s and sponsor associate at Walmart. This will be beneficial when making decisions, being organized, harboring morals, and knowing how to take directions for the task to be completed on time. I also had the pleasure of partnering with the executive director at Independent Heights Redevelopment Council (in Houston), where my group’s proposal has been used for the revitalization of Independence Heights and is now being implemented for the community. 

What factors did you consider when choosing your major? 

When choosing my major, I knew from a young age that I wanted to go into the field of architecture. I love to design facilities that people will inhabit and utilize for their needs. It’s important to know the history of a building’s environment, since it will serve as a visual representation of the time and culture it was built in. 

What are you looking forward to accomplishing during your internship this summer? 

I’m looking forward to learning more about the history and culture of Texas. I’ll incorporate those principles when designing for future buildings and developments to preserve the rich history and culture of Texas. 

Why is Texas an interesting place to pursue a career in a history-related field? 

Texas is an interesting place to pursue a career in history-related field because of its diversity. Since Texas has served as home and a safe haven for many, you get to experience diverse cultural backgrounds within its history. 

How do you anticipate using your experience at the THC in the future? 

I plan to use the experience to allow me to obtain information about historical places that have significance to the culture and past of Texas. It will enhance my knowledge of the architecture and character of Texas in order to preserve it as I move forward in my architecture career. 

How do you like to spend your free time? 

When I get a chance to have free time, I like to read and watch videos about different forms of architecture, and about sustainability and building efficiency. I apply this knowledge to my future designs for the building, so it can be built and work as efficiently as possible while still being aesthetically pleasing. 

 

The THC’s Preservation Scholars program was created to build interest in and awareness of historic preservation, specifically among students from underrepresented cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. The program is funded solely by private gifts, as are the THC Preservation Scholars Endowment and the Clay Family Trust Preservation Scholars Endowment. To donate to these important programs, please visit the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission.

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