Intern Update

Intern Update: Elizabeth Pon

Summer 2012 intern, Liz Pon, working on an exhibition storyboard.

It’s hard to believe my time here at the Smithsonian APA Program is up! It was full of exciting, novel experiences. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on two amazing projects. I helped compile resource and image lists for each as well as brainstorm content and design. Asking myself, “What would I want to see in an exhibition?” was such a wonderful experience. I had to convert my mindset from simply absorbing exhibitions to critically analyzing each item to incorporate. I loved seeing the projects in their younger “script” formats, but putting together an upcoming exhibition in storyboard format with fellow intern, Kia, was especially exciting—it allowed us to see a more tangible version of the exhibition.

In addition to learning about museum programming and curating, I gained exposure to the expansiveness and breadth of the Smithsonian Institution; from research branches to exhibition spaces, the Institution covers so much. Interning at the Smithsonian APA Program helped enrich my understanding of the diversity of our nation. From the tour of the Library of Congress Asian American collection to the “Choctaw Days” Veterans Ceremony at the National Museum of the American Indian, my summer here has been a great didactic experience. At the beginning of summer, I composed a list of places to visit and experience in D.C. I am happy to report that, with few exceptions, I have completed my to-do list! I have visited nearly every Smithsonian museum in Washington.

A great part of what I have learned here is thanks to the wonderful people—staff and interns—that work at the APA Program. We exchanged varied perspectives on everything from the Pew Research Center’s “The Rise of Asian Americans” report, to which is the best food truck for lunch (and there are a lot here!).

Independently, I researched the biomedical efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine and its usage in Asian American communities. I hope to use what I’ve learned as the foundation for my thesis.

All in all, everything from exhibition work and my personal research project, to museum events and special tours, has deepened my understanding of my ancestors and ethnic community. For this, and much more, I am thankful for the opportunity to intern at the Smithsonian APA Program. I look forward to returning and experiencing firsthand the projects that the other interns and I have worked on this summer.

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