My experience interning with the Fayette County Cultural Trust has been most fruitful, and I accomplished more than I could have imagined while also taking on a load of 18-credits. I managed my time and completed various projects in timely and organized fashions. A list of the projects I worked on and completed is:
- Created a database of potential Uniontown assets. This collection is meant to aid next semester’s Appalachian Teaching Project group in deciding where to conduct effective community interviews.
- Conducted a Great Allegheny Passage trail-use survey. I garnered 228 responses overall in a study that aimed to determine people’s typical lodging and dining plans to help consider further businesses that might succeed in Connellsville.
- Performed five 30-minute to 1-hour phone and zoom conversational interviews with people who had formerly reached out about an article that was written on Pitt’s 2021 Appalachian Teaching Project group.
- Created reports regarding the budgeting and needs of co-working spaces, business incubators, and university centers.
- Created a written report on Connellsville’s Crawford Ave. bridge project while also considering historical and contemporary facts, effects on businesses/residents, and potential methods to alleviate the upcoming hardship. I used the 2021 ATP’s asset map to determine asset-based suggestions and solutions for the bridge’s temporary closure.
I learned a few things in terms of both transferable and technical skills from this internship. For starters, I learned better methods for dealing with time management by relying more heavily on a written to-do list and maintaining an online calendar with alerts. When I had a busier than usual schedule, Doing so was critical to my success. Second, I learned to sustain connections with my superiors through biweekly emails, reports, and meetings to communicate my findings, concerns, and advancements. By keeping an open flow of dialogue, I could stay on top of my work and have plans for future projects to prevent wasted time. Lastly, I strengthened my skills in writing reports as I kept track of my progress and created historically-based accounts.
My recommendation for the FCCT moving forward based on my new knowledge of the organization comes simply. Maintain more open dialogue, don’t be afraid to connect on semi-personal levels with interns (breaking beyond strictly professional and academic conversation), and prepare more projects in advance to reduce intern downtime. Leaving the FCCT is happening concurrently with my graduation from Pitt, and I couldn’t be more thankful or appreciative of the experiences, lessons, and opportunities offered by both.