By MaryCate Most, senior in Journalism

My journey to the Smithsonian really started two years ago during my last internship in Washington, D.C. Every day when I would get off of work, I’d walk about an hour through the D.C. sun and humidity just to spend some time roaming through the halls of whichever Smithsonian had extended hours that evening. I fell in love with the Smithsonian’s mission from early on. To make a vast amount of history and science available to the American public for free and then to present that information in a way that is exciting and memorable is a mission that I wanted desperately to embrace as my own.

After taking my second science writing class with Jennifer Follis this past spring, I felt prepared to apply for a media or communications position at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM). I was thrilled to accept the position of Digital Experiences Intern. In this role, I write posts for NASM that appear on both the website and the new app, GoFlight. The app allows visitors to navigate to their favorite artifacts in the museum and off-site users to learn stories relating to the artifacts.

I’ve learned so much from my time here already, both in terms of the amount of air and space history I’ve soaked up and regarding the Smithsonian Institution’s web content strategies.  It’s been amazing to dive into the ocean that is Smithsonian archives and glean from those collections some of the most fascinating stories about the aviators, astronauts, and engineers who changed the world. Who would have known that the first woman to fly solo around the world, Jerrie Mock, had an amazing Moroccan bastilla recipe? Or that French aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont ate dinner at a table hanging from the ceiling so that he could be in the air even when he dined? I rejoice in these historical discoveries the same way that I do when I work on a news story.

I’m thankful every day for the way that my lecturers and professors at U of I have prepared me for the position I’m in now. They pushed me to be creative in my story ideas, taught me how to interview sources efficiently, and coached me to write concisely. Without these individuals, the work I do now would never have been possible. I owe the Illinois community so much for helping me make it here and I can’t wait to see where this experience takes me next.

Most at the Smithsonian