Here at the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, our volunteers do some amazing work. For Volunteer appreciation month, we’d like to highlight Gina Reitenauer who has been working with us on preparing materials for publication. She has assisted with bibliographic formatting, acquiring image permissions, and putting together our yearly field report. Her work is helping us spread knowledge of Eurasian bark boats and the archaeology undertaken by the ASC team in Newfoundland and Quebec last summer.
What is your background?
At Syracuse University, I dual major in English & Textual Studies and Television, Radio, & Film, with concentrations in creative writing and screenwriting. As a May 2019 graduate, however, I’ve been spending my final semester in Washington, D.C., through Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. This program has provided me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and expand on my knowledge of policy, the economy, and international relations.
What brought you to the ASC?
Evident by the fact that I am currently completing international relations-based coursework in Washington, D.C., I have always had an interest in tying my study of media and communications to the greater world around me. Furthermore, after spending two summers interning at the Historical Society of PA, my assumption that I would enjoy doing communications work in a museum (or otherwise historical setting) was confirmed. All that said, I set my eyes on the Smithsonian.
What has been your favorite part of working here?
One of my favorite parts about working in the Arctic Studies Center has been the privilege to be around people who are so passionate about the environment and various communities of the Arctic. When I told people where I’d be interning this spring, I always received responses similar to: “That’s so niche, it’s perfect for you.” Although I enjoy history in general, working in the ASC specifically has provided me with the opportunity to further tie my media skills to the world around me in an area that, although often perceived as niche, is actually an important player in the international community. Through my work in the ASC, I’m glad to say that I have begun to develop my own passion for Arctic peoples and cultures, and that is an enrichment so valuable and wonderfully unique to the ASC.
What is the coolest or most interesting thing you have learned about at ASC?
Through acquiring image permissions for the book on Eurasian bark and skin boats, along with the completion of other manuscript-related tasks, I have been able to pick up on bits and pieces of information about this rich history. Having enjoyed kayaking adventures with my Dad for a few summers, and not knowing much of anything about bark and skin boats previously, it has been really cool to learn about the subject. I’ve also greatly expanded on my knowledge of Arctic geography!