Professor encourages internship applicants

History professor Edmund La Clair said there are a number of scholarship and internship opportunities with the Nation Park Service that students can apply for. He also plans to design a college course focusing on internships (File photo).

There are a number of scholarship and internship opportunities open to students this year.

Edmund La Clair, assistant professor of history, talked about some in particular that he promotes to students.

The River Raisin National Battlefield Park contacted La Clair in August to ask if some students might be interested in a scholarship opportunity working with the park and the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi tribe.

The NHBP is a group of Native Americans who, when forced to leave their homeland by the Southeastern shoreline of Lake Michigan in what became known as the Trail of Death in 1838, escaped and returned to their homeland. Because of this, the NHBP was not federally recognized until 1995, with numbers of the tribe growing since.

This scholarship would have students work  with the NHBP to develop exhibit panels about Nottawaseppi haistory, wild rice restoration, their multi-generational struggle for federal recognition and other topics.

Each student will earn a $2,000 scholarship to MCCC and be paid a stipend of $2,000 over the project period, a total of $4,000.

This internship came from the Native American Heritage Fund that was granted in 2019.

The NAHF partners with the River Raisin National Battlefield Park, the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma, the Wyandot of Anderdon Nation and the Turtle Island Dream Keepers.

The partnership was launched to educate students on Native American history.

“I had no luck finding many people until I sent out the campuswide notice,” La Clair said about reaching out to applicants.

La Clair said the interns will be expected to collect oral history and talk to elders about wild rice restoration.

The goal of internships like these is to improve educational programs and knowledge of Native American history and particularly that of tribes that lived in Michigan.

“We actually have a plethora of opportunities,” La Clair said.

The Pfc. Dennis J. Miller Jr. Memorial Scholarship and John Dingell Endowment Fund are scholarships La Clair hopes more students will apply for.

The River Raisin National Battlefield Park, located on Elm Avenue, is a historical site for the January 1813 battles in the War of 1812. The park has partnered with MCCC for an internship scholarship opportunity that will teach about the history of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (Photo by Jerry Meade).

The Dennis  Miller scholarship is offered every year.

The money will cover tuition for a class. Students could use that as an opportunity to do an internship with any of the local public history programs, such as the Monroe County Museum, Dun Deal Mill and National Park Service, La Clair said.

La Clair said he encourages students to apply for these scholarships when they are available each year.

“I bet if you’re the only one that applies I would pick you,” La Clair said. “I don’t like that situation. I’d rather have a competition, and I’d rather have it go to, you know, a variety of students not just the one I happen to know is majoring in history.”

The Dingell Endowment Fund was established by late Congressman John Dingell, who was a former park ranger and had connections with various park services.

“This scholarship will allow a variety of internships either with the National Parks Service or with the Sterling State Park,” La Clair said. “The goal is to try to move student internships back and forth between those two institutions that John Dingell had such an effect on.”

Oftentimes, scholarships like these aren’t granted to students because of the lack of applicants.

“There’s scholarship money that just sits there with no one to take it,” La Clair said. “I’m always willing to help a student who’s interested in any history organization, set that up as a pure internship or internship in which they could get credit at the college through their tuition.”

If more students are interested in programs like these, La Clair plans to make a college course centered on internships with the battlefield part for specific projects on park grounds.

“If anyone’s interested in trying to do an internship with the battlefield let me know and I can see what we can arrange for summer as well,” he said.  “It might be a class you take through the college without a scholarship behind it, but hey, it’s still an internship with the National Park Service.”

MCCC students can apply for scholarships at: https://monroeccc.