Lessons Learned from Second Avenue Learning Interns: Callie Slevin
What was the best moment from the summer and why?
A highlight of my summer was a PBS NewsHour Extra webinar about how teachers approach the instruction of the 19th amendment and voting rights. Sari Beth Rosenberg, a history teacher/writer/public speaker facilitated the webinar, weaving together a conversation that made apparent her background as an effective educator. She invited Tory Van Voorhis (the CEO of Second Avenue), Mia Nagawiecki of the New York Historical Society, and Jourdan Bennett-Begaye of Indian Country Today to discuss their roles at their respective organizations and share resources with teachers. The conversation these women had among themselves and with the educators who attended gave me hope that more students will be able to learn a comprehensive history of the United States that no longer centers the contributions of white, land-owning men. While the immediate future of education will necessitate questions about the safety of in-person learning and equitable virtual access, this conversation provided a timely focus on the importance of learning about people who are often left out of––or whose contributions are minimized in––history books. They shared some great resources for teachers to aid in broadening their students’ understanding of the past: Women and the American Story from the New York Historical Society (wams.nyhistory.org), Indian Country Today (indiancountrytoday.com), PBS NewsHour Extra (pbs.org/newshour/extra), and of course the Voices for Suffrage application from Second Avenue (voicesforsuffrage.com).
What did you learn about business in general?
I’ve spent most of my time in college studying education, psychology, and statistics along with taking a diverse array of classes outside of my primary interests. Accordingly, I have little academic experience with business (perhaps with the exception of studying Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism). Through my time at Second Avenue Learning, I have been able to observe a small amount of the behind-the-scenes operations needed to keep the business going. Everything from meeting with clients and writing grant proposals to researching air conditioning systems would come up on a given day. And of course, all this happens in addition to the creation and production of content.
What life skill or principle did you use most in your time here?
Most of my time was spent researching and identifying contextually appropriate primary sources for the Library of Congress Voices for Suffrage project. When reviewing sources written by journalists about a person or a group of people with a different social identity, it was important to consider how the journalist’s perspective of their subject was not objective. In some articles, a journalist would write about a woman giving a speech, and the article would contain a description of the woman’s clothes with little to no comment about the content of her speech. While a source like this could be categorized as unreliable, it gives a modern reader information about what that journalist felt was important to share. Many articles I encountered were not a good place to get information about the content of the speech, but they did provide an opportunity to examine how suffragists and their ideas were viewed by outsiders to the movement.
How are you more prepared for your future career?
I think some of the ways in which I’ve grown will not become evident or fully appreciated until I begin my career. But I’ve discovered many helpful resources for educators (see my answers to the first question) and made connections with individuals in the education field who have similar interests and values. I’ve also learned a lot about history this summer which is helpful regardless of what career I go into––being an informed citizen and an active participant in our democracy is important! Women from many different backgrounds worked tirelessly in order to expand voting rights for over a century; I owe it to them to use my voice to vote and advocate for the enfranchisement of people who are still denied the right to vote.
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Thank you Callie, for your contributions to Voices for Suffrage. We wish you all the best in all of your future endeavors.