English Literature and American Studies Double Major
Laura Pochodylo ‘14 is spending her summer interning and researching as a
Ford Fellow at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.
Her internship is based in the Education Department where she helps to research and plan for the museum's public education events, like Rock and Roll Night School. This summer she is helping run an event called the Summer Teacher Institute, which hosts a week of professional development for teachers who come to the museum to learn how to integrate popular music into their classrooms. Laura's research in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives is centered around the presentations of gender in rock music as shown through early 1960s girl groups.
Describe your day-to-day experiences so far.
I'll spend the workday on whatever is needed that day, which ranges from compiling materials for the Summer Teacher Institute to digging up old articles on albums by the Rolling Stones, and plenty of other interesting things in between. I'm a big Stones fan, so I can't believe it's a job to get to read old interviews with the band from the 1970s all day. Earlier in my time here, when school was still in session, I got to sit in on the educational programming for field trips, which was a lot of fun.
Did anyone from Knox play a role in helping you become aware of the opportunity? Did you receive any financial aid or grants for your internship?
Catherine Denial is my project mentor for my Ford research, and she was very supportive in helping me secure the internship and plan my summer around my research here. My Ford Fellowship stipend is covering my housing during my time in Cleveland, which is obviously very essential support, as I wouldn't be able to work or research without it.
Can you cite an example of how your in-classroom and/or out-of-the-classroom experiences at Knox have benefited you?
I could not present myself as professionally, solve problems as creatively, or work with others as effectively without my experiences as an officer in Tri Delta. As for my research, the high expectations placed on student projects in my upper level classes have definitely prepared me to take on my own independent project and feel confident about what I am doing.
How do you think this internship/research experience will benefit you in terms of your education, future career plans, personal development, etc.?
Getting the opportunity to pursue unstructured, self-designed independent research through the Ford Fellowship program is a great way for me to dive into the academic world and decide if this kind of work is for me. It also will help me build my academic portfolio to apply to graduate schools. I am interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in American Studies with a focus on popular culture, and there's no better way to explore that path during my undergraduate years than having the Ford program support me.
Since my future plans with that potential Ph.D. would be to teach, working in the Education Department at the Rock Hall has been illuminating. My previous professional background has been in public relations, which has helped immensely, but it is great to be doing something more focused in education this summer to see if I like the work of interpreting rock history for different groups of learners. And so far, I love it.
What inspired you to pursue the internship?
Anyone who knows me knows that the history of rock and roll is my thing. It's what I love, and it has always been my passion. That said, it is obviously a dream come true to be able to work at the mecca for rock history and have the opportunity to study and research a topic I've always been interested in within that field. There's pretty much one place to go for the kind of work and research I am doing this summer, and that's the Rock Hall, which is what inspired me to apply here.
What are you learning through your internship so far?
I am learning every day about the experience of exploring the educational process of interpreting rock history, and the importance of that work. That has been very affirming to me in deciding what I want to do in the future. As for my project, every day is also a learning experience. No question is a dumb question when it comes to diving into independent research and deciding if the world of academia is for me, so it is great to have this opportunity and to have an interested and supportive mentor, like Professor Denial, there to guide me through it.