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Internship Spotlight – Ella Rubenstein

This post is part of our Internship Spotlight series, which consists of short interviews with students about their internship experiences. The interview reflects on what the student has learned from the experience and any advice they’d give to individuals looking for internships. Our next spotlight is with Ella Rubenstein, a second-year UW Museology Student.


What organization are you interning with? Can you tell me what you are doing for your internship?

Second-year Museology student Ella Rubenstein

I’m interning at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in the paleontology department. My main duty is to update storage locations and create new catalog records for specimens from the cretaceous period. I’ve also come up with a plan to optimize storage space and make room for recently prepared specimens.

What learning goals did you have going into this internship?

I wanted to gain experience with their database. Each collection I’ve worked with has used a different program, so for future collections management jobs it’s important to be able to pick up any new database quickly.

What have you ended up learning from your internship so far? Have there been any unexpected takeaways or learning moments?

After going through thousands of specimen vials, I learned that many fossils are TINY, like the size of a pin. I was not expecting specimens of that size to make up such a large part of the collection.

What are you enjoying most about this internship?

Museology second-year student Ella Rubenstein at work with a Triceratops fossil in the Burke Museum Paleontology departmentI enjoyed chatting with my supervisor, Katie, and nerding out about collections management and dinosaurs with her. This position has also reignited my interest in paleontology.

What’s next? How does this internship relate to your career goals?

I’m not sure what’s next, but it’s nice to know that if I choose a collections management path post-graduation, this internship will have given me valuable experience.