As for all of us, 2020 started like a normal year. Plans for commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment were solidifying and I was finishing up writing and designing panels for the Evanston Women and the Fight for the Vote exhibit. Also within normal – two new interns started in January, both undergraduates at Loyola University. One, Alexia Oluwadeyi, was to focus on helping us tell more of the Evanston suffrage story. The other, Annie Cebrzynski, was to focus on Illinois. Both would be adding to the two websites we had under production – this website and our sister website – suffrage2020illinois.org.
The first week of March saw the exhibit open and both interns well underway with their projects. It also saw a complete shutdown of operations at the history center and at Loyola due to the pandemic – with the shutdown happening within days of the exhibit opening. Both interns now had to work remotely and adjust to online classes and decide whether or not to move home. Both of them adjusted very quickly – and were thankfully able to continue their projects completing their Loyola internships on time.
As it began to appear that we would need to be closed at EHC for the remainder of spring and into the summer, we decided to ask both Alexia and Annie to stay on as summer interns in our Vickie Burke Internship in Women’s History program. This is a paid internship position, funded by donors to honor Vickie’s role in founding the women’s history project and her long standing comment to advancing women’s issues in our community. This year marks the sixth year we have offered the internship. Rather than recruit a new intern, we decided it would be easier, safer, and actually extend the experience for both Annie and Alexia. They agreed and after several months of additional research and writing, they both just finished up their summer internships. See below for more about each of them. If you want to see their work, explore this exhibit and visit this website.
I’m Alexia Oluwadeyi and I am completing my degree in Women and Gender Studies with a minor in Political Science at Loyola University Chicago. Through this internship, I have learned so much about women’s history and the power of women coming together and organizing. Following my undergraduate degree, I will be continuing my education and pursuing paralegal studies in the fall, I hope to pursue a career in human rights law in the following years with a focus on women’s rights advocacy. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the Evanston Women’s History Project and I feel fortunate to have worked alongside feminist historians who have demonstrated the importance of history and the necessity to learn from the past to better our lives.
I’m Annie Cebrzynski and I started interning in the spring semester of my senior year. Being a history major, I was very excited to begin an internship where I would be uncovering the story of many amazing women. I was able to use the research skills that I had practiced for four years within my internship, which I found only strengthened them more. I was given the opportunity to uncover the story of the African American suffragists who were overlooked, but achieved just as many wonderful things as their white counterparts. I was able to learn a great amount about the suffrage movement as whole through my internship. My research focused on the Illinois story of events, which opened my eyes to many new experiences. (Note: Annie will be attending George Washington University to pursue a Masters degree in Public Administration in the fall.)
Thank you Alexia and Annie! Good luck in your future endeavors and stay well!
Lori Osborne, EWHP Director