Jerod Gibson-Faber, ’16, from Canastota, New York is majoring in history at Colgate, and working with the Oneida County Historical Society as a Field School Fellow. Each summer, the Historical Society invites a student to create an exhibit for the main hall, on a subject of his or her choosing that has relevance to the history of Utica and the surrounding area. As a soccer player, Jerod has chosen to create an exhibit about local sports and he is now three weeks in to the project and gathering information articles and artifacts for display. He has quickly discovered that there is a rich history in the region of a variety of sports, from baseball to basketball to soccer to the Olympics.
In addition to creating the exhibit about the history of sports in Utica, Jerod is helping with the continuing digitization project, in which the society’s vast collection of newspapers that date to the mid 1800s are photographed and indexed so that researchers might be able to access them easily. He is also writing a bi-weekly blog on the society’s website, which focuses on a variety of topics such as an artifact, a person, or a local tradition.
Jerod is taking advantage of the opportunity the fellowship provides to strengthen his research skills. “In taking the position I knew I was going to be working on an intense research project for the summer,” he said. “I am really excited for the opportunity to do so, as improving my research skills is something on which I would like to work. I spent last spring in London doing my own research at the British Library, and this is another opportunity for me to do more of the same. The exhibit I’m creating will hopefully attract visitors and increase the community interest in the historical society, and it’s a rewarding rewarding opportunity to revamp the way the society uses social media to promote its image and to interact with the community in a new way.”
He is also taking advantage of the opportunity to learn about a professional workplace by observing the Historical Society as a model. “One of the main things I hoped to gain from being a Field School Fellow was simply a meaningful work experience. This job has given me valuable time to interact with my boss, whereas in previous jobs I have had, my interactions have been via email and less frequent. I am also interested in continuing to pursue community action, and this fellowship gives me the opportunity to offer my service to a local entity while learning about the community.”