Summer Smarties // 2022 Interns

Published in People in Preservation.

Summer 2022 brought a bounty of smart, curious students who contributed to our ongoing and special projects. We’re sorry to see Wilhelmina, Addie, Clare, and Raye return to their studies, but thank them for bringing their enthusiasm and wonderful perspectives to PPS!

Wilhelmina Giese, rising senior at Roger Williams University

I am a South Dakota farm girl going into my senior year studying Historic Preservation.

This summer I continued my work from this spring semester by working on updating the Guide to Providence Architecture. Also, I had the chance to dive into research for a project focused on the proposed location of the new RIPTA bus hub on Dorrance Street. The continuation of my internship has given me the opportunity to appreciate long-term projects at a preservation nonprofit. As technology adapts, we have to adapt with it, and when new histories or perspectives are discovered, we have a responsibility to share them. For me, those things mean a consistent commitment to accessibility. My work with the Guide is focused on making sure that Providence’s history is being told in the most accessible way. It has been a meaningful experience committing myself to this project.

The research project I tackled was another way of sharing Providence’s history. In looking at such a small, specific area, I was surprised at all the layers of history in one place. Some highlights from my research into just a few blocks downtown included the short but notable history of the Providence Opera House and even the sordid tale of Judge John Dorrance, whom the street is named after, and his libel suit against Governor Fenner in 1801.

Working with PPS on these has only added to my love of history and has made me even more committed to the preservation field.

Adreishka Luciano, master’s candidate at Rhode Island College

I was born and raised here in Providence, and I am a first-year graduate student at Rhode Island College. My undergraduate degree was in History, and I am on track to complete my master’s degree in Public History this December. Last spring, I took my first graduate-level class on Rhode Island history and fell in love with researching, and digging into archives, databases, and libraries. 

This summer, my internship project with PPS included researching a school teacher from the Old Brick School House and the founding of the Prince Hall Masons. Working as a research intern for PPS has furthered my knowledge and interest in the history of Rhode Island. I was able to use the city archives and online databases, and even contact a museum in London for some amazing primary sources in order to help PPS collect pertinent information that would help them update articles on their website and make our findings available to the public.

During my time with PPS, I noticed the family dynamic of the people who work here every day to keep Providence’s history alive and well. This experience has taught me how to do the groundwork necessary to get the results I need for my research, and through helping PPS I have observed how important their work is to the public. I strive to make a difference the way that these hardworking people seem to do so effortlessly.

Clare McNamara, rising senior at Sewanee: The University of the South

I am from Bolton, Massachusetts. I go to school in Tennessee at Sewanee, where I am studying History and French. I reached out to PPS about a summer internship in order to put my history degree to use in the real world. I enjoy learning about the history of new places, and Providence — while I grew up only an hour away — is a new city for me to explore. The Providence Preservation Society helped me learn more about the city and the people who lived here. 

I have really enjoyed my work this summer. Documenting and digitizing various property records around Providence has given me a better understanding of the city. While driving on the city streets, I often recognize buildings that I have previously cataloged in PPS’s historic slide collection. I’ve also seen firsthand the importance of physical preservation — as I look at slides of how homes looked 50 years ago, compared to how they look now, the value of restoration is clear. 

I have greatly enjoyed my work with PPS this summer. I have gained a greater appreciation for the history of New England, particularly the architectural history of this area. I have also loved exploring Providence.

Raye Osayimwese Sisson, rising senior at Choate Rosemary Hall

I am from Providence, and I attend Choate Rosemary Hall, a boarding school near New Haven, Connecticut. I have always been interested in American history as a subject in school, but this summer I wanted to explore a career option that would allow me to pursue my interest. I have spent this summer learning about both the field of preservation and the city of Providence, mostly focusing on the early suffrage movement within Providence. I have had lots of fun and can’t wait to share my research!


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