Oklahoma Voices 2023 Summer Youth Internship


We are asking for help identifying high school students (especially Native American students) who would be interested in a paid and for-credit University of Oklahoma internship, “Voices of Oklahoma,” this summer. The internship will teach up to ten (10) students about archaeology and how archaeology is being used to better understand Oklahoma’s people, with a focus on Native American boarding schools. This project will also mentor them in the production of the 2023 “Oklahoma Archaeology Month” poster (which will be distributed statewide in October 2023).

Voices of Oklahoma is one of the Oklahoma Public Archaeology Network’s signature programs for rising high school juniors and seniors from communities that have traditionally been excluded from archaeology.  

The summer internship this year will focus on the fraught history of Native American boarding schools in Oklahoma, and the goal is to introduce students—Indigenous themselves—to (1) archaeology, (2) boarding school history in the state, and (3) how archaeology can be used to empower communities to learn about and tell stories related to the role of boarding schools in their past.  

The internship will be co-taught by me (Dr. Farina King), in OU’s Native American Studies Department, who specializes in the histories of Native American experiences in boarding schools, and Bobi, Deere, a PhD candidate in anthropology at OU. We are working with Dr. Bonnie Pitblado who founded and directs the Oklahoma Public Archaeology Network (OKPAN), which sponsors a wide range of statewide programs, including the annual “archaeology month” each October, a biennial “Oklahoma Archaeology Conference,” curricula development for K–12 classrooms, an archaeological skills workshop series, and more.

We included key parts of the letter below that we use to recruit students for you to use and circulate as you see fit. Our approach is to target guidance counselors and teachers in particular, but other members of communities as well who might know of and be willing to nominate a student for the internship. We then reach out to nominated students and invite them to answer a few questions.  

Beyond seeking to teach about archaeology/history, we also aim to connect students to college, and we mentor them after the internship with the goal of helping them navigate the college application process (and if they come to OU, the transition to college).  

Students each receive 2 university credits to use at OU (or transfer elsewhere) and a financial stipend.  

We are looking for students who will be difference-makers within their own communities, and we make it clear to them that this is an ethic that underlies everything we cover.

Students are not expected to have any previous background in archaeology. Instead, we seek students who are:

  • Members of the Native American community will reserve top consideration, but we also welcome nominations of students from other communities historically excluded from archaeology (e.g., Black and Latiné students)
  • High school students in 2023-2024, with preference for rising juniors and seniors
  • Available to complete the internship in June and July 2023 (on a schedule to be determined by the needs of the participants, and that includes primary virtual instruction but also in-person field trips)
  • Intellectually curious
  • Creative (in thought and/or the fine and performing arts)
  • Socially conscious

Interns will receive:

  • OU course credit that can be applied at OU or transferred to any other college to which they later matriculate
  • A generous financial stipend to compensate for the days they may have to miss working at summer jobs

Interns will:

  • Learn archeological basics:  What is archaeology?  How do archaeologists collect data?  How can archaeology serve contemporary community members?
  • Learn (more than they already have) about the History of the American Indian boarding schools in Oklahoma
  • Meet archaeologists, historians, and others working on a variety of problems and using many different methods
  • Learn to effectively communicate a message to public audiences through visual and other media  
  • Apply what they learn through creation and distribution of the 2023 OklahomaArchaeology Month poster
  • Learn how archaeology is able to make a political and social impact
  • Receive mentoring after their internship that can carry them through and to college, if they wish

Nomination and selection process:  We will select interns on a first-come, first-served basis, based first on teacher or other community-member nominations and then upon a Zoom interview.  

If you know a student who you would recommend for this opportunity, please send a brief email with their name, a short explanation of their qualifications, and contact information for the student.   

Please send nominations to Bobi Deere (bobi.deere@ou.edu) as soon as possible, but by March 15, 2023 (please note that selection is first come, first serve, so if you know a particularly strong prospect, please submit their name ASAP).  

You can learn more about OKPAN and see the link to this recruitment letter at https://www.ou.edu/okpan/VoicesofOklahoma.

Thank you for your consideration and attention. Please let us know if you have questions, and many thanks for any help getting out the word!

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