Wabash Blogs Immersion 2009: D.C. Externships

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Kris Klondaris ‘12

Today was my last day of working with Mr. Hayden Wetzel, class of ’72. Mr. Wetzel is the archivist at the Sumner School, which collects, archives, and preserves historical material for the 100+ Washington D.C. public schools. Mr. Wetzel and I have undertaken many projects in the last four days –projects that I found to be very educational and rewarding. On Monday morning, when I first arrived at work, I was brought up to speed on how the archives is organized, and then we got right to work.
Throughout the course of the last four days, we worked on a series of projects including: traveling to the Senate Curator’s office at the Capitol Building to investigate what we thought was Charles Sumner’s Senate desk at the time of the famous Sumner-Brooks affair (turns out it was an 1816 House of Representatives desk - a significant item nonetheless), retrieving Washington Star material from the Washingtoniana collection to add to the archives, visiting the Senate Historian’s office to collect information on the Congressional Page School, and lots more. The time not allotted to retrieving material was spent back at the Sumner School archiving the recently acquired items.Mr. Wetzel was kind enough to take time off before work to visit some historic locations with me, including the huge Basilica at Catholic University of America, and I am thankful that he taught me more history than I ever thought I could comprehend in only four days.

Of course, the working part of the externship has only been part of the experience. The six externs and dozens of Wabash alumni have so far met on two occasions. Speaking with the alums and learning from their expertise has given me a lot of insight into the possibilities of my Wabash and post-Wabash careers.Long dinner conversations with my hosts, Dave Pancost ’69 and his wife Paige, have taught me more about Wabash,and what it means to be a part of all that Wabash has to offer. I am grateful to all those who made this enriching experience possible.