Elite internship with the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded to MSU English student

Katie Poe 2020

Contact: John R. Burrow

STARKVILLE, Miss.— A graduate student in Mississippi State University’s English department garnered a prestigious internship this summer with the National Endowment for the Humanities, working as a Pathway Student Summer Intern in the NEH Office of Communications.

Katelyn M. “Katie” Poe, a native of Valley Head, AL, earned her bachelor’s degree in English in 2019 from MSU. She plans to complete her master’s degree from MSU in 2021.

Created in 1965, the National Endowment for the Humanities—an independent federal agency—is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States, providing grants designed to strengthen teaching and learning in schools and colleges and facilitate research and original scholarship.

As an NEH intern, Poe will assist with research for NEH communications materials and social media, research and contribute material for publication, and fact-check for NEH’s communications and publications offices.

“I was recommended to apply to the internship from one of my amazing professors, Dr. Lara Dodds,” said Poe, who also credits Katherine Flowers, MSU assistant professor of English, for helping prepare her for the internship. “I really believe the writing skills I learned from my

English classes and professors, as well as my experience writing for The Reflector, made a great impact on my ability to apply for and receive this internship.”

Poe said her experience with academic and journalism writing “impressed my interviewers.”

“Taking classes such as grant writing and digital humanities this past academic year also prepared me to work with an agency that has a large focus on both of those fields,” said Poe.

Dan Punday, professor and head of MSU’s English department, said Poe’s achievement is part of the ongoing success of the English department’s larger initiative to “develop practical experience that will help them transition into careers after graduation.”

“English degrees provide students with great skills in research, analysis and communication, and internships like this help them to explore the range of career trajectories open to them,” he said.

Poe also has an internship with the Mississippi Quarterly this summer where she assists in checking quotes for scholarly essays to ensure accuracy.

“My position at the Mississippi Quarterly working with Laura West and Dr. Ted Atkinson has given me invaluable fact-checking and design experience that I’m positive helped me to land this [NEH] job,” Poe said.

NEH grants have produced approximately 7000 books, 16 of which have won Pulitzer Prizes, and 20 of which have received the Bancroft Prize. Other grants have produced “The Civil War,” the landmark documentary by Ken Burns viewed by 38 million Americans; The Library of America editions of novels, essays, and poems celebrating America’s literary heritage; The

United States Newspaper Project, which cataloged and microfilmed 63.3 million pages of historic newspapers, paving the way for a digital repository; and more.

MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,200 students, 325 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs, 14 master’s programs, and 27 undergraduate academic majors offered in 14 departments. It also is home to the most diverse units for research and scholarly activities, including natural and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities. For more details about the College of Arts and Sciences or the Department of English visit www.cas.msstate.edu or www.english.msstate.edu.

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