Exploring Her Major through Experience: Cathy Bonilla

Cathy Bonilla is a senior at Roanoke College. Like many students, Cathy is extremely involved both inside and outside of the classroom, so when one of her professors asked her if she would be interested in pursuing an internship of course she jumped at the opportunity. This fall Cathy completed an internship at the Taubman Museum of Art in downtown Roanoke under the supervision of Dr. Deetz. After a brief Q&A with Cathy I was able to hear a little bit more about her experience!

Diana: How did you become involved with the Taubman Museum?

Cathy: I became involved with the Taubman Museum through Dr. Deetz in the history department. While trying to finish my requirement for the history major, I told my advisor that I wanted to do something different, something engaging and she directed me to Dr. Deetz to look at possibilities for internships. When I met with Dr. Deetz she told me about this oral history project for the Taubman Museum of Art where she was documenting the stories of people who lived through the civil rights movement and I was automatically excited.


Diana: What were your responsibilities at the Taubman as an intern?

Cathy: As an intern, I worked directly under Dr. Deetz. My main jobs were to interview people from the Roanoke Valley that lived through the civil rights movement and document their experience and feelings of the movement, both locally and nationally. I transcribed each interviews and proof read them. I took out quotes from each interview that captured the essence of some of the feelings of the interviewees. My final task was to give a short small speech about my experience in working on the exhibit.


Diana: Were you able to apply any of the information from your public affairs major to your internship?

Cathy: Many of the information needed to discuss the Civil Rights movement and understand it through other’s experience would can be applied to Public Affairs as we discuss the politics of the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. We can also apply it to the discussion of Human rights and laws related to discrimination.


Diana:Can you now apply any of the skills at your internship to your public affairs major?

Cathy: These skills can also be applied to doing field research on a topic and you are researching for a greater paper. I have found this topic extremely intriguing and I could see myself using this as a basis for a project later.


Diana: Tell me a little bit about your presentation with Dr. Deetz.

Cathy: Dr. Deetz and I were part of a panel discussion at the Taubman last Thursday in order to discuss the project with the community. Dr. Deetz explained how this project came to be and what it meant to her and I discussed how I became part of this project and my experiences working on it. With us on the panel was one of the interviewees who spoke about some of her experiences during the civil rights movement, some of which here heighted in the exhibit.


Diana: What are your plans post-grad?

Cathy: I plan to take a year or two off from school and intern and or work for a government agency to gain some experience after which I will go back to school and earn a Masters Degree in International Relations.


Cathy’s internship at the Taubman museum allowed her to pursue something that truly interested her. Her background in both International Relations and History made this a truly unique opportunity. If you have questions about Cathy’s internship, she’d love to answer your questions via email at ctbonilla@mail.roanoke.edu!