UMBC Interdisciplinary CoLab: Narrative-based Paid Internship

CoLab is a 4-week paid summer narrative-based research internship for undergraduate UMBC students. Participants will create an effective narrative about UMBC’s campus, communities, and lives with an interdisciplinary team of students. Open to all majors, this is an excellent opportunity for students in STEM fields to learn to tell effective stories and for students in social science and humanities fields to gain research and technical skills.

Participants receive a $3000 stipend and a tuition scholarship for a 3-credit internship course. The internship commitment is 30 hours per week during Summer Session One.

Summer 2022 Projects

1. Great Kids Farm: Farmapalooza

Project Leader: Katie Hileman, Theatre

Great Kids farm logo with two children holding a big tomato.The staff at Great Kids Farm have developed an interactive performance called Farmapalooza. It is geared for elementary school students, and includes a performance of vegetable “superheroes.” The play is followed by a tasting event featuring those vegetables cooked into a tasty dish. It concludes with a vote for the best vegetable dish! CoLab students will take this existing short play, and refine/enhance it for engaging performances both at the Farm and “on the road” (that is, in-school performances that expand the reach of the Farm’s work). Ideally, the enhancements would expand the number of vegetable characters to improve the play’s versatility across seasons, and include the creation of new transportable costumes and props.

Required skills and abilities for applicants
This project draws on skills, strengths, passions, and/or knowledge in theatre arts (broadly), narrative/dramatic writing, nutrition/food, and elementary education. Applicants should bring expertise in at least one of these areas.

2. Discovering Baltimore’s History Through Broadcast: A Guide to Researching Mid-Atlantic Regional Moving Image Archive’s WJZ Collection

Project Leader: Kristen Anchor, Media and Communication Studies

Baltimore skyline through a camera lense.The CoLab intern research team will explore the Mid-Atlantic Regional Moving Image Archive’s (MARMIA) collection, focusing on their WJZ-TV Collection which contains a/v materials including daily news broadcasts, documentary specials, sports footage, and locally produced shows created by WJZ from 1960 through 2000. Researchers will have the opportunity to explore how the collection documents the history of broadcasting in Baltimore, the history of the city itself, and the broader national context of this time period. Based on their research, the team will create a webpage housed on the MARMIA website giving an overview of the collection and its significance, highlights from the collection, and direction on how to search the collection. The webpage will include both written essays and videos created during the internship. This is a very unique research experience, as the WJZ-TV Collection is a very rare collection— nation-wide there are only a handful of network affiliate station archives that have survived and are this comprehensive.

Required skills and abilities for applicants
Research team members should have strong writing skills, some research experience, and most importantly curiosity about the subject matter (Baltimore City history, broadcast history, the challenges of a/v archiving, for example). Some video and web production experience is preferred, though not all students will need to have web or video production experience. Creativity, flexibility, and eagerness to work on a team are a must. Leadership experience is a plus. Students will be trained how to search MARMIA’s collections.

3. Oral Histories of the East Baltimore Documentary Photography Project

Project Leader: Dr. Kate Drabinski, Gender, Women’s, + Sexuality Studies

Older man with child sitting for a portrait.An interdisciplinary team of student researchers will examine the oral histories housed in UMBC Special Collections as part of the East Baltimore Documentary Photography Project collection. This archive contains a rich collection of photographs and oral histories assembled between 1975-1981 that document the changing nature of East Baltimore neighborhoods. This year’s researchers will use the oral histories to explore questions of racial and ethnic identity, urban change, and the role of storytelling in making community in East Baltimore. Based on this research and building on previous work done by CoLab researchers in 2019, the team will build a public-facing website that highlights knowledge from the oral histories through research essays and 2-4 new oral history interviews that explore the questions raised in the original project with East Baltimoreans today. The project’s goal is to create researched content for the Special Collections website to encourage researchers to use and add to the collection.

Required skills and abilities for applicants
Student members of the interdisciplinary team should come to the project with an interest in Baltimore City’s history, a curiosity about how neighborhoods change and how people resist and manage through that change, and strong written and oral communication skills. At least one student should have some experience with graphic design and/or website production. Students will be trained to use the Omeka platform, but it would be helpful to have at least one member of the research team with some familiarity with digital skills. At least one member of the research team should have experience working with and/or doing oral histories as part of their major or coursework.

4. Marketing for NonProfits: Friends of Great Kids Farm

Project Leader: Dr. Jennifer Maher, English

Students working on a farm.One of the most pressing challenges for small nonprofits is harnessing communication to increase visibility and to maximize fundraising efforts. The interdisciplinary team for this CoLab will help Friends of Great Kids Farm (Friends) address this challenge by developing a communication plan and marketing materials in order to better support its work for Great Kids Farm, owned and operated by Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS). Founded in 2011, Friends of Great Kids Farm works with City Schools to provide students hands-on opportunities at the farm, connect farm to plate, encourage environmental literacy, and promote healthy habits for the whole child (Friends’ Mission Statement). Although Friends has raised over $1 million for the Farm, it still faces ongoing challenges related to visibility, marketing, and fundraising. The CoLab team will develop a communication plan and marketing materials to (1) increase awareness among BCPSS teachers and families, as well as potential funders, partners, and supporters; and (2) raise funds for Great Kids Farms by engaging stakeholders.

Required skills and abilities for applicants
In order to ensure a successful project, student members for this interdisciplinary team should share the following traits: intellectual curiosity, strong written and oral communication skills, leadership ability, and solid research and production skills. Ideally, the team would have student expertise in:

  • Marketing and professional communication
  • Graphic/web/document design and video editing (e.g., InDesign, Premier Pro, iMovie, etc.)
  • Nonprofit work

Application requirements

  • To apply, you must be a UMBC degree-seeking undergraduate student, have completed at least 30 credits at UMBC, and you must submit an unofficial UMBC transcript
  • Your transcript must indicate that your UMBC cumulative grade point average is 3.20 or greater.
  • The review committee will only consider applications that meet the minimum qualifications and requirements. However, selection for this internship is competitive; therefore, meeting the minimum qualifications does not guarantee your selection.
  • You must complete the full application and answer all questions.

Application opens in February 2023.

Want to see more CoLab? Have a look at what past students accomplished during their internships! See Past Projects.


Please contact Rachel Carter at

The UMBC Interdisciplinary CoLab program is a partnership between The Office of Summer, Winter & Special Programs; the Dresher Center for the Humanities; and the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Activities Advisory Committee.