Merrill interns at U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Tyler Merrill came to Roanoke College from South New Jersey, and he genuinely loves the school and the campus.
But Merrill was on Roanoke's campus just twice last fall. He spent the semester in Washington, D.C., working and interning through Roanoke's partnership with the Lutheran College Washington Semester Program.
An internship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum meant Merrill spent his fall days in downtown Washington, just a few blocks from the National Mall. Along with the other participants in the Washington Semester Program, he also took classes, went on weekly field trips and volunteered with local non-profit organizations.
The Holocaust Museum was of particular interest to Merrill, who is a senior history major with plans to teach high school, coach a swimming team and possibly enter law school a little later in life. The favorite part of his internship was welcoming groups of middle and high school students to the museum and giving them an orientation of the space. He talked with young visitors each day about the Holocaust through daily question-and-answer sessions.
While in D.C., Merrill elected to take courses that spoke to his personal interests. A course called Global Agenda allowed him to explore ways global communities are built and differences in world governments. Another course, Architecture of the Capitol, complemented one of the Intellectual Inquiry courses he had taken at Roanoke. That course, Images of Power, discussed how architecture works as art.
Merrill says his most memorable experience in the nation's capital was volunteering as an advocate for homeless and runaway youths.
"D.C. has wonderful programs for the homeless," he says. "It's phenomenal...I was left with a passion for getting involved and doing my part to help right some wrongs."
"I didn't think I was much of a city person," Merrill says. "But after being here, with so many ways to get around, I think it's cool." The experience - and especially the ease of public transportation - has opened his mind to the possibility of living in the city.
"I can walk to where the free world is moving. I think that's incredible," Merrill says.
Traci Crockett '01