The American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS) offers students numerous opportunities to work as interns. In 2007 the ACMS established its Online Resource Development Intern (ORDI) Program to allow students opportunities to gain greater understanding of Mongolia while at the same time contributing to the collective knowledge of the scholarly community.
These internships provide students an opportunity to engage in research in various fields, including economics, politics, history, health, natural sciences, and humanities within the broad field of Inner and Central Asian Area Studies, and to gain practical experience with using internet and information technology. The skills and experience interns gain while working on their assignments are becoming increasingly important in private business and non-profit and government institutions because of the growing need for professionals with information technology and knowledge management skills.
The internship program is designed to allow ORDIs to work semi-independently on their research projects and conduct their work in Mongolia or from their city of residence. Previous interns have worked in the ACMS office in Ulaanbaatar while others have worked from other parts of Mongolia or North America. Although the emphasis of the program is on creating reference materials, ORDIs are generally not library and information science experts. They are students with specialized knowledge or strong interest in a topic that lacks adequate reference materials specific to Mongolia or the Inner Asian region.
Internships conducted in Mongolia generally require interns to secure their own travel, living, and health insurance expenses. The ACMS provides work space at the ACMS office, as well as assistance in locating housing and other logistical issues. If conducted in the intern’s city of residence, interns regularly interact with the ACMS office through use of various communications technologies. Internships are also conducted during the summer or during the academic school year. Each ORDI works with the ACMS prior to the start of the internship to develop a work plan, so each internship varies depending on factors such as the interests of the intern or the ACMS, the total time commitment of the intern, and whether the intern will work in Mongolia or in another location.
The ACMS strives to be the leader in information about Inner Asian Studies and discipline-based research in the region. In order to achieve this goal, the ACMS has several objectives involving the dissemination of information and knowledge management. A key objective is developing dynamic online resources for sharing information about Inner Asia to the broader international academic community. Interns play an integral role in meeting this objective by compiling and organizing information resources in ways that are useful to researchers in the region.
The ACMS requires assistance in gathering information and developing resources in the following areas:
- Governmental and non-governmental organizations
- Bibliographies and reference guides
- Societal, political, and cultural systems
- Geographical and spatial relations
- Public policy and law
- Natural science, social science, and humanities research
- Statistics and other quantitative data
- Administrative documentation of community driven online resources
- Web design and information technology systems development
For example, an intern could collect photographs, map coordinates, and compile summary descriptions of important buildings in Ulaanbaatar and work with the ACMS librarian to develop an interactive map of Ulaanbaatar city to include in the ACMS online map collection. Or, an intern could arrange a series of interviews with leading NGOs to compile information about their activities, and integrate this information into the ACMS’s online reference guide which is modeled in many respects after the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia. The type of work an ORDI does is really only bound by the imagination and commitment of the intern.
Requirements and Qualifications
Interns are required to develop a plan together with the ACMS that adequately matches the knowledge of the intern, supports the objectives described above, and provides the intern opportunities to acquire new skills. In addition, the interns should have the following qualifications:
- Specialized knowledge of a topic area important to the program objectives described above.
- A desire to learn new skills and to work outside his/her area of specialized knowledge.
- Ability to meet the demands of working in the difficult environment of a developing country or working with computer and internet technology.
- Demonstrated commitment to learning and personal development, as well as community development.
- Demonstrated ability to work independently and in teams in bilingual or cross-cultural settings.
ORDIs are also required to commit a meaningful amount of time to their work assignments. This can vary depending on the work plan, but generally interns should commit at approximately 160 hours to their projects. The ACMS Resident Director is the main contact for the interns, providing the interns with information or guidance necessary to complete their assignments and ensuring satisfactory progress in their work plans.
How to Apply
The internship is a semi-collaborative program allowing the interns to work with the ACMS to design a work plan that meets the goals of the intern and the ACMS. In order to apply please submit the following:
Cover Letter: Prepare a 500 words or less proposal for the resource you will develop during your internships and how it meets your professional or academic goals and the goals of the ACMS.
Current Resume or CV: Prepare you current resume or CV which highlights your qualifications, as described above.
Reference: Provide contact information for a professor or academic advisor who is able to describe your qualifications, as described above.
Send questions or your completed materials to the ACMS at firstname.lastname@example.org. The ACMS will then contact you to let you know if there is interest in further developing your proposal into a full work plan. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.