Austin Bergstrom

National Archives, Boeing Student Learning Center

"Since I started Cal and decided to major in history I knew I wanted to spend my last semester in Washington D.C. Thanks to the generous support of the Matsui Center, which has been an invaluable part of my undergraduate experience, I was able to make this a reality. For me, DC felt like the home of American history. Wherever you go our nation’s founding history is celebrated and remembered. 

"I spent the semester working with the education department at the National Archives, which was a great way to combine my interests in history and education. I led museum tours, helped pilot activities and gave video conferences. By the end of the semester I was leading classroom activities on my own and training the new intern. My last day at the Archives I was taken into the vaults (where only select archivists are allowed) and shown a few documents considered too fragile for the general researching public. Here I saw the journal of the first Continental Congress that revealed the tally of votes for George Washington as the first president, as well letters from Benjamin Franklin and Harriet Tubman, and even the first edition of MAD comics.   

"However, DC was more than just this incredible internship. While there I was able to attend the inauguration ceremonies, a fashion show where I was seated just across the aisle from Senator Feinstein, and see the changing of the guards at Arlington National Cemetery. I saw the presidential motorcade more than once. I took a theater class where I saw different productions every week around DC, Virginia and Maryland—including one at Ford’s Theater (where a painting of Lincoln still rests on his balcony chair).  On my spring break I went to NYC for the first time, a place I’ve wanted to visit since I was a little girl. 

"In DC, everyone is a part of something important, and it’s impossible not to feed off the city’s bustling energy and passion. Of all the great experiences Cal has provided me, this has been by far the most awe-inspiring and memorable. Thank you, Matsui Center!"