Rebekah Cheek serves internship at Smithsonian museum

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 4, 2011

SALISBURY — When Salisbury resident Rebekah Cheek was accepted for an internship at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., she struggled to believe it was true.
“I literally reread the email eight times to make sure,” she said.
Now Cheek is well into her internship living in the nation’s capital, working in the most visited museum in the world.
Cheek not only loves the Smithsonian Institution, but also the work she is doing there.
“I’ve really hit the jackpot,” she said.
Cheek works in the Office of Health and Safety, which covers not only the Air and Space Museum’s National Mall building but also two other branches of the museum in Virginia and Maryland.
She helps facilitate the protection and well-being of employees and visitors, as well as the building itself.
Her summer project involves making what’s called a “safety training matrix” to help document deficiencies or hazards at the facilities and then track the process of correction in addition to assisting with technical reviews.
Even though it does not directly relate to her U.S. History coursework from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is a senior, Cheek says she enjoys her work.
“My favorite thing about the Smithsonian is that no day is ever the same. I can come in on a Monday and do a lot of work on the computer and then on Tuesday, I’ll be running around so much that I only have time to briefly check my email,” she said.
Cheek’s co-workers have been especially welcoming to her, treating her with acceptance and respect.
“The people I’ve met don’t treat me as an intern but as a person coming in with new ideas and a fresh perspective,” she said.
Working for the Smithsonian has given Cheek an inside look into one of the most respected names in the world.
Her experiences with the organization have made this a summer to remember.
“I’ve never seen an organization that has as much camaraderie and support as this institution,” she said.