Emma Bloomberg Center for Access & Opportunity Archival Research Assistant

Position Description

The Emma Bloomberg Center for Access & Opportunity (EBCAO) is Princeton’s academic center for lower-income and first-generation undergraduate students. In the Center’s model of supporting the whole student to, through, and beyond college, Postgraduate Pathways at EBCAO helps undergraduates to envision and prepare for their lives beyond college, through experiential learning.


The director of Postgraduate Pathways, Dr. Afia Ofori-Mensa (Dr.O), is a scholar of American studies and gender studies. She is working on a book manuscript that presents a history of race, immigration, and the changing place of the United States of America in the world throughout the twentieth century, told through a focus on national beauty pageants. As she works to elaborate certain narratives and other data for the book, Dr.O is seeking a research assistant this summer to investigate any one, or more, of the following:


  • 1880 Miss United States pageant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
  • World’s Congress of Beauties at the 1893 Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in Chicago, Illinois
  • Norma Des Cygne Smallwood, Miss America 1926, listed on the Miss America website as the first Native woman to win the Miss America title
  • Number and demographics of participants in all contests in the Miss America (1921-present) and Miss Universe (1952-present) systems


The position may include weekend travel within the U.S. during the summer, paid for by the ASAP research and professional development award.


Apply By May 5th 11:59 PM EDT.


Internship Position

Archival Research Assistant


Maximum Number of Positions



Supervising Mentor

Dr. Afia Ofori-Mensa, Director of Equitable Postgraduate Academic Opportunity, Emma Bloomberg Center for Access & Opportunity


Skills You Will Need to Begin This Position

  • Ability to write clearly
  • Capacity to synthesize disparate information
  • Collaboration, including willingness to make and pursue connections with librarians, archivists, and others
  • High tolerance for frequent barriers that arise in the research process
  • Intellectual curiosity & creativity
  • Interest in designing and pursuing the various steps of identifying, locating, and analyzing obscure primary sources in multiple media
  • Self-direction


Skills You Will Develop

  • Archival Research
  • Library Research
  • Networking
  • Primary Source Analysis
  • Secondary Source Synthesis


Careers Related to This Internship

  • Academia/The Professoriate
  • Digital Humanities
  • Journalism
  • Library and Archives
  • Public Scholarship



  • This internship welcomes all eligible applicants, including RISE and Mountainview Community students.
  • Coursework or other experience in any of the following academic fields is preferred but not required
    • American Studies
    • Ethnic Studies
    • Gender Studies
    • Native & Indigenous Studies
    • Nineteenth- and Twentieth-century U.S. History


Materials Needed to Apply

  1. A statement of interest detailing the following: (You may format the statement as a personal statement or a cover letter, whichever is most comfortable for you. In either case, write the statement in paragraph prose, with a cohesive narrative flow, rather than as a numbered list or a series of short answers.)
    1. What your future goals are
    2. Why you care about those things
    3. What you understand to be the objectives of this project
    4. Why you and this project are a good fit (including both what you might contribute to the project and how this work could advance your future goals)
    5. At least one story of something you’ve done in the past where you developed or used skills relevant to this work, with an explanation of how that experience will shape your approach to our work together
    6. Which of the four project areas of focus listed above interest you and why
    7. What your approach would be to getting started with one or more of those areas this summer

2. Candidates selected as finalists should be available for a brief conversation via Zoom.

Apply By May 5th 11:59 PM EDT.


Contact Information 

Should you have questions or concerns about this internship, please reach out to Dr. Afia Ofori-Mensa.