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Meet JMC's new field experience coordinator

September 14, 2023 - Beth Brauer

Lauren Michalak (she/her) is from Benzie County, Michigan. After graduating from JMC, she worked in Lansing for five years in the Michigan Senate and then moved to the D.C. area to earn her master's and doctorate degrees in early American history from the University of Maryland, College Park.


How did you learn about JMC? What are your goals for your position as field experience coordinator?

I first learned of JMC during my summer tour of campus in my junior year of high school. I actually intended to go into nursing, but the tour guide was a JMC student and his passion as he described the college and its emphasis on public affairs and community had me switching my major before I even applied!

I want to ensure the Field Experience Office assists and prepares students to undertake their field experience requirement. This means helping students understand their options to fulfill the requirement and finding the option — be it internship, education abroad, honors thesis — that will satisfy their personal, professional and/or academic interests.The field experience requirement is a benchmark of a Madisonian education, and having done an internship to fulfill that requirement when I was an undergrad, I understand just how valuable this experience is for students.

What previous experiences have you had prior to this position?

Prior to becoming the field experience coordinator, I was the project manager and assistant editor at the "Slavery, Law, & Power Project", a digital humanities project that transcribed and edited documents from the 17th-19th centuries. I also worked as an instructor of record, teaching assistant, and graduate assistant while completing my Ph.D.

When I was working at the Michigan Senate, I was a constituent relations aide for a state senator, and a committee clerk for four standing senate committees. 

You certainly bring some unique experiences to your role! Please share a bit more about your research and expertise.

My dissertation examined the connections between the American Revolution and the 1780 riots in London (known as the Gordon Riots). I examine how London protestors and rioters adopted and adapted the rhetoric of the American Revolution, and how the events of the riots influenced the actions of American Loyalists, American Patriots and diplomats around Europe.

I've worked with and overseen student interns during my time in the Michigan Senate and as project manager for the "Slavery, Law, & Power" Project. I've also taught and mentored students through the process of writing a research paper and senior honors thesis.