Mount Union Students Intern at Alliance Chamber

February 04, 2015

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Three students from the University of Mount Union participated in an internship at the Alliance Chamber of Commerce during the fall 2014 semester. During their internship, history majors Amy Achenbach, a sophomore of Butler, Pennsylvania; junior Rebekah Davis of Alliance, Ohio and junior Andrew Oktavec of Brunswick, Ohio sorted through receipts, ledgers, photos and other historically significant items.

Students were commissioned by the Chamber to help sort through historical documents to be used as part of the Chamber’s 100th anniversary celebration taking place in 2015.

It is rare that history majors have the opportunity to complete an internship in the Alliance area, so when students learned about the opportunity, they were excited to help and get involved.

“Having the opportunity to do an internship in the City of Alliance was eye opening for me,” said Achenbach. “This is my home away from home. Through this internship I was able to learn all about the colorful history of this town. I feel more at home here in Alliance because I now know all of the great accomplishments that this community has achieved over its history.”

During the internship, the students found many historical items. They uncovered scrapbooks of news stories dating back to beatification projects in the 1950s. They uncovered articles about the role played by the Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce in the growth of Alliance. They also discovered a book about Mount Union graduate John Bentia ’38, who worked his way through school and eventually became president of his company. They also found that the chamber itself was actively involved with the growth of Alliance and was regularly bringing new buildings and businesses into the community.

“The research that I did during my internship covered nearly 30 years in which some of the biggest growth happened in Alliance,” said Oktavec. “A few things that I found during my research really gave me a new perspective on the history of Alliance and of Mount Union.”

The students not only provided much-needed help to the Chamber, they clearly benefitted from the experience.

“I never fully realized all of the things that Alliance has to offer,” Achenbach said. “Alliance may be a small city, but its history is rich and interesting. Also, it was clear throughout my research how interdependent the University and the community are. There are so many ways in which the university and the city work to strengthen each other. As a student I hope to continue that legacy.”

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