American University Gap student ambassador Tommy MaddinsonTommy Maddinson

March 27, 2019 | Hi! My name is Tommy Maddinson and I’m an AU Gap Student this spring. I’m originally from the UK, so the gap program provides a great opportunity to study and work in the U.S. I’m really enjoying my time at AU so far, even if my accent does sound out of place!

My internship this spring is at the Army Historical Foundation, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to the preservation and education of U.S. Army history, and is based in Arlington, Virginia. The Foundation is also responsible for the campaign to build the National Museum of the United States Army opening in 2020, so it’s an exciting time to be in the office. I bike down to and from the Foundation via the Capital Crescent trail each day and it’s usually a quiet relaxing ride if I remember to leave on time. I’m an off-campus student so I also bike to class twice a week. One great thing about the AU Gap Program is that you’re given a Metro UPass during your time here in DC, which means that I always have a backup in case the weather goes pear shaped!

Shenandoah National ParkEach day at the Army Historical Foundation is full of variety: I could be working on the military history magazine On Point one day, and the next I’m answering historical inquiries on a whole range of topics including expeditions to Alaska and the service records of family relatives. Plus, I’ve been lucky enough to go to the National Archives at College Park twice this semester where I had to locate and scan Army Signal Corps photos of Silver Star recipients for an article in the magazine. At the moment, I’m writing my own feature article on the history of the 7th Infantry Division in Attu during the Second World War. I’m going to start my undergraduate degree in History in the UK this fall, so all these experiences at my internship will be great for both my historical studies and my future career.

When I’m not at the Army Historical Foundation, I’m either in class at AU or exploring DC and the surrounding region. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been hiking in Shenandoah National Park, visiting museums and attempting bird photography in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge!