My name is Charlotte Riestenberg, and I am the half-time Preserve WV AmeriCorps Member for the Harrison County WV Historical Society. I am from Clarksburg, WV but was born in West Palm Beach, FL. I graduated from Robert C. Byrd High School in 2015. During my time in high school I was a member of the Robert C. Byrd show choir Vocal Intensity, a member of the theater department, president of the RCB FFA Chapter, and co-captain for the colorguard. In the fall of 2015, I started my college career at Fairmont State University. For my first semester I was an Undeclared Major. I was struggling to find a major that I was interested in. I did not want to be one of those students who constantly changed their major. While I decided on a major, I decided to join the Collegiate Singers and Fairmont State Marching Band as a color-guard member because these were things I knew and loved. This made my first semester easier. Finally, by spring of 2016, I decided on majoring in history with minors in folklore studies, outdoor recreation leadership, and museum studies. I started getting more involved in the activities at the Frank and Jane Gabor Folk Life Center at Fairmont State. I and other students collected and edited stories for the Traditions Magazine that the Folk Life Center produces every year. We gathered stories from the Ruth Ann Musick collection. I started gaining interest in archival work and preservation.
This past summer I was an AmeriCorps Member for Energy Express. I very much enjoyed that program. I connected with the community that I really knew nothing about, and with what AmeriCorps was doing to better the community. In the middle of July, I received an email from the Appalachian Studies Association about PAWV AmeriCorps needing members for local sites all over West Virginia. I noticed that my local historical society was looking for a half time AmeriCorps member. When looking through the description of the position I immediately applied. I am so glad that the Harrison County WV Historical Society and PAWV chose me for the position. I believe that being a part of the PAWV will not only teach me to be a better historian, preservationist, and student, but also teach me to help members of the community and teach them how important preservation is.
As I start this year long journey at the historical society, I hope to gain a better understanding of how the leaders in the community come together to get things done. I hope to expand my archival and preservation skills as well as learn new skills such as accessioning, cataloging, and some grant writing. I am excited to be a part of this great group of people at the historical society, as well as the PAWV members who are also out there doing great things for West Virginia.