About Us

The Office of Academic Appointments and Internships has the central management and administrative responsibility for the Institution's programs of fellowships and research associate appointments. One of its primary objectives is the facilitation of the Smithsonian's scholarly interactions with students and scholars at universities, museums, and other research institutions around the world. The Office administers Institution wide research support programs, and encourages and assists other Smithsonian museums, research institutes and research offices in the development of additional fellowships and visiting appointments.

The Smithsonian Institution encourages access to its research staff, collections, and reference materials by visiting scholars, scientists, and students. The Institution offers appointments for research and study using its collections, facilities, with the advice and guidance of its research staff members. These appointments enable qualified persons to make use of Smithsonian resources in pursuing studies related to research interests of the Institution and its staff. Appointments vary in duration, and many carry financial support.



Pamela (Hudson) Veenbaas joined the Academic Appointments and Internships in April 1990. She now heads the office. Her responsibilities over her time with the office included outreach for all Smithsonian Internships and Fellowships programs and the development of policies for academic appointments and programs. She managed the Smithsonian’s Diversity Awards Program, the Native American Awards Program and various fellowship, internship and grant programs.

Pamela attended school at Michigan State University and received her degrees in Zoology and Sociology. She continued on to receive her master’s degree in Museum Studies with an academic core in Anthropology/Biology at George Washington University. Formerly, Pamela worked as a social worker with the Foster Care System in Detroit, Michigan. She has volunteered at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, in the Department of Zoological Research, in the National Museum of Natural History’s Entomology department and interned in the education department at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She devoted to increasing diversity and supporting fellows as they conduct their research and pursue their careers.


Headshot of Pamela Veenbaas
Pamela (Hudson) Veenbaas
Fellowships Manager

Christian J. Kameni is a Program Specialist in the Academic Appointments and Internships. He joined OAAI in 2019 and since then has been responsible for US and non-US fellowship appointments processing and managing decentralized fellowship programs.

Christian attended school at Morgan State University and received a degree in History. He continued to receive his master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Kansas. After completing his undergraduate studies, he was a finalist for the Fulbright program, and was offered an English Teaching Assistantship position with the French ministry of Education. While teaching English in France, he also contributed to the development of English language curriculums for the Centre International D’etudes Pedagogiques and volunteered for several international organizations including the Red Cross.

Prior to working at OAAI in 2018, Christian worked as a student affairs administrator at the University of Kansas and the University of the District of Columbia. He was responsible for advising students, managing scholarship programs, and facilitating programming for students. He is passionate about increasing access to higher education for underrepresented groups and diversifying the museum field through academic appointments.


Headshot of Christian Kameni
Christian Kameni
Program Specialist       

Chris Wu is a Program Specialist at the Office of Academic Appointments and Internships (OAAI) who began his journey at the Smithsonian in 2018 through the Internship to Fellowship (I2F) Program. As an intern, Chris worked on exhibition and conservation projects at the Museum Conservation Institute, Paintings Conservation Department. Afterwards, Chris joined the OAAI team and has since provided organizational and administrative support for various Fellowships programs. He has also enjoyed developing OAAI’s presence on the Smithsonian Magazine’s Voices blog to help make visible the diversity of voices and scholarship at SI.

Chris has experience working for public service organizations in the D.C. area, including the International Leadership Foundation, a non-profit that promotes the public service of young Asian Americans. In the Fall of 2016, Chris was accepted into the White House Internship Program where he worked in the Office of Calligraphy during the last months of the Obama Administration. Prior to returning to D.C. in 2018, Chris worked at his alma mater, where he facilitated programming for the Art Department students, faculty and staff. He holds a B.A. in Studio Art and Asian Studies from Colorado College.


Headshot of Chris Wu
Chris Wu
Program Specialist  
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