How did you find your internship?
It all started when I took a PCM (Professional Communication Management) class. One of the class requirements was to conduct an informational interview with a local business professional. My interview was with Heather Winter, the lead librarian and archivist at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Shortly after that meeting, I started volunteering at the museum. I did that for about six months until my internship started in the fall 2011 semester.
Describe your internship.
It really opened my eyes to the archivist and library sciences experience. Once my internship started, I learned how to catalogue books and gained a better understanding of the library’s shelving system. I’m involved with the organization of archive boxes where I go through each one to identify what’s inside then compile a computerized database for easy, future access. I also work with docents who are the public educators. I help research their requests and pull information for them.
What would you list as the highlights?
I have a hard time picking just one thing, but working with the Marvin and Janet Fishman collection was exciting. The Fishmans made a book donation to the library and I was part of the team that went through every book to assess what we had, which gave me a chance to expand my knowledge and further develop my ability to aesthetically engage with this period in art. Their collection dealt extensively with German Expressionism, Realism and Surrealism, so I enjoy establishing the connections of WWII and how it is depicted in art, especially pertaining to the female figure, which coincides with my Women and Gender Studies major.
How has this internship prepared you for your next career step?
It has definitely placed me in an environment where I enjoy being, so much so that I’d like to pursue graduate school for museum studies and library sciences. And it’s because of the internship that I honed my love for research. It’s like a scavenger hunt. Every fact leads you down another path. You find all these new things you’re interested in pursuing and this new knowledge you want to obtain.
How has your Alverno experience helped with the transition to your internship?
I have a deeper confidence within myself. My communication skills have improved. When interacting with people, my subtle whisper has grown into something more powerful. I have purpose and focus that drives me toward additional educational experiences or insight. And had it not been for the original class assignment, I wouldn’t have the volunteer position, which led to the internship. It helped me realize the power and importance of networking.
What are your plans after graduation?
Graduate school would be lovely but something I will pursue further down the line. For now, I’m hoping to do some type of historical research either working at a museum or for someone writing a book. In fact, I’m currently working on a book project with a friend. We just started the research component, but the book will highlight independent music stores across the country, particularly ones focused on vinyl sales. We’ll trace their roots, identify the owners’ personal connection and explain what keeps them going. The concept sparked from my experiences spending time in record stores as a teenager, along with a love of music and the desire to document them before they slowly start to evaporate.