Museum Studies Students and Alumni

Many Museum Studies students undertake creative projects in their internships at the university’s Museum of Culture and Environment (MCE) and off-campus. Some have gone on to exciting careers within museums or related cultural institutions.

Ross Quenell '13 is the new Associate Curator for Education and Outreach at the Orlando Museum of Art.

Erika Naficy '15 interned at the Kittitas County Historical Museum in the Fall of 2014, helping staff redesign and reinstall their noteworthy exhibition of dolls. She worked on conservation and pest control and on exhibition text, helping transform an exhibition on dolls into the history of children and childhood in the county. Read about Erika's internship.

Barbara Hammbersberg '15 coordinated a student-developed exhibition project on homelessness and substance abuse in Kittitas County in the Fall of 2014 and Winter of 2015, to complement the exhibition "Righteous Dopefiend: Homelessness, Addiction and Poverty in Urban America" from the Penn Museum, based on the research of Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg. Read about how Barbara developed this installation.

Pam Stephenson '15 is interning at the Ellensburg Public Library, helping community members pursue family history and genealogy research.

In collaboration with Shane Scott, director of the Central Washington Anthropology Survey (CWAS), Evin Chenvert '15 and Karina Harig '13 researched and installed the MCE exhibition "Archaeologists Dig Central: Excavating the Campus", documenting CWAS discoveries on the Ellensburg campus.

Sara Bair '15 is active in the disability rights student organization ABLE. As an undergraduate representative to the MCE’s Museum Advisory Council, she advises the museum on issues related to accessibility and inclusiveness. In this image, Sara and Prof. Hope Amason (assisted by Gizmo!) contemplate how to make a display case in the museum "white cane safe" for low-vision and no-vision visitors. A low-lying "lip" on the floor alerts those using a white cane that they are approaching the case. During Spring 2014 Sara and intern Vernee Hemphill '14 helped develop inclusive puppetry shows at the museum on environmental themes. Sara is currently developing arts programming for the exhibition "Righteous Dopefiend" coming to MCE in Winter 2015.

Hanna Person '14 was awarded a prestigious paid internship in collections management at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in the Washington D.C. area. During the Summer of 2014 she was based at the Smithsonian's Museum Support Center helping to register and accession the museum's noted collection of global Rastafarian material culture, working under the noted scholar of Afro-Caribbean religions, Dr. Jake Homiak, Director of the Department of Anthropology's Archives and Collections program. Find out more about the CWU Grad Picked Smithsonian Museum Internship

To supplement the Fall 2011 exhibition, “Tall Tales through the Mail,” on the genre of tall tale postcards, Sarah Borer '12 developed an installation called “The Imaginarium,” composed of three fantastical untitled dioramas which invited our visitors to compose creative captions. She helped locate and locate the original head of the university mascot, “Wellington,” with interpretive signage on the cultural history of the concept of the mascot in modern society. As a Museum Education intern, Sarah coordinated the development of lesson plans for elementary and middle schoolers in environmental studies and archaeology. Sarah currently oversees membership at the C.M. Russell Museum in Montana.

As a Museum Education intern, Casey Demory '13 developed an imaginative game to teach children about catch and release fishing; she make extensive contributions as a researcher to the MCE exhibition “Where There‘s Smoke...Living with Fire.” Casey has recently been hired as Program and Exhibit Manager at the Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor, WA.

In the Spring of 2012, Heather Hansen '13 and James Grandon '13 organized the exhibition “Through the Rabbit Hole: A Journey Into Imaginary Worlds,” exploring the poetics and politics of mapping fantasy domains. This installation, which ingeniously complemented the visiting exhibition The Mapmaker’s Eye, was carefully designed to appeal to visitors of all ages. They made the show accessible to young children through a fantasy “storyline” of images on vinyl. They engaged adults and teens in thinking about the political (even colonial) dimensions of Tolkien’s maps of Middle Earth.

As an MCE intern, Erika Hinze '13 worked with theater design professor Mark Haniuk to install evocative design elements, recalling the basalt walls of the Yakima River Canyon, for our Winter 2013 exhibition “Voices of the River.” In the spring of 2013 as an intern at the Kittitas County Historical Museum (KCHM), she designed a re-installation of the Rollinger Rock and minerals collection. Erica is currently employed as the KCHM’s museum assistant, the second-ranked position in the museum.

Justin Poole '13 combined his love of music composition with museum studies, designing a series of creative soundscapes. For the Fall 2012 MCE exhibition on the Hanford nuclear reservation, he created a sophisticated sound piece titled “Atomic Tears,” sampling audio segments from the Cold War era. For the exhibition Voices of the River his soundscape incorporated river sounds and indigenous drumbeats to emulate the changing “heart beat” of the river system. Now graduated, Justin heads a start up company, “Curative Sounds.” He recently composed a soundscape for the MCE exhibition “Where There’s Smoke...Living with Fire,” evoking the cultural and natural dimensions of wildland fires.

Kevin Sodano '12 developed the exhibition “No Place Untouched by War: The Second World War and Central Washington College of Education”, adapted from his senior capstone project as a History Major. The show explored the experiences of over one thousand military pilots at Central during World War II.

Michelle Gallagher Roberts '99 has served as the Chief Registrar at New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, NM since 2008.

Since 2011, Samantha Lagge has served as manager of the Chelan Museum for he Lake Chelan Historical Society.

Heather C. Hull '07 now serves as anthropologist and registrar at the Yakama Nation Museum and Cultural Center in Toppenish, WA.

Sadie Thayer '07, who studied museum studies as an undergraduate at Central, went on to intern at the Smithsonian, the National Park Service, and the National Trust for Historic Presentation, and earned an M.A. in Museum Studies at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Since 2010 she has served as executive director at the Kittitas County Historical Museum, where she has supervised many Museum Studies interns from Central.

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