"Museum Studies program was one of the primary reasons I chose to attend Luther. With its specially designed courses and internship requirement, I found it was uncommon in undergraduate institutions but a huge draw for me."
Katie feels that one of the biggest impacts Luther made on her was when she stopped viewing history as a series of largely disconnected events but rather as an interconnected, constantly evolving thing that affects and is affected by everyone.
“At one point, I was overloaded with history classes and two of them discussed the same historical event from incredibly different viewpoints,” she says. “I realized then how big history is, how there’s always something more to learn, and that as long as there’s another perspective to be had, it will continue to evolve. At that moment I became passionate about history.”
Katie says that studying for her history major helped her develop the practical and academic skills necessary to be an effective museum professional. “By researching countless topics at Luther for papers, exams, and discussions, I learned how to seek out sources, scour them for facts and ideas, evaluate my findings, and present my conclusions clearly and cohesively,” she says. “The same skills have been invaluable when I’m creating exhibition material or sorting out issues with historic objects at museums. I consider myself fortunate that I’ve found an industry that excites me, where I get to do what I love, and get paid for it.”
Even though some of her activities are labeled as co-curriculars, Katie says they played a significant role in her academic and professional development.
“I was president of Phi Alpha Theta (a history honors society) and attended a couple conferences as a presenter,” she says. “I also learned valuable skills through my various positions with the Performing Arts Committee (PAC). With the amount of public engagement, outreach, and program development I’ve been doing recently, I appreciated that I already had experience with those tasks with the PAC.”
Katie also learned a lot through her work-study positions and an internship. “I worked as a research assistant in the history department and as a tutor with SSS (Student Support Services)/CAE (Center for Academic Enrichment),” she says. “I also appreciate that I spent a semester doing an internship with the Smithsonian Institution Archives in Washington, D.C.”
Although unsure about what she was going to do after Luther, Katie knew she wanted to work with museum artifacts. “I earned an M.A. in museum studies from Durham University in England. Since then, I’ve worked with museums in a variety of capacities but always focused my attention on historic collections,” she says. “My museums have been pretty eclectic. They’ve included local history, ethnographic, aviation, art, and military museums in England and the U.S. Some of my favorite projects included creating an exhibition with the London 2012 Olympics and overnights in a military museum on an active U.S. military base.”