Saturday, 28 November 2015

ALUMNI CHECK-IN: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

WEEKEND EDITION

BY: ANYA BAKER

As the semester winds down and you find yourself with a free evening this week, consider checking out the upcoming alumni and student mixer at the Museum of Inuit Art on Thursday night. Not only do you "Mix with Museum Masters" all night long, but you get a tour of "Abraham Anghik Ruben: Beyond Aurora Borealis" and a chance to mingle at Shoeless Joe's afterwards. Tickets to the event can be purchased here

Networking events like this are valuable to current students and alumni alike: nothing beats talking to someone who has made the transition from student to professional and has wisdom and experience to share. And alumni get to pass on their knowledge and life experience, and make new connections with future professionals! 

However, if your research paper is keeping you glued to your library carrel, I offer you a taste of what fun you could be having at Thursday's event: since Spring, I have been contacting alumni in different stages of their careers, and five alumni from the program were kind enough to send me a mini profile of where their MMSt degree is taking them. 

Cheryl Copson (2014), Courtney Murfin (2010), Meredith Leonard (2008), Robin Etherington (1982), and Douglas Worts (1982) will tell you in their own words what they've been up to since graduation:

Name: Cheryl Copson
Graduating Year: 2014
Programme: MMSt
Where Cheryl's MMSt is taking her:
Since graduating I am volunteering at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Ethnology Department, and with the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum and Archives at Casa Loma. I am employed full-time outside the field while actively looking for a job within the museum field!


Name: Courtney Murfin
Graduating Year: 2010
Programme: MMSt
Where Courtney's MMSt is taking her:
After doing my MMSt internship in Gallery Development at the ROM, I was able to use those connections and experiences to earn a series of contract positions in Interpretive Planning. I am now a permanent Interpretive Planner at the ROM, and have worked on a huge range of projects, from the recent major exhibition, The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China's Emperors, to the extremely interactive mining gallery and the ScopifyROM mobile app.



Name: Meredith Leonard
Graduating Year: 2008
Where Meredith's MMSt is taking her:
Meredith holds an Hons. BA in History and Political Science from McMaster University and a Master of Museum Studies degree from the University of Toronto (2008). She was the Education and Community Relations Officer at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology (at the University of Western Ontario) before going back to school to pursue a Master of Science in Adolescence Education from D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York. 

Combining her museum studies and education backgrounds, she was the Curator for Programming and Exhibitions at Fort Erie Museum Services before beginning her current position as Visitor Services Coordinator at St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre. Passionate about education and community engagement, Meredith is one of the founders of the St. Catharines Museum’s award-winning pop-up museum series, aMUSE. She is active within the Museums of Niagara Association as well as the Ontario Museums Association and just recently returned from the Getty Leadership Institute in Claremont, California, where she was a Fellow at GLI’s NextGen Leadership Program.

Name: Robin Etherington MA, M.LPW, CMM III
Graduating Year: 1982
Programme: Museum Studies
Where Robin's MMSt is taking her:
I have been exceptionally lucky. My career has taken me to international work, i.e. Mexico, and across Canada. I worked at an anthropology museum at the national university of Mexico (UNAM). I returned to Canada and have worked in such wonderful museums as the ROM, the GlenbowMuseum, Guelph Museums and MUS√ČE BYTOWN MUSEUM, as well served as served as Manager of Heritage & Culture in Kingston and worked for Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). And I also worked for Nortel Networks as a technical communicator. All positions taught me a great deal and I have had the joy of knowing a number of provinces of Canada and making friends. That results in a remarkable network of friends and colleagues to consult with. I have managed museum and cultural resources for several years - each museum or situation entails unique challenges and opportunities. 

Throughout my career, I have also volunteered, sitting on committees and Boards, teaching and even just taking tickets at arts festivals. Volunteering is a means to contribute to your community and to enhance your network. As you are graduating, the challenges to manage museums, libraries, archives and cultural heritage resources in a global and knowledge-based economy and society will bring you tremendous learning and cultural opportunities.


Name: Douglas Worts
Graduating Year: 1982
Programme: I came into the Museum Studies Program through Art History
Where Douglas' MMSt is taking him:
​I was one of the fortunate ones to get a full-time job at a major museum right after graduation. I had a 25 year run at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where my duties over the years included docent training/management, exhibit development, development and testing of interpretive strategies, educational technologies (video, audio, computers and web) audience research and interpretive planning. I have published extensively in museological literature on issues related to museum education, audience research, interpretive planning and, most recently, in the area of 'museums and culture in the winds of change’. My current work focuses on the potential of museums to play a catalytic role in fostering a ‘culture of sustainability’. In 2014 I was honoured to be the first scholar-in-residence (museum studies) at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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