1. How did your job grow out of your internship? Who did you have to talk to?
I was an intern [Sponsored by the Hurford Center] in the Whitney’s Publications department shortly before the Editorial Assistant position opened up. Getting the job had a lot to do with the fact that I simply kept in touch with the people for whom I’d interned. It’s easy to forget that your relationship to an institution and a department doesn’t end when your internship does. Simply checking in every now and then, saying hi, asking how projects are moving along – these things show your continued interest and investment in a place, and it keeps you on the radar for when an opportunity comes along. I was very fortunate to have things work out that way for this position!
2. Are your duties and responsibilities similar or different?
My duties aren’t exactly identical to what I did as an intern, but my internship provided a good preview of much of what I’m doing now. As an intern, I helped to edit texts, undertook a few research projects, and collaborated with the in-house designers to move projects along. That’s a lot of what I’m doing now, too, but on a deeper level since I’m here for more than two months. With that broader sense of scope, I can take on more significant roles coordinating projects and be involved with a book’s progress at all phases from planning to printing.
3. How has the move to the new building [of the Whitney] affected your job?
The move to the Whitney’s new building has had a HUGE impact on my job. For most departments, it’s less that the move has impacted what we do, but rather it is what we do. We’ve been in the new offices since October, and since then, almost everything we’ve been working on is related to the building’s opening, like a new collection handbook; labels for the inaugural exhibition, America Is Hard to See; invitations to opening events; and the visitor’s guide to the new building.
Everyone’s got plenty on their plates, but it’s an exciting moment. We’ve been thinking about this building as an abstract idea for so long. I’ve visited it when it was essentially a hole in the ground and walked through it while it was still far from finished. Now, in little more than a month, the building will be filled with art and visitors. That’s going to be very exciting to see.
4. Did you feel that Haverford prepared you well for working at the Whitney?
I can’t even begin to describe how well Haverford prepared me for the work that I’m doing. Certainly, the fact that I had to do so much writing in college was excellent preparation for doing editorial work, and a couple of Art History classes I took at Bryn Mawr and through Independent College Programs at Haverford were quite useful for working in an art museum.
But more importantly, as a Haverford student, whether you’re in class, at Plenary, discussing an Honor Council abstract, on a Customs team, and so on, you’re always being encouraged to think carefully and critically. You learn how to approach problem solving in a group, how to listen to what others are saying and engage in productive dialogues. In and out of the classroom, you’re empowered to approach challenging tasks. Outside the Haverbubble, what you’re tasked with can be very different, but the skills you developed inside remain highly valuable.
5. What was your favorite Hurford Center event during your time at Haverford?
It’s tough to choose my single favorite Hurford Center event, but I might have to go with a Conversations on Art outing during my sophomore year to a Philadelphia Film Society screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. It took place at the Macy’s in Center City, with live accompaniment on the Wannamaker pipe organ. The film is fascinating and the music was great (and it was surreal to be watching surrounded by jewelry counters and shoe displays), but I was most struck by the conversations that took place among a group of students and faculty with diverse interests, backgrounds, and academic affiliations. It was a perfect example of the way that HCAH events can take intellectual conversations beyond the classroom, neutralize distinctions between students, faculty, and staff, and create productive collisions between disciplines.