Like many of her fellow seniors, Kerry Cahill ’10 is in the process of figuring out her post-graduate plans. So, when the Salisbury Center for Career Services offered an externship/job shadowing program for the 2009-2010 winter break, she decided to apply to -and was selected for – a one-day externship at the Southwest Museum site of the Autry National Center for the American West in Los Angeles, Calif., hoping to gain more hands-on experience in a possible field of post-graduate study.
“This job shadowing opportunity seemed like a great way to learn more about the academic field of graduate-level museum studies that I am considering,” Cahill says. “Hobart and William Smith have so many valuable opportunities like this one and I am trying to take advantage of as many as possible to prepare myself for what lies ahead after graduation.”
Cahill spent the day shadowing Kim Walters, the director of the Braun Research Library and associate director of the Institute for the Study of the American West. In addition to the rewards of getting firsthand experience and a look into the behind-the-scenes workings of the museum, the most exciting part of her experience was getting to see the thousands of North American Southwest Indian artifacts, from handmade basketry and kachina dolls to tipis and beaded moccasins.
“My day at the Southwest Museum was extremely worthwhile,” reflects Cahill. “I got to speak with many of the staff specialists in charge of various aspects of the project, and Mrs. Walters also showed me the plans for several of the Museum’s new exhibits, through which I learned about the long and involved process of exhibit design as well. This valuable experience made me realize how complex a museum system is and how many people it takes to make it run successfully.”
An anthropology major with minors in history and environmental studies, Cahill is a Student Athletic Trainer, Anthropology Teaching Fellow, Geneva Heroes Program Coordinator, Geneva Historical Society Intern, Learn to Lead Pod-leader, and a member of the William Smith Mentoring Program. She has also worked as a CCESL Bonner Leader, America Reads Tutor, Lunch Bunch Coordinator for West St. and North St. Elementary Schools, was a member of the Laurel Society and Rotaract Service Club, and studied abroad in Denmark in spring 2009. She is considering several options after graduation, including the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and graduate school.