- Heurich House Museum
- As the Education Department Intern, I was able to better my archival research skills, as well as develop curatorial experience through social media projects. In addition, I worked with the museum’s director to produce an updated document retention plan and create a succession plan, which provided hands on leadership experience in a small non-profit. In each project, the staff directing me allowed my voice to be heard and for me to guide myself to fill my own goals.
- Linked here are three of my project memos for further information.
- The Creative Process
- As an Associate Podcast Producer for The Creative Process, I was given creative freedom to speak my mind on the topics of each episode I produced. I also improved my skills of audio editing and mastered Descript, an editing software. This experience was unique and allowed me to connect with professionals in the museum field.
- Below are the episodes I completed for the podcast.
- GOVT-322 American Political Parties (Summer 2020)
- This course was taken to fulfill part of my interdisciplinary major and improve my understanding of the American two party system. Professor James Quirk designed the course so that the final project allowed students to think critically and creatively about any particular US topic. Because of this, I was able to dive deeper into my home state, Georgia, and use the 2020 election as a case study to justify the ways in which the South is changing from its stereotypical nature. This course empowered me to pursue my interests and investigate contemporary issues.
- Final Course Assignment Linked Below
- SPA-362 Leadership Development Lab II (Fall 2019 – Spring 2020)
- During this two semester course, I strengthened both my academic research abilities and work ethic. For my second year project, I conducted research on rural food deserts and the role that dollar stores play in inadequately filling nutritional needs of rural Americans. My project found that supermarkets engage in “Spatial Supermarket Redlining” by placing stores exclusively in areas with concentrated wealth, leaving poorer communities without adequate access. My recommendation was that the federal government accept Senate Bill S. 786, which would provide incentives for supermarkets to expand into food deserts and promote the growth of local, nonprofit food programs.
- Linked here is a brief presentation that overviews my research
SPA Leadership Program
- About the Program
- As a member of the SPA Leadership program, I was able to gain experience working on long-term projects, both as a team and individually, that included both intensive research and community projects. In my first year, I was a member of the Education and Empowerment team. Here we focused on experiential learning for elementary school students and how this is much more effective and engaging than traditional course curriculum. This project concluded with creating and implementing experiential curriculum in two DC public school classrooms. For my second year, I took those first year skills and created my own project centered around rural food deserts. After creating a research paper and grant proposal, I partnered with the DC area food bank to conduct an on campus and virtual food drive to support local families in need.
- In my third and final year in the program, I participated in an internship at the Heurich House Museum to practice leadership in action, along with the capstone course. Though my internship was virtual, I gained vital skills in museum education and nonprofit leadership that put my theoretical knowledge in practice. For the capstone course, I was able to review leadership theory and see how each practice plays out in real world leadership. After three years in this program, I feel confident in my abilities to become a transformational, democratic style leader in the museum field for my career.
- Reflecting on My Learning Process
- Within the program, I was able to put names to the leadership practices I have observed throughout my life. Often, I had heard of only “good” and “bad” leadership, but did not know that there were theories and practices each leader had adopted. Throughout the courses, I grew to understand the history of leadership theory, beginning with the Great Man Theory and resulting today in Transformational and Transactional Leadership. The SPA Leadership Program was instrumental in building my foundation for leadership practice. By understanding the theory, learning about case studies, and conducting my own research projects, I was able to build up my skills. I now feel confident entering my masters program and later career field with the intention of rising to a leadership role.
- My View of Leadership
- From my time in the program, I now view leadership as a learned skill that is always improving. A strong leader is someone who inspires, thinks critically and creatively, and empowers their team to rise to their full potential. Before enrolling at American University, I assumed that the best leaders were simply ones who had the right connections. With an academic basis in leadership, I now know that any person can educate themselves on best practices, find what style matches their preferences, and work to become a strong leader.
- Key Takeaway
- After completing my Advanced Leadership Studies Certificate, my key takeaway is about my own leadership style. I know that I enjoy and thrive off of collaboration, which leads me to prefer transformational, democratic leadership. When leading a team, I appreciate hearing each voice and am able to see where each person’s skillset can best serve our greater goal. I also tend to be future thinking, which allows me to inspire others and encourage growth, while allowing other team members to tackle specific details and smaller deadlines. Having an understanding of my own style of leadership allows me to aim for roles that serve me and has prepared me well for a museum career.