"When I think of all the things I've seen since leaving home, it's amazing – and I've only touched a little bit."
Kylie is stepping boldly into the world. From studying abroad in London, completing two internships, and faculty who helped her reimagine what is possible, her time at SAU was life-changing. Here she gained the confidence to see and experience more. Kylie is now a graduate student in the Museum Studies program at the Lorenzo de Medici Institute in Florence, Italy.
Why Art History and Museum Studies?
Kylie was undecided on a major until her first Art History class with Professor Terri Switzer, PhD. She loves the academics of art history and her museum studies minor elevated her goals. "I want to work in a museum so I can engage with the art, be in-person with the object, and interact with people coming into the space," Kylie says. In the U.S., museum studies programs are pretty rare. "In Italy, many of my classmates didn't have these core classes. I realized how lucky I was to take them at SAU, and some of the courses I'm taking now are a repeat of what I already learned."
Two majors and two minors: was it difficult?
Kylie earned a double major in Marketing and a second minor in Art Administration. All of it, she said, tied together so well. "It will be good to have a business perspective, because a museum is a business space, too, and many operate as nonprofits," she says. Kylie's course load was heavy, but many of the courses filled more than one degree requirement and she faculty supported her every step of the way. "My marketing professor was always excited for me and what I was doing. And Professor Switzer was so motivational. If I was overwhelmed, she helped me work through it."
How was your study abroad experience elevating?
"When I went to England for a semester, it helped me realize I can do anything I put my mind to. I love learning about difference cultures, traveling and seeing new things," she says. "For one class, we went to different museums in London and learned inside those museums. That's why study abroad is important; those are not things you get to see or experience at home.”
What shaped your professional goals?
Kylie completed two internships. For one, she did research in the university's archives, combing through decades-old student newspapers and university publications. And, she helped display university artifacts and memorabilia to share the story of SAU. As a summer intern at the Quincy Arts Center, she guided children taking art classes. "It was an educational internship, and I realized I was more interested in other areas of museum operations. It was fun to work with the kids, and I learned how much work it is to run a small nonprofit."
Why St. Ambrose?
Kylie was the first recipient of the SAU Museum Studies Award. "I've never received an award like that. It verifies my professors are proud of me, that all of my hard work was worth something, recognized," she says. Kylie's success is tied to her drive, and her quest to explore and experience a culture-filled education was fully encouraged by her professors. In fact, Professor Switzer suggested the graduate program in Italy to Kylie. "This program is very good for me. I'm very interested in Renaissance art and I can make any museum my classroom."