At times this was overwhelming. It's hard to juggle jobs and at the same time be proactive and looking forward and applying for the next thing. But at least in this aspect, I have been fortunate to participate in programs such as the UCLA/Getty - Mellon Opportunity (workshop and internship) which provided me with a stipend that helped offset costs. I don't think I would have pursued a career within the field if it were not for these programs. Not to say it does not continue to be difficult.
In my view, this is the main barrier to pursuing an advanced degree within this field. It seems to assume that you have a certain disposable income, or financial support, to complement the required courses and that you can volunteer to gain the experiences necessary before entering a program and becoming a professional. If we want to see more people exploring conservation and committing to it, all internship work should be paid. Not everyone is in a position where they can reject an income and choose to pursue one's passion.
Prior to the recent application process for graduate school, I took part in theUCLA/Getty - Mellon Diversity in Conservation Internship, training in objects with the Brooklyn Museum this past fall. I feel so grateful for the opportunity to have worked during this time of uncertainty. I had the most wonderful mentors and the conservation team at the Brooklyn Museum encouraged and challenged me.At the same time, I have continued working on my prerequisites classes (which had been postponed last year due to the pandemic) and I will be completing these in May.I am happy to share that I will be starting my graduate education this fall with the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC). It feels like starting a new chapter in my conservation journey and the culmination of my pre-program effort.
I am beyond excited for what's next. I am also very thankful for all the support I have received from the UCLA/Getty - Mellon Diversity in Conservation and my mentors!
To learn more about the Andrew W. Mellon Opportunity for Diversity in Conservation program, visit the program website at https://mellondiversityconservation.org.