Spotlight on Humanities Alumni: Emily Wroczynski
Education: B.A. Art History and Spanish minor in Arabic
Current city/state of residence: Williamsburg, VA (moving to Wilmington, DE in July)
Job Title: Intern in Archaeological Materials Conservation Lab
Employer: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (unpaid internship)
Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?
I chose to attend the U of R mainly for the vibrant campus life and activities. I was also very excited about the open curriculum and opportunities to study abroad, learn Arabic, play the cello, etc.
When and how did you choose your major?
I chose my major of art history at the end of freshman year. I had always loved art and took AP art history in high school, but I did not see it as a practical career path. Still not completely sure about my career options, I declared after having so much fun in Grace Seiberling’s Art and American Culture course. I always knew I would continue with my Spanish studies but I did not declare until sophomore year before going abroad.
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
I was a member of Phi Sigma Sigma sorority and I played club ice hockey. Both of these activities taught me discipline and how to work in a team and balance responsibilities. I also participated in partners in reading which really helped me understand ESL needs and that understanding is not the same thing as being able to teach.
What resources did you use on campus that you recommend current students use?
The art and music library librarians are awesome and really know their sources and databases. I have continued to contact them every now and then after I graduated. The Periodical Reading Room is my favorite place to study and makes me feel really smart. Interlibrary loan is the most impressive resource and I highly recommend it! I even got a thesis held at the Smithsonian archives for a source once.
Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?
Some of my mentors were Janet Berlo and Rachel Haidu and I have tried to remain in touch although not frequently. They have continued to provide me with great advice and have written recommendations that have led to my acceptance in a master’s program in art conservation.
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?
I began an internship at West Lake Conservators, a private art conservation practice in Skaneateles, NY. I took this position on a path to complete all of the pre-requisites necessary to apply to a master’s in art conservation.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
I am currently interning at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (over 400 hours of practical experience are necessary for the master’s) and I was just accepted into the Winterthur Program in Art Conservation. I chose this career after various internships in museums and galleries and still longing for a more hands-on experience with art.
What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?
The writing skills that I perfected while at U of R (particularly the Writing on Art course and my senior seminar in art history) have been extremely helpful in all of my internships and for communicating in my field. I have one publication and another one pending and I credit those successes to my great education.
How do you balance your work and personal life?
This balance is always tricky and I have found the only successful method is to be very organized. I make lots of schedules and to do lists and I always schedule in personal activities and fun asides as rewards for completing tasks for work and school.
Where would you like to be in five years?
I would like to be employed by an art institution as a full-time conservator.
How are you still connected with the University?
I maintain contact with some of my former professors and definitely with my good friends from U of R. I read the alumni magazine and have written in once. I attended Meliora Weekend last year while I was living closer to Rochester. I would like to become more involved with alumni relations now that I have a more solidified career path.
What advice do you have for current students?
Enjoy the time that you have at Rochester. Take advantage of the campus activities but leave time to explore the city. If possible spend a summer in Rochester and definitely study abroad.