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Ashley Dally, BFA'04 learns "How Things Fly" in Washington, D.C.
If your life's ambition is to work for a museum, the world's largest museum complex is a great place to start. That's exactly what Ashley Dally, BFA '04, decided to do, and she now works for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
An art major and museum studies minor at ONU, Dally works for the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. She initially was hired as an intern to help update the "How Things Fly" exhibit, where she and other interns redesigned the exhibit's graphic panels. The project was not finished when her internship ended, so the Museum hired Dally as a contractor to help complete the exhibit for its reopening.
Dally credits retired ONU art professor Bruce Chesser for convincing her to go to Washington. "He told me how great D.C. is," she says. "I was skeptical, but I fell in love with the city when I got here."
Dally first visited Washington through a summer internship with the Washington Center for the International Child Art Foundation. Although the position didn't involve design, she enjoyed helping with the International Child Art Festival held on the National Mall.
Dally believes that there are abundant opportunities for students in Washington, especially if you know the right people and have a good work ethic. "It's difficult to get used to the 'who you know' politics, but it helps when people know you work hard," she states.
The people at Ohio Northern were vital to Dally's college experiences. "I was lucky to be surrounded by a talented group of art students," she explains. "Everyone worked together on the senior show, and we really pushed each other to do our best. I'm still in contact with them and some professors, and it has been very beneficial to have those kinds of relationships."
Dally advises current art and graphic design students to do their best to build good portfolios and gain valuable experience. "The class projects show the high level of skill ONU students have, especially the senior shows. Internships are key, and getting involved in professional organizations is important."
After working at the Air and Space Museum, Dally plans on working for a museum or a firm that specializes in museum design. In the meantime, many exciting things are happening: She recently began a second internship at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, will graduate from George Washington University in May and plans to marry her hometown sweetheart in September.
Carlie M. Ellis
Senior, professional writing major