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Senior Success

A pair of students from the Getty College of Arts and Sciences prepare for exciting opportunities after graduation.

Historical Record

Last summer Carol Wilson, now a graduating honors program student majoring in professional writing and history with a minor in museum studies, received a fellowship with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York City.

This summer her research from that fellowship will be published in “The Succession Crisis of 1860-1861,” an educational resource for high school teachers and students studying the beginnings of the U.S. Civil War.

Wilson’s research, drawn from original source materials, looks at the reasons Texas joined the Confederacy. As a Gilder Lehrman fellow, she “wrote an introduction to the conflict and then we interpreted the conflict through different primary source documents.” In Texas, Wilson explained, the decision to succeed from the Union was tied to border conflicts with Mexico and insecurity - a lack of faith in government.

“In Texas they wanted stronger government that would protect their state and they didn’t feel that the North or the Union was protecting their interests, so they succeeded,” she said.

In addition to the narration, the Gilder Lehrman fellows annotated their source materials to make it more useful.

“I learned that I really like annotating source documents,” she said. “We had to annotate the primary source documents so the students could understand what is going on even though the language is old. I really liked doing that and it is something I would consider doing in the future in grad school.”

For Wilson, graduate school is a master’s program in history at Indiana University. When the program is complete, she hopes to find a position that uses both her majors, ideally in a museum or historical society.

“I really like working with the public. I love the museum setting and archive setting. I like doing the public things, interpreting something complex for the general audience,” she said.

Wilson, from Royal Oak, Mich., chose ONU for its professional writing program after learning about it at a college fair. “I was looking for a professional writing program but there aren’t many because professional writing is a fairly new thing,” she says. “Ohio Northern had one of the most well-developed programs I could find.”

Reaching High

Days after accompanying ONU’s wind orchestra on its summer tour of Germany, Megan Pierce, a graduating senior from Grove City, Ohio, will pack her bags and move to Washington, D.C., to begin a prestigious summer internship at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

A member of ONU’s honors program with dual majors in theatre and music, Pierce expects the internship will open doors to a career in theatre administration and arts education.

During the three-month Kennedy Center program, she will be working with the Center’s “Exploring the Arts” program for middle school, high school and post secondary students. “I will be working with a dance program for promising kids. They come for an intensive week at the Kennedy Center and work with a professional ballet company,” she says.

Her responsibilities will involve organizing details, leading preshow and post show discussions and administrative duties. In addition, the center will be in the middle of rigorous planning for the 2011-2012 season and she will be part of the process.

While an undergraduate, Pierce was involved in all aspects of theatre ranging from acting to directing to playwriting and administration. Her experiences at ONU, including assisting Catriona Macphie Hynds, managing director of the Freed Center for the Performing Arts for three years, helped her plan her future.

“Working with Catriona is where I learned a lot of what I know and that was so important to getting these positions,” she said.

Pierce is also excited that her position at the Kennedy Center has an educational element, something ONU prepared her for. Her role as co-producer of “The Vagina Monologues” was about educating the participants as well as the public. Her music capstone project was an educational concert about Mozart. So when she started looking for a job, the idea of combining an educational environment with a professional position seemed like the perfect fit.

Unlike many career paths, theatre-related employment tends to be short term and entry-level jobs are likely to be apprenticeships or internships. When Pierce began looking for post-graduate employment, she decided to aim high. “I applied for the Kennedy Center knowing was only a summer position, but knowing it’s the best of the best,” she says.

With her summer plans are set, Pierce is still interviewing for long-term employment with a variety of top-level theater companies. She expects her internship with the Kennedy Center will help open those doors.