Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Alumna Profile: Kaleigh Ratliff Pursues Graduate Work in Museum Studies at The George Washington University

Kaleigh Ratliff (B.A., History & Government, 2013) traveled to Przemyśl, Poland, in March 2013 and again in July 2013 with a student exchange group from Daemen. Kaleigh's work in Poland illustrated her interest in extending her Daemen education beyond the classroom.  She helped put in place the digital humanities project that will preserve images and data from the Jewish cemetery in Przemyśl. This work continues today, with seven Daemen students travelling to Poland in June/July 2015.

In addition to her major in History & Government, Kaleigh completed a minor in Public History and had internships at the Smithsonian Institution (through the Washington Internship Institute, for which she was a Daemen Student Ambassador) and at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.

To learn more about the Polish Studies Program and Daemen's study abroad program in Poland, contact Dr. Andrew Kier Wise ( .  If you are interested in learning more about Daemen's Public History minor, contact Dr. Penny Messinger ( 

Kaleigh now attends graduate school at G.W.
Kaleigh recently provided us with this update about her career, in which she reflects back on her time at Daemen:
My life after Daemen has been exciting and productive. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel that I call school, and I am almost ready to begin my career as a Collections Manager. 
After I traveled to Poland with Dr. Wise and the rest of the Daemen crew in the summer of 2013, my intention was to go straight on to graduate school. Unfortunately, that did not happen. With an unexpected gap year ahead of me, I decided to join AmeriCorps, volunteering at the Essex County Historical Society / Adirondack History Museum. I served for a year, gaining both volunteer and museum experience. I worked on the development of exhibits and programs, I made efforts to organize and inventory the archives, and I worked as a receptionist. I was also able to serve the greater community, working at surrounding AmeriCorps events. My time with AmeriCorps was a great resume builder! 
While volunteering, I applied to graduate schools for a second time. Thankfully I was accepted into the MA Museum Studies program at the George Washington University. In the fall of 2014 I moved to Maryland and began the next stage of my education. I am currently beginning my second and final year in the program. I have completed my two required internships, one with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the other with the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Along with my concentration in Collections Management, I have been studying the Holocaust and WWII. My classes are amazing and the professors are even better. This program has been a perfect fit for me. I love D.C. and the greater area, and I plan to stay here permanently. 
I honestly believe that without my experience in Poland and my AmeriCorps service I would not have been accepted into graduate school. Programs are competitive and many applicants are almost identical. It is important to situate yourself apart from the rest. Be conscious about your resume and diversify your experience. My resume to-do-list includes becoming a notary and getting my CDL license. It sounds strange, but they could be useful to an employer. 
I am looking forward to graduating and starting my career. I feel prepared and encouraged for what the future holds, largely due to my Daemen education.
Kaleigh Ratliff

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