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Welcome, CIBA 2018!

Posted on Jun 5, 2018 by in The OFI Blog |

The Conservation Internship for Broadening Access (CIBA), enriches museum conservation by enabling a diverse set of early professionals pursue their career interests. CIBA interns’ unique experiences allow for the creation and facilitation of new perspectives and ideas needed in the field of museum conservation. This year, 14 individuals were chosen for the 2018 CIBA. The following short biographies recognize each CIBA intern and their many accomplishments thus far. Welcome to the Smithsonian, 2018 CIBA! 


The 2018 CIBA Interns pose together for a photo at Orientation!

Tamara Dissi: A pre-program conservation intern from San Diego, California. She holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley and is currently in the process of completing her prerequisite coursework for admittance into graduate programs in art conservation. Tamara has a variety of interests within the wider field of conservation including paintings, objects, and archaeology. In pursuit of hands on experience within the field, Tamara has worked in various institutions and archaeological sites around the world. She moved to the Washington DC area in January of this year to serve as a volunteer intern at the American Art Museum’s Lunder Center, and is thrilled to continue working with the Lunder this summer as a 2018 CIBA intern.

Keara Drummer: A recent graduate from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania (BU) with a B.S. in Environmental Geoscience and a minor in Geology. She is originally from Catasauqua, Pennsylvania. She was introduced to museum collections work by helping curate the paleontology teaching collection at BU with her professor/mentor. She was an Invertebrate Paleontology Intern this past summer (2017) at the American Museum of Natural History. Before this internship, she volunteered in the Petrified Forest National Park on a fossil dig during the beginning of Yale’s yearly field season. She describes herself as curious, personable, adaptable, and is known for always having a smile on her face. She loves cats, drawing, and avocados. A fun fact is she loves solving the Rubik’s Cube. Keara will be interning with the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) this summer!

Matthew Fields: Artist born and raised in the city of St. Louis, MO. He attend the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, majoring in visual arts. Matthew was formally trained in drawing, painting, printmaking, film and digital photography, and graphic design. He has illustrated a published children’s book written by a professor on staff at his university. He spent one week in the summer studying art conservation at Yale University and was honored with the opportunity to spend the following two weeks studying at the Winterthur Museum. At his university he was the senior sports photographer, the Art Guild President, and volunteer in the Arts Department fulfilling his mission to advance art and give back. Matthew will be interning with the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM).

Elle Friedberg: Received her B.A. at Wellesley College as a double major in studio art and chemistry. Previously, Elle has served as the Paintings Conservation and Analytical Studies Intern at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute and the Paintings Conservation Volunteer at the National Gallery of Art. Elle is passionate about printmaking and enjoys exploring the D.C. museums in her free time. She will be interning this summer with the National Museum of American History (NMAH).

Rachel Fury: Graduated from The College of New Jersey where she majored in physics. She has experience working at a local gallery and frame shop. Three semesters and one summer of independent research on holograms made of dichromate gelatin films has given her abundant lab experience. She was also active in planning the 2019 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, which she believes is a great opportunity for women in physics to connect. Outside of school, Rachel likes to hike, is an avid photographer, and she is hoping to get into running. She will be interning at the Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) this summer.

CIBA interns attend orientation and are welcomed by the Office of Fellowships and Internships (OFI) director, Eric Woodard

Alexandra Johnson: A graduate in Anthropology and Biology from The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  She considers herself lucky to grow up in a family that loves to visit museums. She is eager to gain more experience in a museum setting and has a background in clinical lab work and cultural studies. She is from Durham, North Carolina. This summer, Alex will be interning with the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).

Kayci Monar: From Mesa, Arizona but grew up in the much smaller neighboring town of Fountain Hills. She graduated from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University where she received a BFA in Drawing and a BA in Art History and created a thesis exhibition inspired by Daoism and Chinese landscape paintings. Currently, she works at an aquarium teaching children about animals. When she’s not working on her own artwork or watching Netflix, Kayci spends her free time listening to Kpop and learning their choreographies. Kayci will be interning with the Freer Sackler Galleries (F|S) this summer.

Makayla Rawlins: Is in her fourth year at the University of California, Santa Barbara double-majoring in Biological Anthropology and Art History, as well as minoring in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. Her research has been focused on Indigenous art, specifically, Hopi katsina dolls. She has enjoyed internships in museums focusing on art and natural history. She hopes to study abroad in South America and enjoys playing soccer. Makayla will be interning with the National Museum of the American Indian, Cultural Resource Center (NMAI-CRC).

Emma Simon: Emma Simon is a junior at George Mason University currently pursuing a degree in art history with a minor in studio art. She would eventually like to be working in art conservation while at the same time expanding herself in other artistic pursuits. Northern Virginia is currently “home” because that is where family is; however, Emma has lived in various places with her family such as Japan, Hawaii, and New Mexico. She enjoys reading books, drawing, playing the piano, and singing with her siblings in free moments. This summer, Emma will be interning at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG).

Bhavani Srinivas: Bhavani Srinivas is a sophomore at Princeton University majoring in History of Art with a certificate in Visual Art. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, but attended high school in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. In her free time, Bhavani loves to cook and make clothing and jewelry. She will be interning at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG).

Alana Swinton: A junior Chemistry major with a Physics minor at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. She has worked in a Physical Chemistry laboratory specializing in column chromatography and laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking, and hiking. She is a volunteer for Success 1st helping children and parents to connect with each other through healthy communication. Alana will be interning this summer with the Museum Conservation Institute (MCI).

Say cheese! 2018 CIBA Interns are joined by 2018 Mellon Funded Interns, Dana Goodin and Stephanee Hinton, for a goofy photo!

Paola Valentin-Irizarry: Holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities majoring in Art History from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Caribbean Archaeology from the Center for Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean (CEAPR). She has a Certificate in Preservation and Documentation of Subaquatic Archaeological Materials from the University of Valencia, Spain. She has worked as an Assistant Registrar at the University of Puerto Rico’s Museum of History, Anthropology and Art since 2014. She has also been an art curator for the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and a paper conservation intern at the Anton J. Conrad Conservation Center in the Museo de Arte de Ponce (MAP). She hopes to pursue further graduate studies in archaeological conservation specializing in materials from tropical-humid climates. Paola will be interning at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) this summer.

Cole Warlick: A rising senior at Davidson College majoring in anthropology and classics with a strong interest in archaeology. This interest extends to curatorial practices and museums studies as a means of making information available to the public. Cole has worked as an intern at the American Academy at Rome to catalog the numismatic study collection for wider publication. This summer, he will be interning at the Museum Conservation Institute  (MCI).

Chelsea Williams: A current junior at Albany State University majoring in visual arts. She began attending Albany State University in August of 2015. She grew up and currently resides in Albany, Georgia. Her main focus is to become a well-rounded artist. Chelsea dedicates numerous hours to her craft. Her main focal medium is oil paint as well as photography. She spends majority of her time in her art studio on campus. Chelsea will be interning at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG).


Good luck, 2018 CIBA Interns! You will do awesome things this summer!