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Crazy for Conservation

Posted on Jun 6, 2019 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 2019 CIBA. The following short biographies recognize each CIBA intern and their many accomplishments thus far. Welcome to the Smithsonian, 2019 CIBA!

CIBA and other Mellon-funded interns at orientation

Kasha Appleton is studying at Monmouth College as a double major in history and classics. Working in her college’s archives, she has handled clothing, scrapbooks and even chemistry sets. Previously, she conducted research at the University of Nebraska Lincoln where she transcribed and encoded 19th-century habeas corpus petitions and presented on its use in child custody cases. She enjoys researching black feminists, volunteering, Netflix binges, and playing with her two-year-old nephews. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at National Museum of African Art (NMAfA).

Zoe Avery graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.A. in arts studies and French. She has studied paper conservation at San Gemini Preservation Studies in Italy and interned with the North Carolina Museum of Art‘s registration department. She has also worked at the Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies digitizing paper and microfilm collections. She spends her free time cooking, sewing, and embroidering. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).

Daniella Briceño Villamil is an artist based in the D.C. area. She received her B.A. in art and visual culture with a concentration in studio art from Appalachian State University where she trained in metal sculpture, drawing, and mixed media. She has worked at the intersection of art and business as a content design freelancer. Daniella is passionate about experiential art, particularly those utilizing digital and analog technologies. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG).

Sydney Brown is a graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute with a B.F.A. in printmaking and a certificate in Asian culture studies. Born in Independence, MO, she developed her senior art thesis on female identity in modern society. Sydney was an assistant teacher for foundation arts at the Blue River Community College through the George Caleb Bingham Academy of the Arts in Independence MO. She was also an archival assistant for the Frogman’s Print Workshop. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at Freer|Sackler (F|S).

Nicole Chausse graduated from the University of Virginia with a double major in chemistry and archaeology and a minor in art history. She has worked in the preservation department of Alderman Library at UVA focusing on paper-mending books from their Tibetan collection. She spent the previous summer completing a field school course with Monticello Archaeology. She enjoys printmaking and learning about the history of art creation and its processes. In her spare time, she loves to swing dance and teach Lindy Hop. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM).

Tess Cramer is a graduate from Utah State University (USU) with a B.A. in art studio and two minors in art history and chemistry. She was born and raised on O’ahu Island. She has studied paint, photography, chemical and multi-media studio processes. She has managed different exhibition projects at USU and contemporary art works at Polu Gallery, Hale’iwa. Tess has family in the D.C area and has many distinct memories of visiting the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG). In her spare time, she is an avid YouTube music video archivist and experienced dog smoocher. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at HMSG.

Natalie Mendez graduated from California State University of Stanislaus with a B.A. in Anthropology / Archaeology. She will be attending California State University of Chico to complete a Master degree in Archaeology and Museum Studies in the fall of 2019. She participated in a four-week field study in Belize where she handled artifacts and learned how to conserve them. She describes herself as a team player, easy going, patient and a good friend. She likes various kind of music and loves to read fantasy books. She is a Harry Potter nerd. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at Museum Conservation Institute (MCI).

Verónica Mercado holds a B.A. in history and minor in studio arts from the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez (UPRM). She has completed internships at Museo de Arte de Ponce, the Library of Congress, and the National Museum of American History (NMAH). After Hurricane María, she joined the UPRM Library Emergency Response Team to bring the library back to its feet while assisting peripheral cultural institutions in need. She holds a certificate in Historical Book Structures (San Gemini Preservation Studies). She has pursued instruction at the International Preservation Studies Center and the Rare Book School. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at NMAH.

Leah Oliver is a chemistry major at Spelman College. She is interested in using analytical chemistry to preserve and study material culture. She has experience researching the synthesis and behavior of microgel particles. She has presented on pigment analysis in Bronze Age Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean painted plaster. In her free time she likes to draw, cook, and work in event planning. As the Vice President of The Spelman College Event Envoys she plans and executes special events around the college collaborating with the Spelman College’s Archives and Museum of Fine Art. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at Museum Conservation Institute (MCI).

Mayuli Santiesteban Quesada is studying interdisciplinary natural sciences at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras. Previously, she volunteered as part of the educational program in the Museum of History, Anthropology and Art of Puerto Rico. Her aspirations are to become a biological archaeologist and belong to or create an institution dedicated to promoting and preserving the cultural heritage for the development of future and present generations. She describes herself as curious, creative and courteous. In her free time, she likes hiking, drawing and meeting new people. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at National Museum of Natural History (NMNH).

Talia Ratnavale is a rising junior at the University of Chicago majoring in comparative human development and minoring in chemistry and visual arts. She has carried out two independent research projects on conservation topics through her studies at the University of Chicago. Previously, she served as the Campus Art Registration and Conservation Intern at the Smart Museum of Art. She is originally from Los Angeles and discovered her interest in art history and art conservation by exploring Los Angeles museums. She is passionate about visual arts, ethnography, and philosophy. In her free time, she enjoys petting dogs and eating good food. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at National Museum of American History (NMAH).

Mika Sakai graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a B.F.A., specializing in letterpress printing and bookbinding. She has experience editing film and creating animated title sequences for film trailers. She is currently working to preserve and renew interest in vintage Japanese textiles, which has exposed her to the breadth of textile manufacturing in Japan. Originally, from Portland, OR Mika loves hiking around the Pacific Northwest. She is a lover of books, furry animals, and baked goods (both making and eating them)! She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at Museum Conservation Institute (MCI).

Heidi Vance is a senior at the University of Central Florida completing her B.F.A. in studio art with a concentration in painting, and a minor in art history. She currently works at her university’s on-campus art gallery, assisting in exhibition installation, art handling, as well as organizing and cataloging the gallery’s permanent collection. Heidi has also participated in a month-long study abroad course in Italy. She describes herself as dedicated, empathetic, and versatile. She enjoys traveling, cooking, art, cats, and writing. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at National Portrait Gallery (NPG).

Tara Wells is from Roanoke, VA and is a current graduate student in classics (Latin & Greek) at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD. Tara graduated from Oberlin College in 2018 with a B.A. in Latin & Greek languages & literature. She studied classics and archaeology in Rome and Greece and enjoys studying Roman pottery. Tara is passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion within academic and museum work as well as bringing scholarly attention to marginalized identities throughout antiquity. She will complete her 2019 CIBA internship at National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).