August 08, 2017
"I've always been interested in museums," she said. "I went to museum camp at the Reading Public Museum when I was little. On family vacations, we always went to at least one museum."
A junior from Shillington, Pa., Whalen is getting to experience a museum from behind the scenes through her internship at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, known as the Penn Museum. She secured the opportunity with the help of Susquehanna alumnus Tom Stanley '07, whom she met at Break Through, Susquehanna's student-alumni networking conference.
"During my own undergraduate career at SU, I did not seek out any internship opportunities—which, in retrospect, was a mistake," Stanley said. "Julianna approached me after a panel discussion at Break Through.
"I was impressed with her initiative. Her résumé was icing on the cake; she's a communications major with minors in anthropology and museum studies—a combination of emphases that could not possibly be a better fit for an internship in my office."
At the Penn Museum, Whalen mainly handles social media—drafting posts for Facebook and Twitter and taking photographs and drafting posts for Instagram, all under the close mentorship of Stanley. It's been an eye-opening experience for Whalen.
"It's so rewarding to see the posts on the museum's social media pages and to know that I'm helping to create that," she said. "You encounter social media in daily life, but working with Tom has taught me so much more about the strategy behind it."
When she's not working directly with Stanley, Whalen participates in the museum's summer lectureship program, learning about, among other things, object conservation, archival record-keeping and public programming.
Her experience at the Penn Museum has confirmed her career aspirations, both for her love of museums and history, and variety.
"We get to meet so many different people. Sometimes I don't know where we're going until we're halfway there," Whalen said. "There's so many different things you're doing and no day is the same at all."
See more internships here.