Works and Days

Siegel Salmon Restoration Internship 2015: Garrett Linck

Garret Linck is working on habitat conservation and restoration in the California wilderness as the Paul Siegel Salmon Restoration intern. Read on for his first impressions and experiences. 

Situated between Redwood groves and the Pacific Ocean, I have spent my first two weeks as the Paul Siegel Salmon Restoration Intern at the Mendocino Land Trust (MLT) traipsing through the rivers and forests of the North Coast. After a warm welcome from the crew at the MLT office in Fort Bragg, I drove over to Russian Gulch State Park and hauled my guitars, a few crates of vinyl, and my bicycle into the cabin where I will be living until August. From my doorstep, it is a brisk ten-minute walk to the Russian Gulch Headlands and Sinkhole—a mesmerizing locale where I’m frequently impressed by the force of the tide coming in and the abundance of wildlife. Nestled among the craters that perforate the cliff walls, birds (what kind?) cling to the walls as the strong wind ruffles their feathers.

On my second day, I jumped into Doug Kern’s (Big River Program Manager) green pickup with Nicolet (Trails & Stewardship Coordinator), and we meandered through the potholed roads of Jackson Demonstration Forest until we reach the nonsensically-named North Fork South Fork of the Noyo River. Doug and Nicolet each donned a pair of waders, which seemed to vie for the title of ‘most-waterlogged’. Doug’s quickly earned the title as evidenced by the continual fountain of water from his boots as he emerged from the river. I penciled in measurements of various habitat types as we traveled upstream, differentiating between Riffles, Scour Pools, and Non-Turbs (three different habitat classification units, denoting the depth, width, and velocity of the water). The terminology takes a bit of time to pick up on, but by the end of the day I was gaining confidence in both my understanding of the survey and my ability to scramble through thorns and underbrush. Three new pairs of waders should be arriving soon, and we will renew our efforts surveying the two-mile segment.

Presidents Summer Fellowship 2015, Orla O'Sullivan, Impressions from Saint Petersburg

Orla O'Sullivan, '16 Russian major, is diving deep into the extensive collections at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, conducting research on visual culture and responses to controversial exhbitions for her President's Summer Fellowship. 

I was shocked to learn recently that pieces frequently go missing at the Hermitage Museum, which probably surprises no Russian person, but it did surprise me. No one is, as far as I can tell, fired (either the theft is hard to trace, or not much effort to trace it is exerted). There is media buzz for a few weeks and then that’s the end of it. I am as equally mesmerized by the Winter Palaces’ halls and the General Staff Building’s sheer scale, as I am amazed that this institution functions as well as it does. The archeological department on the fourth floor, for instance, is filled – and this is no hyperbolical statement – with at least thirty years of books. At least. There are books and quills and pens and more books and articles and stray papers and presentations and various Russian shtukis (“thingies”) all piled on the tables and floors – just everywhere. So it shouldn’t be any wonder that items go missing, although, the museum boasts both antiquated and cutting-edge conservation facilities. 

On my first day interning, I spent 2 hours (literally) trying to find the door, and then, once I found it, was asked, would I please assist a three-day conference on virtual archeology, where I met some fascinating people, including an archeaometrist (someone who applies physics to archeology), an architect specializing in computer program semantics, and the archeology department director (who happens to be the cousin of the museum director).  Since then, it has been a whirlwind: Attending an international congress on Peter the Great; planning a museum celebration of the European Union; labeling Old Russian rock fragments with quills and ink; translating documents from Russian into English; and, most recently, working on a presentation for an exhibition closing ceremony on Monday. There is no written or printed schedule – everything just seems to happen on a whim – and practically each day brings a new, completely unforeseen, project.

Presidents Summer Fellowship 2015: Nathan Martin, Rediscovery in the Desert

Part One: Water of Unknown Depth

Nate Martin '16 is a President's Summer Fellow on a trip through the American Southwest with the goal of rewriting his connection to poetry by visiting areas where he first established that connection.

I'm out here now in Green River, Utah on I-70 in the eastern side of the state. I've taken a day off from hiking and driving around and talking to people to sit down and figure out where I am.

Presidents Summer Fellowship 2015: Haley Tilt, Visual Memory and Livy

Right now I’m sitting at the kitchen table in a warm and eclectic apartment in Rome. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of travel, stilted but enthusiastic conversations, and incredible museums. Most of all, my two weeks in Rome have seen me dogging the footsteps of one of the most influential and prolific historians of the ancient world. My project is founded on the idea that Livy is doing something special with space in his histories, setting stories in places that are highly specific and would have been familiar to his contemporaries. Like the ancient rhetorical technique of the memory palace, Livy capitalizes on the visual memory of his readers. Also like the memory palace, Livy’s stories imprint themselves on the spaces they occupy. After reading a particularly grisly passage, in which Tullia drives her chariot over her father’s corpse, the location of which, Livy informs us, is “as far as the top of the Cyprius Vicus, where the temple of Diana lately stood… to the right on the Urbius Clivus, to get to the Esquiline,” a reader will thereafter recall that spot as the scene at which his anecdote took place. My goal has been to hunt these places down, to photograph them, and to plot them on a digital, interactive map, so that modern readers might better understand this aspect of Livy’s text.

What I’ve found is a city that has been profoundly altered. Of course I knew that this would be the case; many of the monuments Livy discusses are now fragmentary and some are gone entirely. Many once-open spaces are now densely packed with buildings.

I knew that this would be the case, and I even welcomed the opportunity to engage with the modern city the same way Livy did--by countering absence with remembrance. In the example above, Livy recalls that the temple of Diana “lately” was standing. Present in his readers’ memories, but absent from their physical world, the temple (and so many other spaces altered by the Augustan building program), have become another level of Rome’s historical and topographical memory.

St. Paul's and the Church of the Parables, Reed Winter Externship Program, Meredith Mathis

Meredith Mathis partcipated in a Reed Winter Externship, contributing to community services and support at St. Paul's and the Church of the Parables with Ben McKelahan.

The activities I did varied a good deal from day to day. One day I went to a clergy bible study and got a tour of a Senior Center at the St. James Matthew Emmanuel Lutheran Church, and went to a Mission Developer’s lunch (where pastors talked about their experiences and difficulties and offered each other support). Another day I met with a pastor and talked about the process of establishing a homeless respite bed program run by the Lutheran Church of the Messiah, met with the non-profit El Puente, and went to a church council meeting. I also got to sit in on meetings about planning future camp activities, walk around the neighborhood St. Paul’s is located in and check in with community members, go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a number of pastors and seminary students, work on an art project for an upcoming three kings celebration/community event, and attend Sunday service, a Three Kings party and parables.

One of the most engaging parts of this experience was discussing the respite bed program being developed (mentioned above). This respite bed program was intended to house homeless community members overnight in the church, but certain community members were against the program, and the church building had to be renovated before the city would let it run.  A lot of what I got out of that experience is that bureaucracy and community disagreement will come up regardless of how good or necessary a program is. But for one, it’s good to realize that if I’m going to do community work of any kind, the city will always have jurisdiction over the physical spaces I’m trying to cultivate into community spaces or convert in times of crisis (this bed program was a response to crises of homeless individuals’ lives being put in danger because of the cold in New York), and there is no forcing a sense of urgency in other people even if their position on an issue is inflicting direct harm onto others. However, the conflicts that were being dealt with didn’t stop efforts to organize and make changes needed to get the program running eventually.

AnyPerk, Reed Winter Externship Program, Anna Ma

Anna Ma, a senior economics major, participated in the Reed Winter Externship Program. She spent a week at Anyperk, a start-up that connects small and medium-sized businesses with benefits typically restricted only to larger companies. Read on for her story:

My externship with Michael Stapleton at AnyPerk lasted only a week, but the experience I got out of that week left an impression that will last much longer than that.

I never envisioned a start-up to be what AnyPerk was like. My prior beliefs about start-ups encompassed what I have only seen in movies, like “The Social Network”, fast-paced environments full of young people (mostly men) who are all code-literate. My week at AnyPerk upheld and destroyed some of my beliefs, which I was happy about because the world of start-ups has always been incredibly intimidating to me. That’s why I took this opportunity to not only explore marketing, which is a field I have had some interest in exploring, but also to discover what it really means to work for a start-up.

Financial Services Fellowship, 2015: Rik Ghosh

"The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break.  Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more.  All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee"

Since coming to Reed, I’ve mostly just spent my fall and spring breaks going home and relaxing after an often-stressful half semester. Though such a week of downtime is always appreciated, this past spring break was completely different. Every day of the Financial Services Fellowship (FSF) was jam-packed with activities: days that usually started with firm visits before nine am often ended with social and networking events that ran well past nine pm. The trip packed many experiences into a short period of time, and it was undoubtedly a very productive way to spend the week.

Even before the actual spring break trip, there were a few events on campus that the fellows were asked to attend: the first of these was a three-part Paideia course on capital markets and general financial terminology. This is particularly important because it implies that prior knowledge of the financial industry is not necessary to apply — in fact the trip as a whole is in some form simply an introduction to the professional working world. Though I had absolutely no experience with Finance prior to the trip (and only minimal experience with economics), as a result of the Paideia course I did not have any trouble following the presentations of the various firms in New York. 

Reedies Win Grants for Peace and Understanding

Nine Reed students have won grants to pursue summer projects to promote peace and strengthen understanding.

From participation with Mercy Corps to work with the Chicago Freedom school, to outreach work with the Consulate General in Frankfurt, read about these students amazing projects on the Reed magazine "sallyportal" blog:

http://www.reed.edu/reed_magazine/sallyportal/posts/2015/davis-mcgill-summer-2015.html

Financial Services Fellowship, 2015: Morgan Vague

"The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break.  Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more.  All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee"

Read on to learn about the experience of Morgan Vague, a science major in the world of finance. 

This March, a group of eight Reedies including myself, received the opportunity to travel to the mecca of finance, the big apple itself: New York City. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous during the first night, when our generous trip leader initiated an open questions and answer session about finance over a steak dinner in an iconic New York restaurant. Finance had always interested me, and I could hold a decent conversation about it.  But, as the only science major among a group dominated by economics majors, I felt a little out of place. When it was my turn to ask a question, I inhaled deeply, and spouted off a fairly basic question that was answered without the slightest trace of condescension. This set the tone for the next 4 days.

Center for Democracy and Technology, Reed Winter Externship Program, Eloise (Anqi) Chen

Anqi (Eloise) Chen, first-year psychology major, spent a week working with Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) as her Reed’s winter externship program. CDT is a multinational nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that aims to preserve the user-controlled nature of the Internet and champion freedom of expression.

The externship I took part in was not even listed on the Winter Externship Program page. Paul Alan Levy, an attorney in Washington, DC and also a Reed alumnus redirected me to Erik Stallman, who offered this opportunity. I highly appreciate the fact that they acknowledged my prior experiences in the legal industries back in my hometown Shanghai, China while reviewing my application.

CDT is located at Farragut Square, the center of a bustling business district in Capitol Hill. Like many other employers in D.C., I spent about an hour commuting from Silver Spring, Maryland to work every day. The first day I came to the firm, I was immediately struck by the sense of familiarity: an incredibly dynamic and efficient work environment as I have experienced in a law firm in Shanghai. A major and critical difference was that I would have to communicate out of my mother tongue. Despite the fact that I had done an extensive amount of preparation with the law-related aspects of the U.S., from watching Boston Legal to reading various articles, there were still more professional vocabularies and terms than those I had encountered in my life. You have to love challenges!

Winter Fellowship for International Travel: Emmeline Hill

Emmeline Hill, senior biology major, traveled to Australia on a Reed Winter Fellowship for International Travel. The following post describes her experience getting to know the insects and sheep of the island continent.

 “You haven’t seen a funnel web yet? Ah, if you like critters, we have to find one. You can just tell they’re predatory when you look at them.”
Thus began my tour through the garden of a friend of my host family on a search for Australia’s most deadly spider. We spent a good 20 minutes tramping barefoot through the dead leaves and branches littering the yard. As we went, Jon turned over various rocks and boards and investigated different crannies, hoping to come upon a funnel web spider. There are several species of funnel webs in Australia, six of which are severely venomous to humans (though there have been no known deaths since the development of an anti-venom in 1981). I’m still not sure if I am disappointed or relieved that no funnel webs decided to make an appearance.
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Before I left on my trip, countless people warned me about dangerous spider this and poisonous snake that, don’t go in the ocean and be careful in tall grass. But after a very short time in Australia I learned worrying about every potential threat was a waste of time (though I did check under my bed each night for Huntsman spiders, not because they are dangerous but because I didn’t want to wake up with one on my face). In Australia you don’t run away, you don’t say no because of the vague possibility of danger, you go searching for funnel web spiders, and you poke blue tongued lizards, and you back the truck up to get a second look at the red bellied black snake. I did my best to adopt this philosophy of not saying no. Even when I was exhausted or nervous, if a new opportunity was offered to me, I took it.


For the duration of my trip, I stayed with the Taylor family in the tiny town of Kentucky, New South Wales, on the 1,000-acre sheep farm that has been in the family for six generations. Currently, three generations of family live on the property together, creating a vibrant community of artists, intellectuals, and adventurers, each family member more often than not encompassing all three of those descriptors. I was on the farm as a helper; in exchange for room and board I worked 4-8 hours a day. No two days on the farm were the same, some days I herded sheep from one paddock to another, other days I set to work removing an invasive species of thistle, and sometimes I supervised the kids who almost exclusively wanted to play cards.

Financial Services Fellowship, 2015: Meagan Keating

"The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break.  Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more.  All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee"

As a sophomore wavering between Political Science and Economics, I applied for the Financial Services Fellowship because I was fascinated with the relationship between capitalism, markets, and economic policy. In this sense, I embarked on the trip hungry for information and knowledge about the financial world that would help me understand it as a system of parts comprising a whole. However, after four days of visiting all sorts of different financial firms and with a few weeks of retrospection, I think I now understand it better as a series of dynamic parts that are constantly shifting and evolving as the world advances. While it certainly didn’t answer all of my questions about capitalism and wealth distribution, I now have a better sense of how individuals on trading floors actually interact with complex financial instruments that are used to mitigate risk and manipulate markets in some seriously fascinating ways.

Beyond my academic reflections with the fellowship, the trip was perhaps most useful in the professional career experience it provided. Every night in New York City involved meeting with professionals in finance (especially Reed alumni in finance!) in formal settings at various high­end restaurants. At times interacting with strangers was easier and more interesting than others, and I was able to talk to several Reed alumni who had transitioned from finance to law in their careers and who were excited to talk to me about both professions. While “networking” never really became enjoyable per say, I certainly came away from the trip feeling more prepared to handle future career situations.

Overall, the trip was a fantastic learning experience, perhaps most so in learning how to navigate the foreign world of professional careers and life in NYC. Among the most surprising things I learned were: 1) Despite usually preferring quieter and smaller towns and cities, I actually really enjoyed the pace and feel of NYC 2) I connected with several great students on the trip who I had never had a chance to get to know at Reed 3) Business suits are surprisingly comfortable and it took a very short time for me to feel normal wearing one every day.

I would highly recommend applying for this trip even if you are not set on a career finance, as professional career experience off campus is an invaluable asset to exploring careers after Reed. 

Financial Services Fellowship, 2015: Sophie Bucci

"The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break.  Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more.  All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee"

As the name of the Financial Services Fellowship would imply, fellows’ spring break in New York was centered around career opportunities in finance: We visited salespeople, investment bankers, consultants, research analysts, quantitative financers, portfolio managers, relationship managers, risk managers, newspeople, technologists, and operations professionals in their native environments at major investment banks, hedge funds, economic and investment consulting firms, a financial press, and a private equity fund. Before and during the trip, fellows were also given the opportunity to learn about net present value calculations, bonds, derivatives, regulation, income statements, and asset-backed securities. 

More than this, however, the trip offered a broader introduction into the world of work and life beyond Reed. As the rare Reedie who actively looks forward to working in an office this summer and after graduation, it was refreshing to me to wake up early each morning, put on a suit, and experience an 8 am to 10 pm day full of business meetings and smart people getting things done in one of the greatest cities in the world. More than any specific pieces of knowledge, like the difference between debt and a loan and or the factors contributing to the lack of a robust secondary market for private equity buyins, I’ll remember my positive impressions of general professional life and its wealth of possibilities. Within the finance industry alone, there are far more roles than I had originally anticipated, and enough products, methods, and jargon to satisfy a Reedie’s intellectual curiosity for quite some time.

Northwestern University Press, Reed Winter Externship Program, Julia Green

Julia Green, sophomore history major, was a Reed winter externship program participant. The following blog is a reflection of her experience working at the Northwestern University Press with Anne Gendler (class of ’81)

Financial Services Fellowship, 2015: Sarah Canavan

"The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break.  Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more.  All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee."

Read on for an account of Sarah Canavan's FSF 2015 experience. 

When I applied for the Financial Services Fellowship I only had faint ideas of what happened in the finance industry. I think we had just started covering monetary policy in Kim Clausing’s Intro to Economics class, and my visions of Wall Street had mostly been colored by The Wolf of Wall Street, “occupy” protests and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890. What I knew, was that if Reed was offering an opportunity to fill in the gaps between where my interests already lie (federal policy and budgets, research funding, et al.) and what the heck happens in big banks and financial institutions, I wanted to be a part of it. 

Method Design, Reed Winter Externship Program, Lexi Leonetti

Lexi Leonetti, junior English major, participated in a Reed winter externship. Read on for her reflections on her time at Method, an experience design firm.

For ten days this winter I had the opportunity to extern at Method under the sponsorship of David Lipkin ’91. David was a history major at Reed and founded Method in San Francisco some years after graduating. Today, Method has over 200 employees in three offices: SF, New York City, and London. Method has collaborated with a multitude of companies ranging from Lush Cosmetics to TED to Google. Their clean and intuitive designs are award-winning, but their work isn’t limited to design; I think placing them somewhere between branding and product consulting is probably the most accurate way to describe their role. Ultimately, it all depends on the specific needs of each client (and what Method finds that they need).


In an initial one-on-one meeting with David, he explained how the best consulting and design comes from finding that essential “thing” about a product or service. What purpose does it serve and why would people (ideally) want to use it? To determine that, Method has a talented team of  astute and perspicacious collaborators who know how to think outside a traditional problem-solving process — because they understand that knowing the process has nothing to do with the outcomes. Often times people make a beautiful, substantial “solution,” but it doesn’t solve the right problem or fulfill the exact need. The analytical skills gained from being at Reed are essential to this part of Method’s approach; though Reedies don’t necessarily have the raw craft skills, we have the ability to assess problems and see how your answer can solve the right questions.
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Over the course of ten days, I conducted research audits, prepared a presentation of those audits, collected stock photos to fit a presentation of a proposed user journey, participated in an all-day brainstorming session where we tracked several user journeys provided with every possible technological availability, and wrote an entirely new manifesto for the company Method was developing a proposal. This externship went beyond the concrete outcomes, though; simply being in the studio, becoming a temporary part of the team, and taking in all of the shared ideas and collaboration that’s so essential to Method’s work was just as significant as the rest of it. By hanging out, eating lunch at the studio, and striking up conversations with people over the studio’s Chemex coffee brewer (Stumptown was their roaster of choice, ironically enough) I got to hear how different people got to Method through their own unique career paths, as well as a feel for the industry as a whole, extending beyond Method.

Financial Services Fellowship, 2015: Dean Young, Ahyan Panjwani, Zach Harding-Laprade

 “The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break.  Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more.  All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee”

            Read on to learn of the experiences of a few of the Financial Services Fellows of 2015

 

Gregory Forman Family Law, Reed Externship Program, Aliana Knoepfler

Aliana Knoepfler, sophomore psychology major, participated in the Reed externship program. She spent her spring break learning hands-on about family law in Charleston, South Carolina.

This spring break I externed with family law attorney Gregory Forman in Charleston, South Carolina. Going into the externship, I was not sure what to expect as I knew very little about family law but was nevertheless very interested in learning as much as I could. I was specifically interested in what day-to-day life is like for a lawyer.

For a week, I observed Mr. Forman meet with clients, review documents, attend mediation, visit court and more. I was surprised to learn such a great deal about family law and also discover how interesting it is and how greatly it differs from other areas of law. In addition to learning about family law, I was also interested in learning more about law in general. Before this externship, I did not know about the option of becoming a sole practitioner rather than working at a law firm. I was able to learn that there are benefits to being a sole practitioner, such as more control over one’s career as well as more flexibility.

New Mexico Legal Aid, Reed Winter Externship Program, Elisa Cibils

As a participant in the Reed Winter Externship Program, Elisa Cibils, senior history major, learned firsthand about public service law at New Mexico Legal Aid

In January 2015, Maya Campbell '15 and I shadowed a few of the attorneys at New Mexico Legal Aid (NMLA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This experience and the people I met on the trip challenged a lot of ingrained assumptions and stereotypes I had about lawyers. In my mind, the ideal, successful lawyer looked like an overbearing mansplainer. That’s what I thought a lawyer looked like based on popular discourse. But, I was so wrong. I’m sure the stereotypical lawyer figure I just outlined lives in many law offices. But there are so many other types of lawyers that don’t get talked about, like the lawyers I met at NMLA and the other legal service organizations we visited. The attorneys I met on the trip were mostly middle-class white women who had recently graduated from an out of state law school. They were so committed to their jobs, arriving in the office early and staying late to continue their work. These attorneys at NMLA provide free legal services to low-income New Mexicans. Many of the cases they take are family law cases, some are landlord-tenant cases, and others are foreclosure cases.


I learned that public interest law is really multifaceted and functions through a network of different organizations, funds, volunteers, and administrative support. We met with Aja Brooks who led the Volunteer Attorney Program for NMLA. We also traveled to the different NMLA offices around the state, including the Albuquerque and Las Vegas offices. In these offices, we met attorneys and administrative support that were really committed to their community and their clients. We also met with members of outside organizations that provide free legal services. We met with Liz McGrath from Pegasus, an organization that provides legal services for children. We also met Allegra Love, an immigration lawyer working in connection with Santa Fe Public Schools, who provides free immigration legal services to immigrant families. They shared their life stories and gave us career advice. They told us what it was like on the job. I definitely got the sense that public interest law is hard, underpaid, and undervalued. Despite these conditions, the people I encountered in the field were positive, hard-working, and committed to their work and their clients.

Union Pacific Railroad Museum, Reed Winter Externship Program, Liana Clark

Text reads “Meeting of Union Pacific Board of Directors, The Republican National Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 3rd, 2000”

Liana Clark, senior art major, joined the team of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Iowa as a part of the Reed College Winter Externship Program.

On several occasions my mother has told me that I'm "the best person to go to a museum with." I'm sure others would disagree - not that they would be noting a different trend than she did. For as long as I can remember, I've been extremely critical of the wall text, the arrangement of art objects or artifacts, or whatever general narratives the gallery space is attempting to project with their exhibitions. This tendency to critique only intensified after I declared myself as an art major at Reed. Still, I never seriously considered working in a museum. For me, the fun of rolling my eyes at a reductionist perspective on an artist's legacy, or quoting Fred Wilson ("museums are great silencers of dissent") after reading an exposé that seemed to stretch the truth, was my own little exercise in futile expression of exacerbation. I didn't expect it to go anywhere.

One night, my housemate and I were trying to figure out what we should do over winter break.  We decided it would probably be worthwhile to apply for Reed's winter externship program, but since the form only lets applicants select a single location (and we didn't feel especially competitive), we laughingly chose the most intriguing - but hopefully least enticing to our peers - destinations.  Seeing as the Union Pacific Railroad Museum is not only a corporate museum (bound to offend the average Reedie's anti-establishment sensibilities), but it is also in Council Bluffs, Iowa (which in the middle of winter, didn't exactly call for the same uniform as the beach in Miami), it seemed like I'd have a good shot. I figured this could be my chance to see what it was really like to work for a museum. Besides, at the very least, it would definitely supply me with great material for the next time I wanted to complain about what was badly executed about a glass case of silverware in the Legion of Honor.

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