Museum Studies student Naysa Adams is finishing out her college career on a bright note after being awarded the Diversity Internship Award. The award is presented by Missouri Humanities Council and Missouri Association for Museums and Archives as a way to promote diversity in the field of museums and archives and represent the diverse communities they serve. Naysa received the award for an internship taking place this semester that involves the conservation and research in the Union Campground Cemetery.
Naysa, currently a senior earning a BA in Visual Arts and Culture with a major in Museum Studies and minors in African and African American Studies and Art, came across the internship opportunity through Museum Studies and Art History professor Dr. Billie Follensbee. Previous Basic Conservation of Art and Artifacts classes taught by Dr. Follensbee had conducted work in the Union Campground Cemetery doing cleaning, repairs, preservation, and reconstruction of monuments and enclosures before the work was turned into an internship opportunity for students trained in conservation.
Naysa’s interest in completing an internship during the fall semester involving research of diverse populations was a perfect match for the conservation work needed at Union Campground Cemetery, an integrated cemetery dating back to the 1840’s. “As my internship is African and African American studies, my research has been dedicated to learning about integrated cemeteries like this one, the history of the Union Campground Cemetery, the specific Black Americans who are buried in this cemetery, and other Black or integrated cemeteries throughout the country, and specifically how this one compares with other ones.” Naysa shares. Naysa will apply what she has learned through Dr. Follensbee’s conservation class through the process of straightening, repairing, and cleaning headstones, as well as repairing and reconstructing the concrete enclosures of the Gollnick and McMurry plots on the property.
After being awarded the internship, Naysa worked with Dr. Follensbee on the internship award application. “Around the end of [last] semester, she had encouraged me to apply.” Naysa shares. The statewide scholarship is competitive, with only two other Missouri State Art + Design students receiving it previously. The award not only recognizes students for their work, but it also awards them a stipend to help pay for academic costs—$1,500 is awarded for 125 internship hours. “If the student’s project is selected for the Diversity Internship Award, the student receives $750 at midterm and then $750 at the end of the semester, upon the completion of the internship,” Dr. Follensbee explains.
Internships are a required part of many areas of study because of the real-world application of skills they offer for students. However, many students do not realize that scholarship awards, such as the Diversity Internship Award, are available to compensate them for their expertise in a field of study and hours-long efforts. As for Naysa, she is looking forward to the hands-on experience, “I am very happy to be working there and am excited to apply the concepts from class to the site and my future endeavors!”
For more information on the Diversity Internship Award, visit the Missouri Association for Museums and Archives website.
Taylor Ladd is a graduate assistant for the Department of Art + Design. She is working towards her master’s degree in writing at Missouri State University with professional interests in writing about art, culture, and food.