OMA 2019 Student Scholarship Blog - M. Rose Stull

The Ohio Museums Association is committed to connecting and empowering museum professionals at all stages of their career — including our student and emerging museum professionals!

For our 2019 OMA Annual Conference, OMA was very proud to offer students seeking careers in the museum field, scholarships to attend OMA 2019 in Akron.

Miss our previous posts? Learn more about the Scholarship series and read our previous entries here.

This week's post comes from Rose Stull. Rose is currently a senior at the University of Akron, and will be graduating in December of this year. Rose is a history major and is also completing an undergraduate certificate in Museums and Archives. Rose is a student assistant at Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology and an intern at the William McKinley Presidential Library& Museum.

"Excited to Get to Work"

Graduation has been a distant light at the end of the tunnel for the last 4 years. Now as a senior with only one semester left, I’m not entirely convinced that light isn’t a train. As that deadline looms nearer and nearer, it’s easy to feel completely overwhelmed. The last 4 years haven’t been easy, but it’s been safe. I go to class, I study hard, I do all my assignments and then do it all again next semester. But now there’s only one semester left. And then what? Job searching, graduate school applications, and a whole lot of uncertainty.

One thing I am certain of is that a pursuing a career in museums is right for me, and attending the OMA conference only confirmed that. The conference was a fantastic opportunity for me to see what I have to look forward to after college. I’m not graduating and getting thrown into the unknown without guidance and assistance. There is an entire network of amazingly supportive and encouraging professionals that I will be joining ranks with. To see first-hand some of the work that museums across the state are doing is so encouraging and I can’t wait to get involved more.

The sessions emphasized creating museums that are accessible to all people, whether that means being sensory inclusive or welcoming to all communities and cultures. The Advocacy/Neutrality Leadership workshop with Sean Kelley prompted great discussion and it was encouraging to see how many people felt that museums should be advocates. Kelley’s plenary address only furthered the impact of the discussions. What better place to start the conversation about the United States’ broken criminal justice system than in a facility built by it?

To ignore the issue is a disservice to those affected and a wasted opportunity to provoke real change, or at the very least bring attention to it. I’m reminded of the iconic Desmond Tutu quote, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Inclusivity, diversity, and advocacy should not be viewed as challenges by museums; they should be viewed as the goal to strive for. These notions expand beyond the walls of any museum. To work and live in an environment that fosters these ideals is what I hope for.

As I am coming to the end of my undergraduate career, I am inevitably anxious about what lies ahead for me. After my experience at the OMA conference however, I couldn’t be more excited to get to work.