Alyssa Thiel, M.A. Sustainable Cultural Heritage
Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative, Washington, D.C.
In Fall 2016, I had the amazing opportunity to intern for the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) as part of the requirements for the Sustainable Cultural Heritage MA. I worked closely with the Program Coordinator for SCRI on the backend logistics for two conferences hosted by SCRI in Washington, D.C. last October. One conference focused on the formation of a Syrian Cultural Heritage Center in Istanbul and the other was an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation sponsored meeting to address concerns about cultural heritage preservation during disaster situations domestically in the United States. Culture in crisis both domestically and internationally, is one of the areas of focus that I have pursed in my career since graduation, so this was an incredible experience.
I worked remotely with cultural heritage professionals around the world to coordinate travel arrangements, manage the attendee list and provide information for the attendees. In October, I went to Washington, D.C. to prepare for the conferences and assist and coordinate day-of logistics during the conferences. I had the opportunity to meet the scholars and professionals from around the world that are currently in the cultural heritage field making a difference. This experience was essential for me, both professionally and personally, and one I would never have had, were it not for American University of Rome’s Sustainable Cultural Heritage Masters program.