Jewish Cultural Historical Museum
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Casey Sennett

Liberal Arts Major(s): Anthropology, History, Jewish Studies
Minors: Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Middle Eastern Studies
Hometown: Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
Experience Time: Summer 2021

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

This summer, I interned with the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum in Willemstad, Curaçao, as their Curatorial and Web Content Development Intern. I designed a proposal and submission guidelines for the museum’s forthcoming rotating temporary exhibit, “Jewish Curaçao: One Story at a Time,” and wrote the text for the museum’s first website. I spent about six weeks of my internship working remotely and two weeks working on-site in Curaçao.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Interning with the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum this summer allowed me to utilize and expand upon my current knowledge of Jewish history. The experience also allowed me to interact with nearly 400 years of Jewish life in Curaçao through scholarly articles, museum text, one-on-one conversations with community members, and by visiting religious and historically Jewish places in Curaçao. Through this internship, I not only grew as a Jewish Studies student, but it made me realize some of the existing gaps in my knowledge of Jewish history and Judaism in general. The internship has encouraged me to see what classes or knowledge I need to focus on in the future to minimize some of those gaps.

"Interning with the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum allowed me to confirm my passion for museum work and gain hands-on museum experience."

How will this experience impact your career goals?

Through various classes and study abroad experiences at Penn State, I have found my passion in the preservation and continued education of Jewish history. Once I graduate, I intend to work in either museum education or public programming at a Jewish history or Holocaust museum. This summer, I was able to see the innerworkings of the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum, as well as other museums I visited while in Curaçao, and explore various museum professions. Interning with the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum allowed me to confirm my passion for museum work and gain hands-on museum experience.

How has the College of the Liberal Arts helped you to find and/or succeed in this experience (e.g., adviser, faculty, staff, enrichment funds, etc.)?

The College of the Liberal Arts allowed me to both find and fund this internship. I was connected with the museum through Katie Wysocki in the College of the Liberal Art’s Career Enrichment Network and professor Dr. Howie Smith in Criminology. Additionally, funding from the College of the Liberal Arts and the Jewish Studies Department allowed me to be able to travel to Curaçao and gain this hands-on experience. I am extremely grateful for the professional and financial resources available in the College of the Liberal Arts that allowed me to find this experience and make visiting the island a reality.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

One of the things I love about the Paterno Fellows Program is that it encourages its students to take advantage of a variety of experiences, such as internship, study abroad, research, etc., while at Penn State. Being a Paterno Fellow has both encouraged and helped me to pursue all of those experiences and then some. I am so grateful for the support of the Paterno Fellows Program in all of my endeavors.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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