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Senior shifts focus to museum studies after NYC trip

Mar 11, 2021
A woman stands outside an art gallery
A woman stands outside an art gallery

KOKOMO, Ind. — A class trip to New York City changed Alyssa Pier’s life.

While walking through some of the world’s most respected museums, her career focus shifted from substance abuse counseling to museum studies.

“When we visited the Met and the Guggenheim, I knew this was it. The environment of the museum is really where I wanted to be,” said Pier, from Kokomo, earning degrees in both psychology and new media, art, and technology (NMAT).

By participating in the Kokomo Experience and You (KEY) trip, she was able to spend five days in the Big Apple exploring NMAT, communication, and history and political science career opportunities.

“It was something I would not have been able to do on my own,” she said. “I’d never been outside of the rural Midwest before, so it was kind of a culture shock, but in a good way. I realized I could never live there, but I wanted that kind of energy to explore.”

Pier gained acceptance into the IUPUI graduate program for museum studies — her first choice — and looks forward to diving into the world of museum management.

“It’s an immersive kind of degree,” she said. “I will figure out the administrative side, the collections side, and all other aspects of working in a museum. It will be widespread information, so I can figure out what I like best and pursue a career in that area. Right now I’m interested in archives and collections, and making sure everything is accounted for. I like organization, and having that first-hand experience with the artwork.”

She’s had a taste of the career as an intern with the IU Kokomo Downtown Art Gallery. She applied for and received a grant from the Community Foundation of Howard County to create a promotional brochure for the gallery.

Faculty from both of her majors assisted — Rosalyn Davis, clinical associate professor of psychology, walked her through the grant application process, while Erik Deerly, associate professor of NMAT, helped with content for the pamphlet, which will be used to market the gallery.

“It spotlights some of what we have available in our gallery, to pique interest and get word out that this amazing resource is available free in our community,” she said. “This is a broad invitation, to show that a variety of people can appreciate and find something there for them.”

Learning to write a successful grant is a valuable skill, she added, especially for working in the not-for-profit realm.

“With internships not in person last year, the best way I could get experience in this field was to work directly in the business side,” she said. “Now I know what goes into grant writing, and all of the research and information that’s necessary, I’m thankful to have had this opportunity.”

Pier began her IU Kokomo career as a psychology major, and has since gained understanding of people that will help her as she moves forward.

“While I’ve been here, I’ve learned how to figure out what I want, and how to get the resources I need,” she said. “It’s a really strange transition from high school to college. IU Kokomo helped me blossom in a really good way, especially in confidence.”

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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