My name is Emily Vallerga. I recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz, double majoring in Italian Studies and Anthropology. I have interned with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center for about three months and it has been a truly amazing and irreplaceable experience. One of the greatest things I will take away from this internship is how I can apply what I studied in school to a real-life job scenario. I quickly realized that many of the skills I learned in college, such as email etiquette, researching techniques, data compilation, critical thinking, analysis, and interpersonal skills are invaluable parts of a working environment. I used these skills on a daily basis and they have only improved.
As an intern, I worked closely with Masum Momaya and the exhibition Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation. I came on board as a research intern, which means being responsible for updating statistics and data, filling in blanks of the exhibition script, and conducting research on the yoga section of the exhibition. I have learned the process of presenting my research to a wide audience that is not strictly academic, what a design meeting looks like, and where many of the items in the exhibition will be coming from. Overall, this experience has been eye-opening and allowed me to see the many possibilities an Anthropology degree has to offer.