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Senior Docent Reflections: Class of 2024
Photo Credit

Janelle Rodriguez

Senior Docent Reflections: Class of 2024

May 29, 2024

The Collection team interviewed The Wellin senior docents to see the positive impact the Wellin has had on their college experience and beyond. 

Celia Dorsey
Communications Assistant and Docent

The magazine has been really important for me finding a role as a leader on campus as well as finding confidence in working in a professional environment. I think the staff members at the Wellin have been super influential in my time here. I feel like if I needed support in any kind of facet I would be able to get it at the Wellin. 

My ability to have a portfolio from Collection has really immensely helped me with my interview process for full time jobs and for internships the past couple of summers as well. It is definitely helpful in terms of growing my ability to talk about how we give tours and how we work in collaborative environments. After college, I will still be in the creative world and I think there are a lot of things that we learn in this Wellin’s setting that can be applied to all sorts of different industries. 

 

William Haynes
Collections Assistant and Docent

Beginning of my sophomore year, Liz had me do a task where I had to draw up a mock exhibition for the Object Study Gallery. I ended up choosing a collection of photography. I had to write the wall text labels and find out how to organize all the artwork in a way that makes sense in a cohesive narrative. I got to learn about the intentional choices that curators make and how their narratives support artwork in a meaningful and productive way.

Working at the Wellin entirely changed my trajectory. I was not an art history major before I started working at the Wellin. In fact, I didn't even seriously consider it. My experiences at the Wellin also ended up getting me a position at a gallery in Edinburgh last year over the summer, which I wouldn't have had before. And now it's affected the fact that I decided that I want to go work in the art industry following my Master’s of Art History graduation.

 

Sae Gleba
Communications Assistant, Student Liaison, and Docent

Beyond school, working at the Wellin is the single most impactful thing I've done at Hamilton. I found a role that I feel very comfortable and confident in and a true passion for museum education. The Wellin is all about getting people in the door to experience the museum and artwork because it's free and open to the public with open hours. I think that's really applicable to my career goals of wanting to really focus on museum accessibility. 

When we work with local art educators, we really get to see their engagement with art in the community and it allows the Wellin to reach beyond Hamilton students. During the fall of sophomore year, we had a number of our educators come in to look at the Sarah Oppenheimer show. It was a tough moment and people didn't really click with the installation. Getting to sit and talk through that experience with a bunch of art educators fostered my passion for museum accessibility work.

 

Katie Rao
Docent

It's not so much one moment, but I've always loved being able to learn directly from the exhibiting artist about the show before the opening. I remember speaking to Yashua Klos about his tree sculpture that stood in the center of the gallery and gaining a new perspective about how his work functioned as a collective.

Having worked at the Wellin for nearly three years, I find that it continues to inspire me to pursue a career in the arts. The Wellin has been a special place on campus that allows for the intersection of various disciplines.

 

Madeline Pittel
Docent

The Wellin has been such a home on campus because I love the docent group that I work with. I've enjoyed watching myself gradually become more comfortable giving tours and learn to be present to people in a way that is accessible and engaging.

The Wellin is a really open place. I am working at an auction house after graduating, and auction houses tend to not be super accessible. The Wellin has flexible hours and does not require any money to enter, which I think really speaks to the ethos I want to bring to the auction world.

 

Jacob Piazza
Docent

When the position for the docent was posted I rushed to apply and was lucky to get an interview. The Wellin has been one of the most consistent parts of my experience at Hamilton, and was one of the things I missed the most while abroad. To me, the Wellin represents the best things about Hamilton: curiosity, academic excellence, and uniqueness. 

After leading one of the K-12 tours, a kid wrote a reflection on his time at the Wellin and addressed it to me. It felt very rewarding. The Wellin has also provided me with important experiences in pedagogy that will assist me in my future career in education, and I am open to museum education, although I lean towards secondary school currently.

 

Eliana Good
Docent

I was motivated to apply after my freshman spring. I went to the Michael Rakowitz exhibition  and had a tour that was led by Alexander Jarman. I was just blown away by the exhibition — how interdisciplinary it was and how there were opportunities for students to meet and interact with the artists. As an art student, it was really cool to me. I wanted the opportunity to meet these amazing artists and see what it takes to put on a show like this.

Since working at the Wellin, my public speaking skills and ability to facilitate a group learning experience has drastically improved. I find myself being able to think better on my toes and communicate more effectively and thoughtfully.

 

Miriam Lerner
Communications Assistant and Docent

When I first visited Hamilton, I came to see the museum with my dad. It was the Elias Sime show, so they had the rose sculpture outside made of computer parts. I thought that it was really cool, and that I wanted to come and work here. I have also always really loved art and going to museums, so I thought it would be really special to work hands-on with the art and get to know the artists.

The Wellin has been a place where I have been able to make lots of friends, be creative, and work toward something that means a lot to me. Sae, Celia, and I came up with the idea for Collection magazine and have since been able to go really far with it. It has been so meaningful to see it grow as much as it has, as we learn from our mistakes. I have also really loved learning about the museum and the artists through our many conversations and experiences with them. 

I am pre-med, so it is definitely a very different kind of work from the work I will be doing, but it has taught me to communicate with a variety of people from little kids, to local teachers, and working artists. It has also taught me to work really hard, manage my time, and be creative, which will definitely help me as I move forward.

 

Anna O'Shea 
Education Assistant and Docent

The Wellin has generally been super central to my Hamilton experience. It has been a space for community, for learning about myself, and for continuing to expand my understanding of art and art-making practices. 

I think one moment that has really stuck out to me has been in one of the K-12 programs I worked where we were trying to get middle schoolers to draw sound in congruence with the Rhona Bitner exhibition. They found it really challenging and it’s just a salient moment. I remember having so much fun really trying to challenge them to expand their understanding of visual depictions of concepts. 

I would say that the Wellin has impacted my post grad plans really heavily. I’m currently in the process of applying to positions in museum education and my role as student education assistant at the museum has definitely fostered and informed my understanding of children’s programming.

 

Hannah Dillon
Communications Assistant, Education Assistant, and Docent

At the Wellin, I've really made connections with adults and people outside of my normal circles, including other docents and people that I wouldn't normally run into. It’s also been a place where I can kind of grow within my position. I’ve learned about teamwork just from interacting with people when I have to give a tour for a class, and I am paired up with someone I don’t even know.

Whenever the magazine gets published, it's a really rewarding moment. Seeing the printed final copy and being able to say we wrote this and did it for the Wellin and students at Hamilton is super cool. It is also great to see the lesson plans that I made over the summer implemented into our programming events.

I've learned that I want to be in an environment that allows me to keep learning and where people want to have conversations and are excited to be there. That’s what I’ve felt at the Wellin for these past three years. I also want to work in an environment, whether it's in a museum or classroom, where it’s a place of movement and learning. Even just the fact that we have new shows each semester is exciting.
 


This article is being reprinted from Collection Magazine, edition number 7, originally printed in May 2024. The full edition of the magazine is available on Issuu.

 

 
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