2016 MRCG Emerging Professional Scholarship – Now Open!

We are now accepting applications for the 2016 MRCG Emerging Professional Scholarship. More information and the application can be found here. For more information about what it’s like to be a scholarship recipient, here’s a reflection from Amber Kehoe, one of the 2015 recipients:

MRCG Scholarship: Empowering Emerging Professionals

Being awarded an MRCG Scholarship to attend and speak at the 22nd annual conference was a turbo boost for my preprogram career to say the least. I returned to Minneapolis feeling full – full of ambition, excitement, curiosity, and full from all of the great food I consumed! The support and camaraderie between members was enough to make that weekend unforgettable, but it wasn’t the only thing that resounded with me.

I began each morning waking up in the beautiful, historic Bell Tower Hotel that was only a short walk away from the Kelsey Museum where the event took place. I was the first speaker, which was quite an honor for this year’s lineup. There were many interesting papers shared by a diverse group of conservators. Opening the conference allowed me to introduce myself to the entire group and learn from those who presented after me.

I attended the conference in 2014 in Minneapolis, but at that time, I didn’t feel as connected to the group as I did in Ann Arbor. My presentation was a conversation starter and I met many conservators in the group because of it. The things I learned during this experience positively influenced my approach to giving presentations.

Preparing for my first professional talk to a conservation audience was challenging. I drew from prior presentations at graduate school interviews and lecturing for undergraduate art history courses. To gain further insight on speaking in front of a conservation audience, I utilized AIC’s Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) webinar “Presenting Talks and Papers”. The atmosphere at the symposium was professional yet comfortable, so I think the webinar (and lots of encouragement from supervisors) prepared me will for that situation.

With my strong background in science, it was fitting that I spoke about XRF. What I found most difficult was discussing the chemistry behind the limitations of the technique. It is never easy describing the science behind an analytical technique, especially in a couple of minutes, but the audience was very receptive. I learned later at the reception that some conservators had experience with XRF or were interested in acquiring handheld units for their labs. I enjoyed casually discussing the technique with others and felt like my opinion mattered. The feedback I received was positive and encouraging. Many of the conservators were surprised that I had done this research as a pre-program student and wished me luck for applying tot he graduate programs.

After the symposium, I was invited to present this research to a public audience at the Midwest Art Conservation Center’s Annual Open Lab event. I also included it in my graduate school interviews at Buffalo, Winterthur, and NYU. Presenting at the 22nd annual conference was the beginning of what I hope will be a career filled with professional talks and workshop trainings.

Amber has been accepted into the Class of 2019 at the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation and intends to specialize in photograph conservation. 

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