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Jillian Decker

Class of 2019

With majors in Museum Studies and Business Management at Walsh, I have been able to make my classes and activities reflect my passions and propel me towards my career goal — museum management. It’s a unique major, that is also uniquely me.

Walsh’s Museum Studies program is special, not only because Walsh is one of only a few Midwestern schools to offer it, but also because it encapsulates classroom study of museology, art and culture with hands-on learning of skills that are specific to the field. The active learning combined with diverse classes and knowledgeable faculty have definitely prepared me for work in museums after graduation. Many of my professors are still actively working in the field in addition to teaching, so we have the opportunity to learn firsthand from museum professionals and make network connections. I am also able to double major in Business which has deepened my understanding of the inner workings of museums and will also make my job application stand out. Walsh was the only school I toured that enabled me to do both majors, plus the Honors Program and a History minor!

The professors also encourage involvement in professional organizations outside of Walsh, such as the Ohio Museums Association (OMA). Every year the OMA hosts a conference, and I was lucky enough to be their scholarship recipient for 2018. In addition to attending the conference in Dayton, I met many Emerging Museum Professionals (EMP) and directors of museums throughout the state. Walsh is also partnered with the International Preservation Studies Center, an Illinois-based organization that invites professionals from museums around the world to teach diverse topics such as museum and collections leadership, exhibit design, and artifact conservation. Last summer I spent a week there learning from the Director of Collections at the Detroit Institute of Art, thanks to Walsh’s support, and will return this summer as well.

At Walsh I have been blessed to be a part of many different clubs and activities including the Honors program, which has introduced me to some of the most creative, intellectual, and fun people I have ever known. Through CRUX, I have delved deeper into my faith and led others through Bible Studies and discipleship. I even started a new organization, the Walsh Museum Engagement Team (MET), a Museum Studies club that focuses on introducing Museum Studies majors to museum professionals, visiting different museums, and participating in service opportunities.

I also had the incredible opportunity to study in Rome with Walsh University’s Global Learning Program. We went to the Capitoline Museum, as well as others, and saw up close these works of art that I had only read about in textbooks. I soaked in every moment and loved traveling around the country.

I thought that Rome might be the end of my Global Learning adventures, but I ended up traveling to London for New Year’s as part of a two-week Art History program taught by my favorite Museum Studies professor. In the mornings we would learn about Gothic architecture or Egyptian art, and the next thing I knew we would hop on the “tube” and travel to a museum to see it in person. I studied art history in the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum. During some of my free afternoons and I went to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, the Globe, and even Stonehenge. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to participate. It really was one of my best experiences at Walsh.

Beyond my educational experiences, I love the personal relationships I have developed at Walsh. Everyone really looks out for you and helps you along the way, especially the professors. A lot of my friends from high school went to bigger schools and complained to me about not knowing their professors, that they were having trouble getting in touch with admissions or finding scholarships, but I never had any of those problems at Walsh.

I know that I matter because when I send an email, I get a response. I know that I matter because I can stop by my professors’ offices whenever I want and ask them advice. I know that I matter here because everyone smiles when you are walking to class and people talk to each other. I know that I matter because everyone around me matters, and everyone around me is developing clubs or studying something interesting. I see how much everyone matters to each other and I know this is where I belong.