Senior Standouts: Sara Umland '15

Senior Standouts: Sara Umland '15

Senior Standouts: Sara Umland '15
Alyssa Bouc '15

By Alyssa Bouc '15

Sara Umland When Sara Umland ’15 was in sixth grade, she wrote a paper about what she wanted to do when she grew up: work at a museum. Her mother still has the paper. A decade later, the history and English double major from Windsor, Colorado, is on track to reach her goal—she was admitted to the State University of New York at Oneonta and New York State Historical Association's Cooperstown Graduate Program, one of the top museum studies master's programs in the nation.  Associate Professor of History Dr. Kim Jarvis, Umland’s advisor, said the program has a 98-percent job placement rate (because one time, a student didn’t take a job that they were offered). Jarvis said Umland took a lot of initiative throughout her college career to set herself up for success and that getting into a good museum studies program required more than just being a good student. Having experience is crucial. “Most of our students who are interested in museum studies will start in the library. They will work with (Doane archivist and historian) Janet Jeffries, organizing the Doane collection which is great,” Jarvis said. “Whether it is volunteer or internship, that work experience is critical. It is a very professional degree. You get the degree, you get experience and you use the connections the program has developed to move further in your career.” In addition to working with Jeffries, Umland had two internships during college: one with the Windsor Historical Association in Colorado and another with the National Park Service in Beatrice at the Homestead National Monument. “I did an eight-week internship and did two weeks of collections, two weeks of archives, two weeks of education and two weeks of management,” Umland said. “I really did that to boost my resume and gain experience.” While in Cooperstown, New York, Umland will continue to learn the ins and outs of how to run a museum such as museum education, museum collection, museum archives and management. “I think it’s a real credit to Sara’s focus on her experiential learning aspect of her program—the internships—that allowed her to be a very competitive applicant for these programs,” Jarvis said. Umland said about 100 individuals apply for the program each year, 50 get interviews and about 25 get accepted. She said the feeling was unreal when she got the call. “I didn’t even think I’d get an interview,” Umland said. “Then after my interview, my dad called and said he got a letter and I told him to open it. I was tearing up I was so happy and excited.” Jarvis, however, wasn’t surprised when she heard the news. “I was thrilled. Of course I didn’t doubt it for a moment, but you never know,” Jarvis said. “Graduate school depends on the year, who applies. It is very different than at the undergraduate level. In this particular field they do want a good student, but also someone who has a good idea about what it means to be a professional. Sara’s got that.” Though she’s sad her time at Doane is over, Umland is anxious to move to Cooperstown—best known for being home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum—and begin the next chapter of her life. “I am just excited to go to a new place,” the new alumna said. “I (came) from Colorado to Nebraska. Now (I’m going from) Nebraska to New York, which is a huge step. I am excited to meet new people who have different perspectives to see what’s on that side of the country and experience the East Coast.”