Centre College rising senior Makrina Nayfa is putting her art history major to work as an intern at the Asheville Art Museum, a non-profit organization that specializes in 20th and 21st century American Art.
Nayfa is learning to handle the day-to-day operations of the museum, such as membership renewals, mailing lists and attending meetings with corporate sponsorships. She is also helping with the planning and budgeting of the annual gala.
However, Nayfa explains that she has taken her newfound knowledge of the museum industry and used it as a catalyst for a personal project. She is researching various fundraisers taking place at other museums—both nationally and internationally—to try to establish different events that the Asheville Art Museum can pursue in the future.
Nayfa also says she is pleased to work for a small but well-established institution this summer, pointing to the positive dynamic between the interns and the staff at the museum.
“Since the Asheville Art Museum is smaller, all of the workers really take the time to teach the interns.”
The internship offers her opportunities to better her education outside the museum setting as well.
“I have had the opportunity to learn about the other departments, such as communications, curatorial, education and administration,” she explains. “It was such a privilege to get up close and learn about the conservation process from professionals at the Biltmore Estate—not many people get this experience.”
Nayfa accredits her preparation for this internship to her experiences at Centre and her relationships with her professors. Specifically, she says that Assistant Professor of Art History Amy Frederick has had a huge influence on her adjustment to the internship.
“I have taken multiple art history classes with her, and, as a result, I feel like both my knowledge and understanding of art has flourished as well as my writing abilities and communication skills. Dr. Frederick met with me numerous times during my application process to discuss different possibilities and assist me in any way that she could.”
Though she is only half way through her internship, it has helped clarify her plans for the future. She is hoping to attend graduate school and work within a non-profit art museum.
“Museum positions are very limited and one of the best things one can do to get themselves ahead is to have hands on experience,” she says. “Having a master’s degree is not impressive, it’s expected. What sets one applicant apart from the other is the experience through internships and volunteer work.”
Makrina expressed her gratitude toward the Centre Commitment—a guarantee that every student will study abroad, engage in an internship or research opportunity and graduate in four years—because it has provided her the opportunity to get her foot in the door in a very difficult industry.
“Finding a job after graduation is getting harder and harder—museum work is no exception,” she explains. “Internships are the best way to gain experience and set yourself apart from other applicants.”
by Makenzie Dries ’21
July 10, 2019