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“I received a solid educational foundation that carried me through my graduate studies, and I still have contacts at HCC who have helped me professionally.”
The education that alumna Michelle Kenner received at Harford Community College was great preparation for her future. She graduated from HCC earning an A.A. in History with honors, and transferred to Towson University, graduating summa cum laude with a B.S. in History and Anthropology and a minor in Archaeology. She later earned an M.A. in Art Gallery and Museum Studies with distinction from the University of Manchester in the UK.
Michelle now works as the Association Services Coordinator for the Association of Science-Technology Centers, a nonprofit association representing science centers and museums internationally located in Washington, DC. She manages their membership database, communicates their benefits to members, and recruits potential members, among other responsibilities. In addition, she is the project administrator on the Collaboration for Ongoing Visitor Experience Studies project with the Museum of Science in Boston, which seeks to develop a single, comprehensive survey to measure visitor experience among science centers and museums nationwide.
While at Harford, Michelle pursued several interests. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges; the Outdoor Adventure Club; and she participated in the Rogers Tavern archaeological dig. The scholarships she received – the Robert C. Byrd Scholarship, Harford Community College Alumni and Friends Scholarship, and Delegate Scholarship – allowed her to attend HCC at no cost.
She said she was surprised by the wide variety of opportunities that were available at HCC as well as the flexibility with classes: “Dr. Stowers essentially built a museum internship for me because it was something I was interested in and filled a need at the Hays-Heighe House.” Michelle said her museum studies internship with Dr. Stowers gave her a foot in the door at the Hays-Heighe House and piqued her interest in working in museums. In 2011 and 2012, she taught English in China to first-year students at the Jiangxi University of Science and Technology in Nanchang, Jiangxi province. “When I returned from teaching in China, I volunteered at the House again, and that inspired me to pursue my master’s and a career in museums.”
Michelle attributes her success to God, her supportive family and friends, and her professors at Harford and Towson who believed in her and pushed her to realize her full potential. HCC Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Dr. Sharon Stowers, Ann Persson (former archaeology instructor and Hays-Heighe House coordinator), and Dr. Ronn Pineo at Towson University were especially helpful to her along the way.
“I received a solid educational foundation that carried me through my graduate studies, and I still have contacts at HCC who have helped me professionally. Ultimately, your academic career is what you make of it, but if you’re willing to seek out the internships, extracurriculars, etc., then HCC can provide a wealth of opportunities for development,” stated Michelle.
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