Alum Interview with Rosemary Zlokas

zlokas-vtphRosemary Zlokas is a 2015 graduate of the History MA program with a concentration in Public History. We caught up with her to learn about what her professional life is like after graduation.

Q: Where are you working and what is your position like?

A: I am working as a Curatorial Assistant/Gallery Technician at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville, TN. The museum is an amazing–and huge!–institution that had over one million visitors last year, so there is always something exciting happening. I assist with collecting, cataloging, and researching artifacts, along with preparing items to go on exhibit. I also install and de-install temporary exhibits as well as maintain current exhibits.

Q: How did you hear about the opening for your current position?

A: When I started my job search, I kept checking for openings through major public history organizations like NCPH, but also the job boards of several specific museums in Nashville (where I had just moved to at the time). I was fortunate to see the posting for my current position the day it went up and applied right away.

Q: What were the application and interview processes like for your job?

A: I wrote a cover letter (both Dr. Cline and Dr. Winling were super great in helping me revise cover letters) specific to this position and sent it in along with my resume. I had several rounds of interviews, which all included questions on previous experience, how I would handle the role I was applying for, and what I hoped to be doing in a few years.

Q: What is one thing that you did at Tech that aided you in your professional or academic path?

A: I’m really grateful for my graduate assistant experiences. I had the opportunity to work closely with faculty on several diverse projects and gain exposure to different public history arenas. Professionally speaking, it was really helpful to have my assistantship experience and the internship I completed for my PH certificate on my resume, along with solid faculty recommendations, when applying to jobs.

Q: Did you have any internships that helped you transition to the professional life?

A: Yes, I actually interned with the Education department at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum for my internship requirement as part of the PH certificate.  I’m in the Curatorial/Exhibits department now, but my intern supervisor has been such a great resource all along. I had also interned with a handful of museums as an undergrad, which helped secure the higher-level internship and also meant a wider variety of experience on my resume when it came to applying for jobs. (So yes, my internships were really important!)

Q: What has been your favorite exhibit/project/moment at the museum?

A: There have been so many! It was probably the project where I got to share the amazing couture we have in the collection with famous designers who wanted to learn more about fashion throughout country music history… (that was fun to read about in fashion blogs the next day!) Or, it was the time our team went to rural Alabama to pull/transport artifacts for an upcoming exhibit (which was just as glamorous in its own way).

Q: What are your plans from here?

A: For the time being, I am enjoying growing into new responsibilities in my current position and keeping up with opportunities for professional advancement.