Minor in French

Nadia Valdivia, 2021

Nadia Valdivia

How did you choose your degree program?

Art has always interested me, but it wasn't until my senior year of high school that I realized art history was an option! However, it is not a common program. So George Mason, due to its proximity to D.C. and excellent art history professor reviews, became the clear choice.

How did your academic experiences in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences impact you?

One of the skills CHSS focuses on is writing. My writing has improved tremendously these past years and it is largely due to the rigorous writing assignments of my upper level classes. Additionally, most CHSS classes I took encourage peer collaboration. While many dread group projects, they made me realize I thrive in a collaborative environment.

What accomplishment(s) during your time at Mason are you most proud of?

There are two experiences that I will never forget from my time at Mason: my internship with the National Portrait Gallery and my job as a peer mentor within the Mason Autism Support Initiative. In Fall 2020, I interned at with the NPG's Docent/Intern and Access departments. This sparked my interest in the Accessibility field and provided me with invaluable museum experience. As a MASI peer mentor, I supported two students on the autism spectrum by helping them navigate college life. Both of these positions taught me the importance of teamwork, communication, and time management.

Are there faculty or staff members who made a difference during your Mason career? Please give an example of this impact if possible.

All of my art history professors have been phenomenal and thoroughly inspiring, but two names stand out: Doctors Jacquelyn Williamson and Lisa Bauman. I had multiple classes with these professors during my time at Mason and they never fail to inspire passion and devotion in their students. They are deeply knowledgeable and truly destined to teach. I had the pleasure of interviewing Bauman for another class's assignment and she was more than happy to take time out of her schedule to answer my questions. Additionally, she wrote me the glowing recommendation letter that I'm sure went a long way in securing my Fall 2020 internship. I entered Williamson's classes with no knowledge on the subjects she taught but became so enthralled purely due to her delivery that I ended up taking four classes with her. Furthermore, both professors demand excellence from their students but not without guidance. I was able to grow and develop my skills due to their insightful feedback. They inspired and encouraged me every step of the way, and my college experience would have been hollow without them.

What are your current career plans following graduation? What are your long-term career goals?

Following graduation, I will continue to work for MASI during the spring 2022 semester. I plan to search for jobs or internships in the museum field, specifically in accessibility/disability services, to gain more experience. This will hopefully shed some light on where to concentrate my efforts within the field. After that, I plan to attend graduate school to further pursue my interests in museum work.