Graphic that says The Polar Bear Treasure Keepers

Do your summer vacation plans include exploring an art or history museum, national park, zoo or aquarium?

At renowned sites across the country, from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in D.C. to Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Ohio Northern University alumni are working behind-the-scenes to ensure visitors have amazing encounters with history, art, culture, wildlife, and nature.

It’s not a job for these Polar Bears, it’s an avocation.

We invited 13 cultural heritage professionals to share their stories, and asked how Ohio Northern helped propel them to top positions as keepers of the nation’s treasures.

Here’s what they said:

  • Inside and outside the classroom, they learned to problem solve and think critically and creatively; skills they use every day in their careers.
  • They were encouraged to pursue their diverse interests; doing so turned them into lifelong learners.
  • 鶹APP opened doors to professional networks and impactful internships; these led to greater opportunities after graduation.
  • Faculty mentors inspired them to be genuine, confident, and to dream big; they did, and now they’re living their dream with careers they love.

From coast to coast, learn about the important work these 鶹APP alumni are doing for current and future generations by clicking on each story link.

@ Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C.

Exhibit Designer Ashley Dally Hornish, BFA ’04.

“As a space enthusiast, I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid, so I love being able to geek out on all the space stuff.”

Graphic Composit of Ashley

@Atomic Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada

Deputy Director and Curator Joseph Kent, BA ’10

“While I am fascinated by the topic of nuclear weapons testing, my passion comes from a desire to make history—especially something quite challenging to discuss—accessible to the public.”

Graphic Composit of Joseph

@Andrew Jackson Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee

Public Programs Coordinator Josi Lieb, BA ’20

“It’s an incredible responsibility to help personalize the past for people. When history is human, people bring more heart into understanding and learning from it.”

Graphic Composit of Josi

@ DC History Center, Washington D.C.

Senior Manager of Collections Autumn Kalikin, BA ’14

“Archives and museum collections feel literally alive to me. I approach collections as organic and growing beings deserving of care and autonomy.”

Graphic Composit of Autumn

@North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina

Director of Museum Park Rachel (Powers) Woods, BS ’01

“Throughout my life I have enjoyed finding the beauty and correlations between art and nature.”

Graphic Composit of Rachel

@Dayton Art Institute

Director and President Michael Roediger, BA ’90

“I get to lead one of the finest art museums in the country and be around incredible art. And I am the first native Daytonian to ever lead the museum. What is there not to be passionate about?!”

Graphic Composit of Michael

@Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Columbus, Ohio

Supervisor, Wild Encounters Africa,Kaylee Franklin, BS '10

“I love building relationships with animals, and I am passionate about training. Through positive reinforcement training, we have been able to do some incredible things like teaching an otter to swim and having 10 cheetahs participate in a voluntary EKG heart study.”

Graphic Composit of Kaylee

@Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Education Program Manager Margo Roseum, BSBA ’15

“The National Parks have been called ‘America’s Greatest Idea’ and I get to be part of the ‘aha moments’ of students discovering the joy of the natural world.”

Graphic Composit of Margo

@Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana

President and CEO Jody Blankenship, BA ’00

“It’s a tremendous responsibility to be charged with documenting, preserving, and making accessible, our history. Future generations will rely on these collections and scholarship that we are creating today to understand their world.”

Graphic Composit of Jody

@The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana

Vice President of Experience Development and Family Learning Monica Ramsey, BFA ’01

"Our vision tohelp kids see their potential in the world gets me going; if we can show children the many ways they can help get us to Mars or recreate a place in Thailand or Peru that shows how childrenlike them are different in ways that don’tfeel so distant – that’s thebest.”

Graphic Composit of Monica

@Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois

Senior Director of Guest Relations Heather McLaren, BA ’03

“Every ticket we sell and every guest we help connect to nature supports our blue planet and the animals we share it with.”

Graphic Composit of Heather

@Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois

Constituent Services Team Lead Erica Gabel, BA ’17

“I really love the animals here and the fact I am playing a small part in Shedd’s mission toward conservation.”

Graphic Composit of Erica

@Medici Museum of Art, Howland, Ohio

Executive Director Katelyn Amendolara-Russo, BFA ’11

“I love educating people about the arts, making it fun and relatable to everyday life, and ultimately cultivating the appreciation for the arts and the role it plays in our lives.”

Graphic Composit of Katelyn