Hello admitted students! As Kate explained in her blog yesterday, this week we’ll be posting about our favorite people at Hopkins. When I first heard about this topic, there was one person who immediately came to mind: Dr. Elizabeth Rodini.
Dr. Rodini (per her faculty profile, otherwise this would be creepy), came to Baltimore in 2004 after working as a curator at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, where she earlier received her PhD in Art History. She worked as a liaison between JHU, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Walters Art Museum, before her commitment to Hopkins multiplied when she was hired to found and direct the Program in Museums & Society, an interdisciplinary minor offered to undergrads like myself.
As a Museums & Society student and part of a small but mighty program, I’ve worked closely with Dr. Rodini and have only benefited from my experiences with her. I first met Dr. Rodini (and the equally admirable Dr. Kingsley, administrator and lecturer for Museums & Society) at the open houses which all departments host during Orientation week. She spoke passionately about museums and from that moment I knew that this minor was something that would (and continues to) define my time at Hopkins. Freshman fall I took her course Introduction to the Museum: Past and Present where we traced the history of cultural institutions, had eye-opening class discussions, and worked on forward-thinking research projects. At the end of my freshman year I had no hesitation declaring my Museums & Society minor, and I was thrilled to later learn that not only was she my advisor for my Museums minor, but that she was my primary academic advisor for my History of Art major as well.
While our interests in art history differ in era (I focus on the modern and contemporary while she’s an expert on all things Renaissance), it’s our mutual interest in museum theory and practice that makes her the ideal mentor. (You can read an article about museums, the program, and Dr. Rodini here!) She’s written almost-countless letters of recommendation for me for internship opportunities, guided me with which courses to take, and I even had the chance to work for her for a semester as the Academic Assistant for the Program. She’s supported students with independent endeavors, led an amazing intersession course in Paris (which my friend Ryan wrote about here and will again be offered next year!!), likewise made it very simple for me to bring back credits for the minor when I study abroad for a year at the École du Louvre next fall, and additionally works tirelessly to integrate the interests of the students into the coursework for the minor.
As extremely helpful as the Career Center is here (seriously, they’re great), they themselves have told me that if you’re pursuing a career in museums, Dr. Rodini is the best resource out there. In fact, she really helps all students in the Program and beyond, devoting (actually) countless hours to meeting with us and guiding us through our undergraduate experiences. You’ll find that this kind of commitment to students is extremely common among Hopkins faculty, but in my (probably-biased) opinion, Dr. Rodini does it with the passion and expertise that helps her students beyond compare.
I asked Dr. Rodini about her experiences working with Hopkins students, and here was her response:
One of the things I love about teaching students in our program is the range of interests and talents they bring to class. I’ve worked with budding anthropologists, archaeologists, material scientists, historians, psychologists, artists--even astrophysicists. When they’re all together in a classroom, or working to put together an exhibition, it’s an exciting mix. I love to see what they all end up doing, the different paths they choose to follow.
I feel extremely fortunate to have Dr. Rodini as my advisor. Her knowledge of the museum field and willingness to help her students is incomparable, and I can’t thank her enough for her guidance these last two year. It’s the plethora of professors like Dr. Rodini that really make Hopkins such a unique and dynamic place.
SIDE NOTE!: If this is your first time visiting my blog (hi!), I thought I’d point out some of my previous posts that may be helpful for a prospective student to read. In the past I’ve written about my art history major, research and resources within the humanities, and my classes at Hopkins. I’ve talked not only about my jobs around campus and my opportunity curating an exhibition (at right), but also about the fun times that comprised a semester and the best aspects of Hopkins (senior superlatives, anyone?). If none of that interests you, then hopefully a look at my overarching Why Hopkins? blog will give you some insight on the Hopkins experience as you continue choosing which school is right for you.
As always, please reach out to me on my forums page if you have any questions, which I’d be more than happy to answer. (Fun fact: no one has ever asked me a question on the forums. Will you be the one to change that??) Lastly — if you haven’t already — check out this year’s video welcoming the class of 2017. While we may not have a constant a cappella soundtrack playing around campus (although I’ll work on changing that), it really does a great job of showing the involved and passionate nature of Hopkins students, a community which has accepted you to join it. Thanks for reading, and best of luck in making your decision!
Congratulations Class of 2017!