Meet Our 2023 Summer Interns

Our 2023 Summer Interns share what they worked on this summer. We are grateful for their hard work!

Clare McElhaney, Smith College

Clare McElhaney: Library & Archives Intern
Supervisors: Juli Folk & Amanda Acosta

Clare McElhaney recently graduated from Smith College, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in History with double minors in Italian Studies and Archives. Passionate about uncovering and preserving history through archives, she worked as the Library and Archives Intern with the Manager of Archives and Library Resources Juli Folk and Digital Archivist Amanda Acosta. Working with both physical and digital material, she completed a number of projects involving the Exhibition History Files, Member Publications, the Juley Photograph Collection, and various Artist Vertical Files. Her largest project combined previously processed and unprocessed boxes, vertical files, and binders in order to collect and select Exhibition Pamphlets from the 1920s to the present for digitization so that they will be available for future research.

Grace McCormick, American University

Grace McCormick: Curatorial Intern
Supervisor: Elsa Smithgall

Grace McCormick is in her second year at American University’s Masters in Art History Program specializing in American art. Previously she received her BA from Syracuse University in Art History and Newspaper and Online Journalism with a minor in Museum Studies. With her degrees, she has merged her passion for visual art and storytelling. As a museum professional, she works to create meaningful exhibitions that engage with inequality while centering neglected or overlooked voices in this work. To this end at the Phillips, she has been working as a Curatorial Intern with Chief Curator Elsa Smithgall on an exhibition of artwork by William Gropper. She has put together a comprehensive bibliography on Gropper and his work, drafted loan requests, and assisted in developing the curatorial rationale for the show. Grace will be finishing her degree this year upon her completion of her thesis exploring the installation Mickalene Thomas: A Moment’s Pleasure (2019-2021) as a new form of institutional critique that does not focus on what a museum has not done in the past, but rather re-conceptualizes what it can be moving forward. Grace will be starting a new position at The Phillips Collection as a Visitor Services Associate.

June Nam, University of North Carolina

June Nam: DEAI Intern
Supervisors: Yuma Tomes & Shelby Bergstresser

June Nam majored in nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her parents are artists, and naturally, she was surrounded by Korean moon jars and stacks of ceramic bowls in her home. Her interest in the arts never stopped, even while in nursing school. She ran across campus to attend any creative art classes she could fit in between her shifts at the hospital. After working as a nurse through the pandemic, she wanted to explore other avenues of interest. Bringing her to the internship program at the Phillips in the DEAI department, working with Shelby and Yuma. She has a great interest in Korean art, specifically creating a better process for entry of Korean art in museums, broadly making the proposal processes of artists and exhibits more inclusive and accessible, and bringing Korean American narratives into more spaces.

Kiara Bennett, Towson University

Kiara Bennett: Community Engagement Intern
Supervisors: Donna Jonte & Laylaa Randera

My name is Kiara Bennett. I am working as the Community Engagement Intern this summer. I am from Prince George’s County, Maryland. I am completing my last semester at Towson University as an Art Education and Fine Arts double major. I love to paint, travel, and visit various museums in my free time. Museums have always been a safe space for me since I was a child, so having this experience to further my career in museum education was a dream come true. This summer I helped with weekend Family Programs, assisted with art activity programs for Iona Senior Services, and shadowed multiple educational tours. I also worked at The Phillips Collection Summer Camp program for children at THEARC. During the program, I assisted the children with completing a mural for THEARC and taught my own art lesson about how to create stained glass window designs, inspired by Nekisha Durrett’s Airshaft (2021) located on the bridges of the Phillips.

Lucy Phillips, American University

Lucy Phillips: Development Intern
Supervisor: Miranda Burr

Lucy Phillips is a rising junior at American University, majoring in Art History and Statistics. This summer she worked as a Development Intern with Corporate Relations Officer Miranda Burr, gaining a meaningful understanding of The Phillips Collection’s fundraising and donor relations activities. More broadly, her internship exposed her to trends and strategies for arts philanthropy. During her time at the Phillips, Lucy researched prospective donors, personalized proposals, and distributed corporate sponsorship solicitations for a future exhibition. Lucy also created a comprehensive stewardship report for Frank Stewart’s Nexus–a lynchpin for driving enhanced donor engagement, relationship management, and appreciation that will be used as a template for future exhibitions.

Cecilia Moore, University of Virginia

Cecilia Moore: University of Virginia Curatorial Intern
Supervisor: Vesela Sretenovic

Cecilia Moore is a rising senior at the University of Virginia, where she studies Art History and Spanish Literature & Culture. At the Phillips Collection, she interned under Director of Contemporary Art Initiatives and Academic Affairs Vesela Sretenović. Over the course of the summer, she worked on several projects across departments and gained first-hand experience in museum practices and arts administration. These projects included streamlining the website of the Center for Art and Knowledge, conducting research on potential loans for upcoming exhibitions, and assembling an archive of past contemporary art projects at The Phillips. After she completes her undergraduate degree, she hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a career in museum curation.

Nikki Ghaemi, George Washington University

Nikki Ghaemi: Public Programs Intern
Supervisor: Ashley Whitfield

Nikki Ghaemi is a junior at George Washington University where she is majoring in art history and journalism. This summer, she worked as a Public Programs Intern under Head of Public Programs Ashley Whitfield. Nikki worked at numerous programs this summer, designed an activity for Phillips after 5 in August, and participated in a meeting brainstorming ideas for future Phillips after 5 activities. She advocated for greater engagement of Native American contemporary artists and proposed a program to celebrate Native American Heritage Month later this year.