Meet Our Spring 2023 Interns

 Meet our spring 2023 interns, who recently completed their internships. 

Dedipta Bhattacharjee, The City College of New York

Dedipta Bhattacharjee is a senior at The City College of New York majoring in English, Asian Studies, and Publishing, with additional minors in Art History and Journalism. She is a Kaye Scholar, Isaacs Scholar, City College Fellow, NBCU Fellow, and Stanford/CUNY Humanities Research Program alumnus. Her research under the City College Fellowship pertains to the portrayal of South Asian women in literature and how literature acts as a medium to link history to the realities of women. Dedipta is passionate about women’s rights, environmental sustainability, and DEAI initiatives. In spring 2023, she worked at the Phillips as a DEAI intern with Horning Chair for DEAI Yuma Tomes and DEAI Manager Shelby Bergstresser, utilizing past and present archives to further the museum’s mission to bring more inclusivity and accessibility to art spaces. She designed graphics for the DEAI department, including a diversity statement poster.

Elissa Diaz, University of Toronto

Elissa Diaz is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, having majored in Anthropology and Latin American Studies. She worked as a Curatorial Intern to expand her knowledge of museum practices and procedures, which included projects such as moving archival files from the Phillips’s Carriage House to the museum library and archives, meeting with artists to discuss potential collaborations, and conducting research for upcoming exhibitions. She plans to further her education in this field in the future. Elissa will be continuing her work here at The Phillips Collection as the Temporary Assistant to the Director of Contemporary Art Initiatives and Academic Affairs Vesela Sretenovic.

Abby Osborne, George Washington University

This is Abby Osborne’s second cycle with The Phillips Collection’s Marketing and Communications department., working with Director of Marketing and Chief Communications Officer Renee Littleton. Abby worked on draft pitches to journalists and media organizations, as well as creating marketing emails for the museum. She helped with community outreach, including the Phillips’s new business partnerships with restaurants and cafes in the neighborhood to offer discounts and specials to museum members and visitors. She also helped promote upcoming exhibitions and events throughout the community and updated mailing lists. She is a student at The George Washington University, double majoring in Art History and Political Communication.

Terrell Lawrence, Prince George’s Community College

Terrell Lawrence is currently in his last semester at Prince George’s Community College, majoring in general studies while also pursuing a certificate in human resources management. He will be transferring to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore next fall. It has been a great experience, working as the HR Intern with the Director of Human Resources Angela Gillespie and Senior Payroll and Human Resources Manager Gwen Young. He assisted with the Staff Appreciation Breakfast held for all staff in March, helped with the rollout of the spring 2023 Temporary Detail Opportunities, and assisted with the layout and testing of the Phillips’s new internal employee engagement platform.

The Story of Mama Lula

Artist Shiloah Symone Coley shares her experience interviewing Parklands resident Miss Lula and creating Mama Lula, an animation now on view at Phillips@THEARC about Miss Lula’s story.

Roses fill Miss Lula’s living room when you peer in through the street-facing window. It’s July 12, 2022, just over a week since her 89th birthday on July 4. The flowers transform her intimate living room into looking much more like the garden just outside her window.

Miss Lula pictured just after her July 4th birthday. Photo: Shiloah Symone Coley

Her flowers thrive in the mid-summer heat and humidity. She wears a red, white, and blue Washington, DC Nationals baseball t-shirt with a matching hat that reads “LOVE.” It’s not the fourth of July anymore, but something feels quintessentially American in a different way–not just her outfit, but her, all 5 feet of a July 4th baby now in her elder years. She’s seen so many 4th of Julys.

I met Miss Lula earlier that year during the winter at one of the Creative Aging programs at Phillips@THEARC. An intimate program that day, Donna Jonte and I were joined by Miss Lula and her friend Miss Pam. We ate, talked, and made art. But one of the most memorable parts of that day were the stories Miss Lula told about the work. There was a story behind every piece. So when I had the idea to interview Black women who lived around THEARC in the Parklands community, she landed first on my list.

As I walked into THEARC with her for our first interview, people at the front desk and coming in and out of the building immediately knew who she was. Not only were pleasantries exchanged, but updates on life events were eagerly shared. She seemed to carry about her a unique mix of warmness and honesty that let people know it was okay to be themselves and say how they were really feeling with her. It helps that she’s lived in the community in the same apartment for 60 years. She’s watched some of these folks grow up.

As I interviewed Miss Lula, what I found most interesting about her story was her persistence to stay in the Parklands community. I think as a child I often dreamed of leaving home, moving, doing my own thing. Then, in my adulthood I have become accustomed to a semi-nomadic lifestyle where I move every couple of years. Both forced migration and chosen migration run rampant across all eras but seems particularly normalized with younger generations. On my block in Northwest DC my roommate and I have noted half the people who used to live on our block have moved within the past year. As we noticed how quickly and frequently the shift occurs, we began to wonder what it means for the community when people are able to stay.

Miss Lula knows migration well. She arrived in DC at Union Station as a little girl with her siblings after her maternal grandmother sent them up north from South Carolina to be reunited with their parents, an experience not uncommon to most children growing up during the Great Migration. She would spend the rest of her life in Maryland and DC, and most of her life in her current residence in Parklands. Mama Lula is about one woman who has been able to stay and has chosen to stay in her community despite the changing landscape around her.

I originally set out to tell a story about the community from various perspectives with insight from multiple women from different generations. And perhaps that project will still take shape one day. But it became clear after interviewing Miss Lula, that her voice was deserving of its own project. Maybe the countless cards and flowers she received on her birthday were indicative of not just the lives she’s touched, but the importance of her as an elder in the community with a life and story to share.

Meet Our 2022 Fall Interns

Meet our fall 2022 interns, who have recently completed their internships. Applications for spring 2023 paid internships in the DEAI, HR, and Curatorial departments are now open!

Abby Osborne, George Washington University

“My name is Abby Osborne, and I’m a junior at George Washington University, majoring in art history and political communication. During this cycle, I’ve helped the Marketing and Communications department with community outreach, our business partnerships, and a press release about an upcoming exhibition. During my internship I enjoyed helping strengthen The Phillips Collection’s relationship with local businesses and creating strong partnerships that will benefit museum-goers. I also helped promote upcoming exhibitions and events throughout the community and updated the mailing lists, adding local university newspapers and Italian/Italian-American organizations that might be interested in the exhibition about Giuseppe De Nittis.”

Claire Griffin, George Washington University

“I am Claire Griffin and I am an intern in the DEAI department under Horning Chair for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Yuma Tomes. I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Museum Studies from George Washington University and will be starting my last semester in January. Additionally, I have a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in Sociology from Indiana University. Before joining the Phillips, I held positions at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Dumbarton House Museum, and Indiana University’s Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. Throughout my time here, I have had five major projects: Diversity in the Collection Project, Labor Acknowledgement Project, assistance with the Diversity Inter-Group Dialogue Series (DIDs) staff training session, writing an article for the next DEAI Staff Newsletter, and interviews with the department heads. I have been so grateful to learn more about DEAI work inside museums and looks forward to taking that knowledge with me throughout my career.”

Juliana Walsh, The Catholic University of America

“My name is Juliana and I have been the Community Engagement Intern. I have experienced tours given by Phillips Educators to grow my understanding of museum learning, as well as family programs that engage experiential learning. I spent a significant amount of time at our workshop at THEARC, where I helped The Phillips Collection win the best decorated car of THEARC partners at the annual Trunk & Treat event. I also supported some art-making workshops there. My main project this semester was research for the implementation of a mural-making summer camp at THEARC for students in Wards 7 and 8. This has been an absolute joy and I am very hopeful that the camp will become a reality, promoting initiatives of inclusivity and accessibility in historically underrepresented communities. I am so happy with all the work I did this semester and the great bonds that have been created between me and my department.”

Tina Fu, California State University Los Angeles

“My name is Tina Fu and I am an Education intern under Deputy Director for Education and Responsive Learning Spaces Anne Taylor Brittingham. I graduated from California State University Los Angeles this May with a BA in Art Education, which led me t interning at The Phillips Collection because I was interested in learning about art education beyond school classrooms. During my internship at the Phillips, I was able to be involved in different experiences and events, such as shadowing tours, interacting with visitors, creating lesson plans, helping set up events, and learning about the operations of a museum. I am very grateful for this opportunity which helped expand my understanding of art education.”