Devin Oake didn't realize a career in museum curation was an option for him until he was a year away from earning his St. Ambrose Bachelor of Arts degree in History in the fall of 2018.
"I found my place in museums, I think," said Oake, who will enter his second year of the Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Museum Studies graduate program this coming fall.
Oake sees a newly signed agreement between the WIU-QC program and the SAU Art History undergraduate program as a win for SAU students who also see their future in museum science.
The agreement formally integrates the two programs and will allow SAU students to get a head start on pursuing their masters at the WIU-QC campus across the Mississippi River in Moline, Illinois. Pamela White, program director for the MA program at WIU-QC, said the integrated program would allow students to finish both degrees in five years.
"We have had a number of undergraduate students come to us from St. Ambrose University, so we know firsthand what excellent students they are," White said. "We are pleased to strengthen our collaboration with SAU."
Terri Switzer, professor and director of the SAU Art History and Museum Studies program, said the agreement is a great opportunity for SAU students, noting 18 program graduates already have gone on to pursue their master's through the WIU-QC program.
"The SAU Art History and Museum Studies program is noteworthy for its focus on professional development and preparation for careers in the discipline," Switzer said. "The new integrated degree with WIU will help us continue to attract quality students interested in the practical applications of these fields of study.
"Oake said SAU students who take advantage of the integrated degrees would find a student-focused master's experience that has much in common with their SAU classroom experience.
"The people I have met at Western Illinois have been great," he said. "It feels close knit."
Amelia Seutter will begin her senior year at St. Ambrose in the fall. She plans to take advantage of the integrated degree in pursuit of a career in art history.
"I think this agreement is definitely a good step," she said. "This program makes students more prepared for what they want to do. And it saves a lot of money, because grad school isn't cheap. I'm excited."
For additional information, visit www.sau.edu.art-history