Paterno Fellow to complete museum internship in Curaçao

Rebecca Marcinko
May 20, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Before embarking on a spring break trip to Paris in 2019, Casey Sennett thought she would pursue a career in law. However, after spending a week learning about France’s involvement in the Holocaust, Sennett's future plans shifted to museum education.

The experience was part of a semester-long embedded course, FR/JST 197 France and the Holocaust in Film and Literature.

“[We were] able to meet with Holocaust survivors [in Paris],” said Sennett, who will be a senior in the fall. “It was a really impactful experience that made me actually choose my second major, Jewish studies.”

Sennett, who is also majoring in anthropology and history, is a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar. She was also selected to participate in the college's Rhea S. Schwartz Scholars Program at Penn State, which provides high-achieving students in the Jewish Studies program with financial support to participate in a global experience.

Sennett will complete an internship with the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum in Willemstad, Curaçao, this summer.

“I’m really grateful for that — the opportunities I didn't think I would be able to take advantage of,” the Schwartz Scholar said. “I definitely think Penn State and the College of the Liberal Arts have proved that wrong, and I'm so excited to be wrong.”

Sennett works for the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network. Her supervisor connected her with Howard Smith, associate teaching professor of criminology, who has connections within the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum.

“It's a very small museum, but it actually has the oldest continuously used synagogue in all of the Americas,” Sennett said. “So it's very exciting, and they're trying to really expand their museum and get a much broader audience.”

Through working on the museum’s website and completing a research project of her choice, Sennett will get a taste of what working in museums is like. After she completes her master’s degree in anthropology at Penn State, she plans to build upon her summer museum experience — preferably working as a museum educator.

“I'm very excited to learn more about the Jewish community [and] get involved in whatever way I can. I definitely think I want to expand my horizon in terms of Jewish history in general because I know a lot in terms of American history, as well as around the Holocaust in Europe,” Sennett said. “I know a lot of people came from the Spanish Inquisition into Curaçao and then kind of pivoted off there.”

Though her summer internship will be primarily virtual, Sennett will likely visit Curaçao for at least a few weeks. Even while working remotely, Sennett said the position will provide her the opportunity to combine skills learned from her liberal arts education and previous internships.

“I think the one thing that I love about the College of the Liberal Arts is really just the flexibility and the adaptability you learn from your different classes,” Sennett said.

Sennett has already had education abroad experiences through her embedded program in Paris, as well as a summer in northern Israel. And her adventurous spirit doesn’t stop in Curaçao: She hopes to complete a full semester abroad during spring 2022.

“I'm really just grateful for everything that the [College of the Liberal Arts] has provided for me,” Sennett said. “I think it provides students with so many amazing career and professional development opportunities that I don't think I could get anywhere else.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 09, 2021