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Rome Center offers unique research opportunity

Theresa at the Ara Pacis Museum

During her sophomore year study abroad, Theresa Maloney fell in love – with Rome, art history, and the UW Rome Center itself.  When she returned to Seattle, she immediately began preparing to apply for the Rome Center Intern position.  The internship allows one exceptional undergraduate to live at the Rome Center for a year, conduct in-depth research, and gain professional experience in student affairs, facilities management, and administrative work.

Theresa prepared for the competitive internship position by taking additional Italian language courses, delving deeper into her art history studies, and seeking out faculty mentors who could help her design research proposals. “It’s important to find [faculty] who will support you in your research,” she advises, “you need to be serious and work with advisers and professors to develop a feasible project.” Her hard work paid off, and she was selected as the Rome Center Intern.

Theresa visits Piazza Navona with fellow UW students
Theresa visits Piazza Navona with fellow UW students

While in Rome, Theresa engaged in two research projects.  The first examined the appearance of women in Renaissance portraiture.  In particular, she focused on a painting by Lorenzo Lotto and wrote a paper outlining increasingly dynamic roles of women during the course of the Renaissance.  Her second research project focused on Rome’s Baroque Fountain of the Moor, in which she explored the choices made by Bernini to connect the fountain with aesthetic traditions and political histories of the city while establishing unity within the newly redeveloped public space of Piazza Navona.

Theresa at the Rome Center's Thanksgiving dinner
Theresa at the Rome Center’s Thanksgiving dinner – she baked the pies!

When not engaged in academic work, Theresa was busy with a variety of duties at the Rome Center.  The intern serves as the administrative point person for students and faculty at the Rome Center.  “I didn’t realize that it took so much paperwork to get students to Rome!” she says.  The intern position also “can be lonely”, Theresa explains, “because you’re in between – not a student and not a faculty member.”  However, professors at the Rome Center made her feel right at home, supporting her research activities and including her in class excursions.  She also worked to connect with the local community, taking yoga classes in Italian and joining a gym.

Now back in Seattle, Theresa plans to explore a career path in the field of international education.  “Before my time as the Rome Center intern, I saw [study abroad] from the student side,” she says.  “Now, I can also see things from the faculty and administrative perspective.  I gained so much from the internship – independence, language skills…  I approach things in a new way.”