Centenary student lands prestigious summer internship
Centenary College rising senior Lea Hair will head to Washington, D.C., this summer to intern with the Museum Conservation Institute, a department of the Smithsonian.
Through the Analytical Studies Group Intern Program, Hair will use mass spectroscopy to analyze the degradation of proteins in proteinaceous samples from the museum collections.
The Analytical Studies Group Intern Program’s highly selective selection process heavily stresses research knowledge and experience and spots are usually reserved for graduate students. Hair, a chemistry major and visual culture minor, credits her research experience with Centenary faculty as a contributing factor in her acceptance.
“The research opportunities I regularly take part in at Centenary have catapulted me into this program,” said Hair. “I owe a specific debt to Dr. Brownholland for teaching us about mass spectrometry in organic chemistry and Dr. Lawrence for showing us how to use silica gel columns in lab.”
Passionate about both art and science, Hair hopes this internship will be a platform that will allow her to pursue a career in scientific conservation. In this field, she would perform tasks such as scientifically determining the age of artifacts, using lasers to remove accumulated grime on collection pieces, and analyzing paint samples.
“This field represents the synthesis of my two passions; it is the intersection between the art and history I have always loved and the science I have always studied,” said Hair.
The Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute is the center for specialized technical collections research and conservation for all Smithsonian museums, collections and research centers.