Read Laura’s interview from 2017 here. At the time, Laura was working for the High Museum's Member Programs department. She’s now the Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement & Annual Giving at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta.
DeacLink: What did you study at Wake? How has your career unfolded since?
Laura Jurotich: I double majored in History and Art History. I knew that I wanted to be a History major after taking APUSH in high school, but I didn’t take my first Art History class until my sophomore year. I was hooked... and fell in love.
DL: Would you mind telling me more about the High?
LJ: The High Museum of Art is the leading art museum in the Southeast. We’re situated in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, and we are fortunate to be located on a MARTA stop in such a great part of town. Our Richard Meier and Renzo Piano designed building is a work of art in and of itself.
DL: How much did your time at Wake inform your career path?
LJ: My time at Wake greatly informed my career path by allowing me to make connections with Art department alumni. I completed a slew of informational interviews my senior year that showed me that what I thought my post-grad plans should be did not align with what was best for me in actuality.
DL: How have you found the different jobs you've had?
LJ: I was an intern in the Marketing and Public Relations department at the High the summer before my junior year, and I kept in touch with my intern supervisors over the following two years. I constantly checked the High’s website for job postings, and I saw an entry level position in the Development department as the Membership Assistant. I let my former supervisors know that I was applying, and that nudge in addition to my internship experience helped me stand out in the applicant pool. I spent a year in the Membership Assistant position, and then the Assistant Manager of Member Programs position became available. I expressed interest in the position to my manager, and I applied and was offered the position.
DL: Non-curatorial roles at museums seem to be a popular career option for art alums. How did you make the transition, and what is the hardest part about breaking into this field?
LJ: My summer internships were in Marketing and Visitor Experience departments, so I started out in non-curatorial fields. Thus, I did not have to make a transition per say. Most of my Development colleagues did not study Art History, and while I personally believe that it makes the work more enjoyable, it is not necessary for a successful career in Development. The hardest part about breaking into Development is showcasing your willingness and eagerness to steward donors and cultivate new ones.
DL: How do you like living in Atlanta? What advice do you have for students considering pursuing a career outside one of the “major” art hubs?
LJ: I absolutely love living in Atlanta! I love how Atlanta is comprised of a series of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own vibe and containing a unique set of cultural offerings. I live on the BeltLine, and I find so much joy in walking outside my door to enjoy the public art, people watching, and excellent restaurants.
I would advise students considering pursuing a career outside one of the “major” art hubs to get to dig a little deeper and research the local arts scene; a city does not have to be New York City in order to have a vibrant arts culture.
DL: What do you think Wake arts could do to better prepare students for life after graduation?
LJ: I think that Wake arts could dedicate more time to discussing how to apply an Art degree to a career. I sought a counselor in the OPCD to help me make museum connections and figure out how to best use my WFU network. It would have been helpful if the Art majors were talked to more as a group about how potential careers in the arts in settings that were open to all students in the major, not just in special trip settings.