Recent SCU Alumna Gets REAL About Her Work at the Triton Museum
Athena Snyder ‘18 takes art world by storm thanks to the REAL program.
By Julia Joyce '19
For most SCU students, summer plans include an internship to gain valuable, resume-worthy work experience and a better idea of what field to pursue in their post-grad lives. During the summer of 2018, Athena Snyder '18 (Art History and Economics) accomplished both these goals through her work at the Triton Museum, where she now splits her time with the San Jose Museum of Art.
A San Diego native, Snyder knew that staying in the Bay Area for the summer would require a well-paid internship, a concept not often found in the art world. Luckily, she found the REAL program within SCU’s College of Arts and Sciences and was able to receive a stipend that underwrote her work at the Triton.
"Through [the REAL program], I was able to connect and make contacts and really build my network, so when I was applying to jobs… it got me in the door." In fact, it did more than just get her foot in the door—Snyder's summer REAL internship at the Triton is what helped her land her current positions at the Triton and the San Jose Museum of Art.
Snyder also had her double major to thank for her preparedness for both the internship and now full-time work. Her combined studies in Studio Art and Economics offered Snyder a unique background: "My cross-disciplinary studies were really helpful. Both of my majors were very analytical—one qualitative, one quantitative. Being able to read and create data, [skills I learned through] my economics degree, helped me stand out in the art world. Additionally skills like reading databases and spreadsheets were extremely useful for curatorial projects." Snyder's work extended beyond curatorial responsibilities though, allowing for in-depth work on a grant proposal that won the museum crucial funding.
The Triton, which Snyder describes as “a smaller museum” with “a certain energy to it,” is located just a few miles from campus and boasts free admission. “You're able to have a personal connection with the art pieces,” says Snyder. “It's a warm and welcoming place."
About the REAL Program
The College of Arts and Sciences developed the REAL Program to allow students to discover their interests, gain a rich understanding of a particular field, discern their career goals, and explore future employment fields. We believe financial means should not determine whether or not a student can participate in internships, research, or creative works opportunities. Committed to providing paid experiential learning opportunities for students, the REAL Program provides stipends up to $5,000 for undergraduate opportunities lasting up to 10 weeks over the summer. In 2018, its first year, the REAL Program distributed $550,000 to over 125 students and plans to distribute nearly $1,000,000 to 200 students in 2019.