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Alex McCarthy

Alex McCarthy

REAL Internship Propels SCU Alumnus Toward Prestigious Fellowship

Alex McCarty ‘18 obtains Thomas Cole Fellowship, post-graduation

Alex McCarty ‘18 obtains Thomas Cole Fellowship, post-graduation

By Isabelle Jia ‘22 and Riley O’Connell ‘19

Thanks to the REAL program at SCU, alumnus Alex McCarty ‘18 (Art History), a former CIVA intern at the San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) has been selected as one of four fellows by the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, NY, following his internship at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum last fall. The Thomas Cole National Historic Site is dedicated to preserving the home of Thomas Cole, founder of the nation’s first art movement, the Hudson River School of painting.

McCarty will be working on a large research project, based on what is worked out between him and the curator. A major accomplishment for McCarty, who hopes to someday receive his Master’s in Art History or Museum Studies/Curatorial Practice, the fellowship will make him well-poised to compete for a spot in the most selective graduate programs. 

Saying he “cannot overemphasize the role of SCU, particularly the Department of Art & Art History and the REAL program,” in his postgrad success, McCarty has always had a passion to work within art history, an “inherently cross-disciplinary” field which he says would have been inaccessible to him had it not been for the REAL program’s living stipend and work experience at SJMA. Thanks to McCarty’s hard work raising funds for the museum’s annual gala, he claims that “SJMA's 2018 Wonder Ball gala was the most successful event in the museum's fifty-year history.”

After his fellowship ends, McCarty hopes to “emerge with a sense of where my intellectual home is and what I can offer to the world” as he believes art history to be a “window to the past that...helps us to understand and contextualize our own experiences.” While he does not have a concrete idea of what is next, McCarty says his top priority is to “continue fueling my curiosity.”

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. 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. For more information about the REAL Program, please visit or email


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