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ASU starts partnership with Smithsonian to get more Latino representation in museums

Students get to work with prestigious museums
ASU
Posted at 4:00 AM, Oct 11, 2022

TEMPE, AZ — It's a dream internship in our nation's capitol that ASU senior Ruby Maderafont didn't even know was within reach.

"Being able to actually work here is a bit surreal!" explains Ruby.

Ruby is one of eight ASU students this semester getting a once-in-a-lifetime chance in DC. It's all part of a special partnership between the Herberger Institute at ASU and the Smithsonian - and there's a bigger goal in mind.

"There has always been this sense that Latinos go where they see themselves represented, and we haven't always seen ourselves or at least seen ourselves represented fully in the museum world," explains Marcos Voss with the Herberger Institute at ASU. Voss hopes that changes through the ASU Latino Museum Studies program.

It's a chance for Hispanic students, just like Ruby, to spend 10 weeks in our nation's capitol, working at some of the world's most famous museums.

"I try to tell them at least once a week how excited I am for them, how I wish this was around when I was an undergrad and that they should take every opportunity they can to explore and bring their authentic self to the table."

And for Ruby, the opportunity means even more.

"With this opportunity, I find more confidence that I have this experience and I have the skills to back it up especially now that I have this internship to move forward in this field otherwise I wouldn't feel like I belong," Ruby explains.

Ruby also identifies as queer - seeing people who look like them, know their background, and know where they're coming from is paving the way for more dreams to come true.

"Oftentimes, we aren't able to see ourselves in a certain position or we place certain obstacles like self-doubt or imposter syndrome because we don't see ourselves in what we aspire to be. I think seeing that representation allows for a sense of belonging in a space so definitely that is what this experience is bringing to me because I've struggled with that self-doubt before."

ASU says they will recruit another round starting in Spring 2023 to go to DC in Fall 2023.