A summer in the Smithsonian


It’s a popular summer destination for tourists, but for one recent Bloomsburg University graduate it was simply the next step of her career pursuit.

Keara Drummer, a graduate student pursuing her masters in biology, is no stranger to museums and paleontology studies. During her time as an undergraduate at Bloomsburg University, she interned with the American Museum of Natural History where she had the opportunity to work with Invertebrate Paleontology Collections. This summer at the Smithsonian, she had the opportunity to build upon her pre-existing knowledge.

“My first internship was what I’ve been doing as an undergraduate collections assistant,” Drummer said. “The second internship was to get new skills in collections management. Conservation is inherently a large part of taking care of collections. Therefore, a set of skills I most definitely need to be a successful museum collections manager somewhere.”

Under the instruction of conservation specialist, Cathy Hawk, Drummer spent this past summer as a conservation intern working with a variety of specimen types including the new t-rex exhibit.

“My favorite experience was helping with the photo documentation of the new “Nation’s T rex” for the new Deep Time fossil hall exhibit coming summer 2019,” Drummer said. “I got to hold and touch a Tyrannosaurus Rex and work and learn from one of the most influential natural history conservators in the world, Cathy Hawks.”

According to Drummer, the insight she gained this summer will carry into her graduate studies and potentially her future career.

“The knowledge gained about NMNH (National Museum of Natural History) itself and the conservations and collections skills I’ve learned and the networking I did this past summer is something I am thankful for every day,” she said. “I learned a lot about wet specimen and their care/needs. I am bringing that knowledge back to Bloom for their Biological Teaching Collections and the Paleontology Teaching Collections.”

Although most of her summers were spent working with paleontology, Drummer plans to focus on her degree in biology.

“I never wanted to go into paleontology specifically, but I wanted to work with collections of any variety,” Drummer stated. “I want to become a museum collections manager, scientist, specialist, etc. I like paleontology, but I’m at Bloom still to obtain a MS in Biology to make myself more marketable for other natural history collections (ornithology, entomology, invertebrate zoology, mammals, Invertebrate paleontology, vertebrate paleontology, etc).Who knows, maybe I’ll end up as a paleontology collections manager? But, I’m just going where the wind takes me. I’m pretty open to any genre of natural history if it includes caring for a collection.”