Adrienne Spinozzi '01Research Associate, American Wing, The Metropolitian Museum of Art, New York, NY
Adrienne Spinozzi '01 draws frequent parallels among her Fulbright experience, her Hartwick education, and her career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Keeping an open mind and an inquisitive attitude top the list.
Spinozzi remembers well that her quest for experiential learning and self-guided exploration is what compelled her to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship in South Korea. "I recognize that these ideas still resonate with me today," she says. "One of the great strengths of the Fulbright program is that each experience is informed by the individual; it's up to the scholar to engage and explore and connect. Having had that kind of experience transforms the way you approach new challenges or the unknown."
Already inclined toward a challenge, Spinozzi spent her junior year living and studying in Bali, Indonesia, through a program with the School for International Training. "Living with a home-stay family and studying traditional Balinese crafts and culture was incredibly rewarding and stimulating," says this art history major.
Whether in Indonesia, South Korea, or the United States, Spinozzi found the lessons learned to be highly transferable. "Regardless of where one studies, the fundamentals are the same – connecting to people, adapting to your environment, embracing the unfamiliar – all things that will serve you well no matter what you do.
Making connections: it's a Hartwick mainstay. "The curriculum at Hartwick encourages both exploration and interdisciplinary collaboration, and the size of the classes and the professors who teach there all contribute to this rich experience," she says. "I think the ultimate goal of this exposure is to find where you fit, how you can contribute,where you can make a difference in whatever you do.
"Spinozzi is quick to identify three individuals who made a difference to her. A Hartwick lacrosse captain, she cites Coach Anna Meyer, saying, "I continue to strive toward the qualities she instilled in her athletes: perseverance, strong work ethic, leadership, and teamwork." Professor of Art History Betsey Ayer "encouraged a broad way of thinking about the world through objects, of accessing history through objects. Exposure to this way of thinking had a tremendous influence on what I would eventually pursue in graduate school – the history of design, decorative arts, and material culture." (She earned a Master's degree in Design History from Bard College.) "I often think back on my ceramics classes with Roberta Griffith, who both encouraged and challenged her students," Spinozzi adds. "Those studio classes were so important in my understanding of clay and its materiality."
Spinozzi has found her place among the ceramics of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Objects are manifestations of people and they can tell us quite a bit about the time and culture in which they were made. At any given time I am researching technological developments, social and historical contexts, and stylistic and artistic impulses, with the overarching questions of what these objects mean to us today and why we should care," she says of her work as a researcher of American ceramics and glass. "The study of objects and material culture requires an inquisitive approach across a broad spectrum of disciplines. It's a continuation of my liberal arts education."