Bea Jarocha-Ernst, Membership
What do you do at the Penn Museum?
My official title is Administrative Assistant for Membership and Annual Giving which means I do a lot of processing and acknowledging of gifts as well as membership renewals, but it really doesn’t tell all. I also work with our Young Friends Board to host young professional events at the Museum and my current pet project is the Adopt an Artifact Program.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I work with a lot of paper so the people are what really make my job fun and interesting. My colleagues at the Museum, as well as our volunteer Young Friends Board and our members, make each day exciting.
How did you begin working at the Museum?
I studied Evolutionary Anthropology at Rutgers University, but I was unsure of what to do after graduation. I knew I wasn’t ready to go into a Ph.D. since I didn’t really want to study and teach for the rest of my life. I looked for positions at universities that would allow me to work and take classes to figure out what I wanted to do next. Penn Museum has been the perfect fit since I love archaeology and anthropology and I have the opportunity to take classes and learn fantastic skills that translate into a variety of jobs.
What would the title of your autobiography be?
My bad habits include mumbling and never being able to make simple decisions, including a career choice so I think I’d title it something like: Bea Decisive You Mumbling Fool. I can just see the book clubs lining up now!
What previous jobs have you removed from your resume?
I don’t have many to spare, but I’ve never included the 2 week stint of waitressing at a Sicilian brick oven pizza place. The other two jobs I was holding at the same time, Archaeological Field Technician (aka shovel bum) and Outreach and Visitor Services Coordinator at Rutgers Campus Info, are far more interesting and trump slinging pizzas.
What do you do for fun?
I used to ride horses, but center city Philadelphia makes that a little tough. Instead I fill my spare time with baking and cooking. To counteract the calories of delicious baked goods, I play softball with the MuseumRocks (Museum and Geology department in the Penn staff league), play with my dog, hike, camp and garden. I am also an avid Philadelphia sports fan and a Rutgers Football season ticket holder which keeps me busy in the fall months.
What is your favorite object in the Museum?
This is really hard since I feel like I haven’t seen them all. I am partial to horse motifs so I am going to go with Emperor Taizong’s Horses. The amazing craftsmanship gives each horse personality and I like a guy who liked his horses enough to have them carved in stone for his tomb.
What would you do if you weren’t an Administrative Assistant in Membership and Annual Giving?
I am studying law, policy and ethics in relation to cultural heritage so my current (see previous note about indecisiveness) dream is an art crimes FBI agent.
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