Rebecca Erbelding

Erbelding Photo 3-my pickRebecca Erbelding

Position/title: Archivist/Curator at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Thesis: “Assignment: Rescue,” about the rescue efforts of Varian Fry and the Emergency Rescue Committee in France, 1940-1941.

Graduated: 2003

It’s hard to overstate the value of the skills I learned as a History/American Studies major at Mary Washington (I was a double major).  Chief among them, I think, was confidence.  By the time I was a junior, I was confident enough to apply for an internship at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Within a year, I had a full time job there and curatorial responsibilities—meeting with donors and accepting new collections on behalf of the Museum.  I still do that work today, 11 years later, but I’ve published, curated several Museum’s calendars, run a curator public lecture series, been featured in the New Yorker, given speeches all over the country, and worked with some of the top historians in my field. I’m also graduating this year with my PhD in history.  Mary Washington gave me the skill set I needed—to learn to tell a story, to speak to large groups, to thoroughly research a topic—to make me confident enough to seize all of these opportunities.