During her time as an English major at Georgian Court, Caroline Zonis ‘21 served as a member of the National English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, and presented her literary scholarship at multiple academic conferences.
While her tenure at Georgian Court was rife with accomplishments, Caroline’s post-college career has perhaps been even more remarkable. Since graduating in May 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree in English, Caroline went on to secure a competitive internship with the Met Cloisters as one of 50 interns out of a group of 2,000+ applicants. She has since obtained a full-time position with the New York Public Library, working closely with archivists, curators, and donors to manage the library’s extraordinary collection.
We sat down with Caroline to learn more about her experiences at Georgian Court and how they have inspired her to achieve such remarkable success within a few short years of graduating.
Can you tell us about your experience at Georgian Court?
I completed my Associate’s degree at Brookdale Community College before transferring to Georgian Court through the two schools’ long-standing partnership. I took classes at Georgian Court’s satellite campus, which has the same professors and courses as their main Lakewood campus.
In the two years that I spent at Georgian Court, I produced more academic work, challenged myself, and received more career insight than I had throughout my entire life.
During my time at the university, I received extraordinary guidance and dedication from my professors, particularly Dr. Anthony Brano, Dr. Pamela Rader, and Dr. Russell McDonald. They were there for me with every career move or question that I had, and they paid attention to the fields of study that I cared about and the type of work that I put in. Most of all, they truly cared about where I ended up.
In short: my experience at Georgian Court was fabulous.
What led you to pursue an internship at the Met Cloisters?
During my senior year at Georgian Court, I questioned what I should do next. I was still determining whether I should follow a traditional career path for English majors or move in a different direction.
Drs. Brano, Rader, and McDonald provided clear, helpful advice based on their knowledge of my background and interests. Dr. Brano further suggested that I consider a career in museum archives, which would involve working at the intersection of academia and research. I had never considered it before and had no idea how it would work, so I dove into the field.
While researching museum archival internships, I discovered that the Metropolitan Museum of Art admits summer interns each year. After sharing the revelation with my professors, all three wrote letters of recommendation on my behalf—and in April of 2022, I learned that I had secured a coveted internship with the Met Cloisters, working in their library and archives. I credit Drs. Brano, Rader, and McDonald for making it possible.
I don’t know what my professors said about me in their letters of recommendation. Still, based on the fact that I received such a competitive internship, I suspect they were overwhelmingly positive!
What was it like to work at the Met Cloisters?
It was a fascinating experience, and the people I worked with at the Met Cloisters were so kind. For example, they allowed me to connect with a variety of departments so that I could learn about different aspects of museum work.
I felt lucky, shocked, and grateful for the experience throughout my time at the Met Cloisters.
How did you find yourself working at the New York Public Library?
My internship at the Cloisters was initially scheduled to run from June to August 2022. Thankfully, I received an extension which allowed me to work until December, adding to the wonderful experience.
Towards the end of my internship, I started applying for full-time positions in other museums and libraries. I ultimately received a full-time offer with the New York Public Library as a Collections Management Assistant.
What is your role at the New York Public Library?
As a Collections Management Assistant, I work closely with archives, curators, and donors to ensure everything is in the right place and protected for researchers who want to access it in the future.
Have you come across anything interesting in the library archives?
During my time at NYPL, I have been fortunate enough to access and read Walt Whitman’s papers, William Carlos Williams’ writings, Maya Angelou’s collection, and Tennessee Williams’ plays. I feel so lucky, and I don’t know how it happened.
Is there anything else we should know?
I want to emphasize how cared for I felt at Georgian Court. I always knew that I had access to my professors, that I wasn’t bothering them, and that they would be happy to answer my questions and address my concerns.
Every time I opted to try something new, my professors were eager to help me and provide input. They challenged me, pushed me to new heights, and instilled confidence in me.