An Interview with a Bates Alumnae: Abigail Abbott ’17


Hannah Palacios

Sure, it’s posted on the face of every Bates brochure; job outcomes after graduation from Bates College are near perfect. A staggering 99.5% of the class of 2017 reported being settled. But do we actually see this affect back on campus? In my experience, yes. I sat down with Abigail Abbott ’17, an Education Fellow at the Bates Museum to discuss just that.

Bates Student (BS): First, could you tell me a little about your position and how you came to land in it?

Abby Abbott (AA): As an Education Fellow at the Museum, I work with Anthony Shostak who is the Education Curator, and I help him with all the educational programming that we do here at the museum. I help him with all the outreach to local K-12 schools, for example at Auburn Middle School we go in and do week-long printmaking workshops, and we’ll also offer workshops throughout the school year here at Bates. That’s one part of my job, and then I also work on reaching out to Bates students. I am trying to figure out ways to get students more involved with and more aware of the Museum. We have done things like holding a paint night or printmaking workshops, in hopes that it will sort of ‘spread the word’ about what we offer here and how the Museum works for Bates students. I also manage the Museum’s Instagram account, and we will have professors bring in their classes to look at works from our permanent collection. There are many different facets to this position and things that I am kind of tapping into.

I came across this job…I think I might have seen it when I was applying for different positions my senior year. I figured it would be a good fit for me, a good post-Bates job (even though I’m still here), something to kind of transition from being a student to learning about the arts and learning about education and other jobs within a museum, and it has been very helpful thinking of what I want to do long-term.

BS: So when you came to Bates, what was your thinking for your career path?

AA: I did a lot of back and forth. When I first came to Bates I knew that I loved art, and then I took a few education classes and I really loved that, so I was thinking about ways to merge the two, but then I was also a psych major, and that also came into play. I was starting to lean more towards doing research about well-being and then I realized that art was my passion and I really enjoyed sharing that with other people, whether that was through teaching or producing my own art. I wanted to be in a position that allowed me to explore different opportunities in both fields. I am still struggling with figuring out what path I want to go down, but you never know what opportunities will arise so you just have to be open minded.

BS: Ok now a couple fun questions, what was your favorite class that you took as a student here?

AA: Oooh that’s tough there are so many! I have two favorites. One that led me down the route of education was “Perspectives on Education” with Mara (Prof. Mara Tieken), she’s an incredible teacher, and I learned a lot from her. The other one would be, I’m forgetting the exact name of it, but it is with Professor David Cummiskey, Philosophy of Health I think. That one was incredible because you learned about how different cultures approach health care and it’s so different from everything I was studying in art.

BS: Okay two more favorites, favorite work of art and favorite thing in Commons?

AA: Oh my gosh, I have so many. I feel like it always changes for me. A consistent favorite is Edgar Degas, some of his pastels are just incredible. The artist that I am working on an exhibition for right now, Dahlov Ipcar, is amazing too. She has these incredible paintings with geometric patterns and animals that she basically painted from her imagination. Commons…just everything. One of my favorite desserts is the chocolate no bake cookies — so good. I also love the nuggets that they do. Oh and I miss the omelet bar, I wish I could have that back in my life!