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updated: 3/13/2014 11:28 AM

Naper Settlement picks NIU student for internship

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  • Karissa Kessen, a junior at Northern Illinois University, has been selected for the 2014 Powell Museum Studies internship.

    Karissa Kessen, a junior at Northern Illinois University, has been selected for the 2014 Powell Museum Studies internship.
    Courtesy of Naper Settlement

By Donna DeFalco
Naper Settlement

Karissa Kessen, a junior at Northern Illinois University, is the recipient of Naper Settlement's Powell Museum Studies internship for 2014.

The 16-week internship from January through April offers practical museum training experience to individuals interested in pursuing a career in the museum field.

Kessen is majoring in history with a minor in anthropology and is in the university honors program. She first volunteered at the NIU Anthropology Museum in 2012 to help with its collections move to the museum's new location, and became the first undergraduate collections assistant hired at the museum in January 2013.

"We are thrilled to have found such a qualified and enthusiastic intern candidate in Karissa," Naper Settlement's Chief Curator Louise Howard said. "She is fully embracing the internship opportunity and jumping right in with great passion to help the museum with many different curatorial and learning experience projects. "

During her internship at Naper Settlement, Kessen will work with two departments, Curatorial and Learning Experiences, to gain general knowledge and a broad experience of how the two departments function within the context of a major museum. She is cataloging objects for the Curatorial Department and will be installing an exhibit at Naperville Bank and Trust.

She is helping the Learning Experiences Department with School's Out programs, Camp Naper summer day camps and a social media project.

"I never thought I'd have this opportunity to not only expand my knowledge of collections management, but to also learn about education in a museum environment," Kessen said. "I see this internship as being a cornerstone to my museum education." 

The John K. and Judith H. Powell Museum Studies Internship was established in 2012 and offers a $500 stipend to the recipient. The late Jack Powell was president of the Naperville Heritage Society from 1980 to 1982 and Judy Powell is a member of the Weed Ladies volunteer floral design group.

"Karissa impressed us with her passion for museum work," Naper Settlement Director of Organizational Resources Josh Chartier said. "She exemplifies the qualifications that Judy Powell stipulated for the internship."

Naper Settlement is a nationally recognized, award-winning outdoor museum set on 12 acres in the heart of Naperville at 523 S. Webster St. For details, visit or call (630) 420-6010.