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Jillian Schwab '24

Jillian Schwab

Jillian Schwab '24

  • Hometown: Avon, Ohio
  • Class: 2024
  • Majors: Anthropology
  • Minor: Archaeology; Fashion; Museums and Society
  • Other Activities:
    • Miami University Fencing Club
    • Miami University Anthropology Club
    • Miami University Fashion and Design
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Miami has a lot of opportunities, and they are not hidden. College really is what you make of it, but coming here sets you up with options that are uncommon to find at other schools.
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Jillian Schwab, Advice to Perspective Students

Why Miami?

I ultimately chose Miami because of the opportunities available for me in my fields of interest. My main draw was the 3D scanning program with the Anthropology Department. It was something I had never seen done before, and I realized that the applications were numerous and really interesting to me, in terms of preservation and accessibility.

How did you choose your major?

I realized I wanted to follow an anthropology/archaeology/museum studies path in high school. At the time, I was leaning more toward archaeology, and through my research found that the best major for archaeologists was anthropology. Going into college, I also knew that I wanted to explore museum studies. The biggest discovery was my fashion minor. I began studying and exploring fashion history during the 2020 lockdown, and it became my primary area of interest. After encouragement from Dr. Hay-Rollins (the anthropology department chair), I decided to add on the minor and grow my understanding of fashion.

Key Moment at Miami

The primary professor I have to thank for so many of the opportunities I've had is Dr. Jeb J Card. I came into the department with a mission to learn about 3D scanning and was told he was the person to talk to, and he's since been the adviser for many of my endeavors. I feel incredibly honored and fortunate to have an advisor who sees so much in me and encourages my goals.

Other Notable Experience

While a student at Miami University, I've had the incredible opportunity to work in multiple collection areas, as well as independently follow my own research, and my experiences led me to an impactful summer internship that I would never have found myself in otherwise.

The first collection area I work with is the Miami University Anthropology Department. I joined the student collection management team the spring of my freshmen year with the intention of learning how to 3D scan artifacts with the department's 3D structured light scanner and laser scanner. My sophomore year (F22-S23), I applied to a textile fellowship at the Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum, and will be concluding my work with the significant textile collection this fall (2023). Much of my work have involved inventories, rehousing, and general collections care. I've been an Undergraduate Associate for the ATH212: Archaeological Theory and Methods for the same amount of time, teaching students how to use the department's 3D scanning equipment, and talking about the importance of 3D digitization.

I worked on an independent study to figure out the provenience of a charismatic artifact in the Anthropology Department's collection and was successful in identifying its culture of origin based on material and art style. Currently, I am working on my senior honors thesis, which is focusing on the relationship between women's structured garments (corsets, crinolines, bustles) and feminism during first wave feminism in the mid- to late 19th century. My research has taken me to primary sources such as fashion plates, political cartoons, advertisements, and written documents such as journals and magazines. My research also took me to New York City by means of grant funding, and I visited multiple museums to explore American women's history and find examples of these garments in person.

I participated in a six-week study abroad program during summer 2023. The program was called Literary London, and it was absolutely incredible. I'd been dying to go to London and visit the museums, and this trip really gave me the chance to explore the city. In all, I visited over 10 museums between the 6 weeks, and managed to fit in a day trip to Bath, which was incredible. The best thing about London, though? Public transportation. It was easy to navigate the city as a pedestrian, and the Tube was a convenient way to get out and explore.

The same summer, post-study abroad, I had an internship at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, working with the Digital and Vertebrate Paleontology departments to 3D scan micro arthrodire jaws to monitor pyrite disease. While I was there, my attentions expanding to include researching dental morphology in these small fossils, and I will hopefully be publishing my results about its relationship to speciation soon. Working with fossils was something I had not done previously, but my experience with 3D scanning and collections work prepared me more than I could imagine for the role.

Advice to Prospective Students

Miami has a lot of opportunities, and they are not hidden. College really is what you make of it, but coming here sets you up with options that are uncommon to find at other schools.

What are your career goals?  

After graduation, I'm taking gap years to hopefully work at a museum or library. Afterwards, I'm applying to grad school - my top pick is FIT! - to study fashion and textile history with the goal of working in museum textile collections.