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Roads Taken and Not Taken: E.D. (Tully) Rambo ’93

When I started Haverford, I wanted to be a doctor.  I loved science, and the prospect of discovering and fixing what was wrong with people intrigued me.  This interest lasted approximately half way through freshman year organic chemistry.  Luckily, the waning of my medical ambitions mirrored a budding interest in my Introduction to Art History course.  I became an art history major, interned at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and thought seriously about teaching and an academic career.

After graduation, the need for self-sufficiency (and the realities of graduate school and getting tenure) appeared too daunting, and, once again, my wandering career eye cast about, this time for an entry level position that might provide insight into careers that could provide a steady income and a degree of job satisfaction.  After stints as a receptionist at a law firm (nope, thanks though) and an administrative assistant at the U.S. Agency for International Development (ditto), and after watching a best friend leave her promising career to take a leap of faith and start medical school, it was time to make some hard decisions.

I wasn’t happy with where I was, but I had learned several things.  First, I missed the arts, and second, I didn’t want a job where I had to wear panty hose.  I realized that I had previously stumbled upon the career for me.  During one of my summer museum internships while at Haverford, I had been sent to the conservation laboratory to polish silver.  I had disloyally thought that what they were doing seemed so much more interesting than what I was doing down in the curatorial department.

Art conservation combined science and art, it was dynamic: a steady diet of new challenges with each piece of art, and I didn’t have to wear panty hose unless I wanted to.  Newly motivated and focused, I felt ready to overcome some of the obstacles that I had avoided in the past.  I buckled down, retook chemistry and organic chemistry, got internships with conservators, took my prerequisites and headed off to graduate school.  And here I am, 15 years out from that uncertain Haverford freshman, diagnosing the problem and fixing it, a doctor after all, just for artifacts, not people.

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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