by ambassadors: Elizabeth Clappin (MFA –Architectural History) and Stephanie Heher (MFA Candidate – Historic Preservation)
It was a small group of student ambassadors from the Savannah College of Art and Design at the annual VAF conference but the experience was a very fruitful and enjoyable one nonetheless. Though the two of us attended the same tours, Piedmont Patchwork and Durham: City of the New South when the groups met at the end of the day we were able to share stories and learn about the highlights of the other tours we missed out on. As the focus of both our graduate work is American vernacular architecture it was perfectly suited to giving us both a taste of our specialties in a new setting. Perhaps the factor that stood out the most for both of us was the fact that as student ambassadors there was no barrier or distinction made to separate us from the group. We were openly and warmly accepted as members of an academic community, which personally leads us to desire to continue to work with the VAF for years to come. Graduate school often looks at the field abstractly however the opportunity to see just how many ways people are working towards documenting and preserving our architectural heritage made us only want to work as part of this community more. If we had to pick a favorite spot, the Palmer Institute was incredible and the director a fantastic guide though we would have loved more time there! The diversity of talks allowed us to split up and attend lectures based on our own areas of study and the student chapter meeting was an excellent chance to network. Elizabeth was able to make connections that lead to a new job in Philadelphia starting this month.