Tomb transferred to Winona State in search of a smaller university that was closer to home. She soon discovered dual passions and declared a double major in Studio Art and History, with a minor in Art History. Her skill and commitment led her to be named the Outstanding Student by both the Art and History departments in her final semester at WSU.
During her time at WSU, Tomb took advantage of the opportunity to get hands-on experience on campus, completing a two-year internship in WSU’s Watkins Gallery.
“I think the thing that most prepared me for my future job was my internship with the Watkins Gallery,” says Tomb. “I was constantly in communication with artists, and learning how to take care of art and put together a show in a gallery.”
Through her work at WSU, Tomb became connected with another internship at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and she also had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Jill Ahlberg Yohe, the Associate Curator of Native American Art at Mia.
“I made so many important connections and learned many valuable things during that internship,” Tomb says. “I would have never found all of the internships and extracurricular academic opportunities I have participated in if it wasn’t for my being at WSU.”
In Fall 2018, Tomb had the extraordinary opportunity to curate the Two Spirit Indigenous artists show in Watkins Gallery. The two-year process included reaching out to the Minnesota Two-Spirit Society in Minneapolis and searching for artists, as well as working on logistics with Watkins Gallery Coordinator Roger Boulay and Dr. Colette Hyman, Professor of History.
Tomb’s level of sophistication and vision is virtually unheard of at the undergraduate level, according to Boulay.
“Curating an exhibition like this is something only a few graduate students at an elite program could accomplish,” says Boulay. “It is hard to overstate what an accomplishment this is.”
Dr. Hyman, who served as an academic mentor for Tomb, describes her as the epitome of an exceptional student.
“We have a lot of wonderful students at WSU, and Emma brings together all of the strengths we look for in a student,” Dr. Hyman explains. “She has an internal drive to learn, understand, analyze, and explain, and she has been able to develop (those strengths) in all of the ways that are important for the history department, a liberal arts degree, or an education in general.”
According to Tomb, one of the most important life lessons she learned at Winona State is that education is necessary to be successful in life.
“WSU has really helped me realize what my goals are and how to achieve them,” says Tomb. “Winona saw me through some major transitions in my life, and I have been able to find help and support for every challenge I have faced, in academics or otherwise.”
“I came to WSU on a whim and stayed because it became the foundation of my education and developing my future.”
Read more about the achievements of our recent Winona State University alumni at: https://news.winona.edu/category/commencement/
For more information on WSU Commencement, visit: https://www.winona.edu/graduation/commencement.asp
About Winona State University
Founded in 1858, Winona State University is a comprehensive, regional public university with approximately 8,000 students on campuses in Winona and Rochester. The oldest member of the Minnesota State system, WSU offers more than 80 undergraduate, pre-professional, licensure, graduate and doctorate programs in five colleges: Business, Education, Liberal Arts, Nursing & Health Sciences, and Science & Engineering. Winona State is ranked as the second public institution in Minnesota by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges,” has been named among the “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review for 15 years in a row, and has been featured as one of America’s 100 Best College Buys for quality and value for 23 consecutive years. The University generates $447.9 Million in economic impact for the region per year. The University’s mission is to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic vitality of the people and communities we serve: a community of learners improving our world. For more information, visit winona.edu.