MALS Career Spotlight: Lori Townsend

belltower behind trees

What is your current position? What do you enjoy most about your current position? What do you find most challenging?

MALS Alumni
Lori Townsend

My current position is Environmental Review Assistant with the State Historic Preservation Office. I enjoy continuing to learn the ins-and-outs of the field in a new setting. One challenging aspect is endeavoring to find an adaptable and effective system for record-keeping as documents and archive material continue to transition from paper to digital.

What is a typical work day like for you?

A typical day could take many forms. I could be evaluating environmental review reports, spending hours researching in the archives room, using GIS to verify historical resources across the state, or creating educational tools. 

How did the MALS program at NC State prepare you for your current position?

 The MALS program prepared me for my current position by teaching me to examine problems from an interdisciplinary perspective. From this, I learned how to analyze issues in the field in innovative ways. During the program, I also completed an internship with the Historic Preservation Department in Wake Forest, where I met additional mentors and career contacts in my desired profession. This, in turn, influenced my MALS culminating project. With the unique creative freedom offered by the MALS program, I designed an applied project around my concentration that enabled me to gain practical experience collaborating with organizations and agencies I had an interest in working with. Upon graduation, I also had tangible work in my desired career field to showcase during interviews helping land my current position. Lori’s Culminating Project.

What was your favorite part of the MALS program?

My favorite aspect of the program was working with professors in multiple departments who all have their own structure and method for research. Moreover, being able to curate the program to specifically meet my interest, which in turn also provided me with a unique background after graduation. 

What advice do you have for students considering a career in your field?

I would tell future students there is no cookie-cutter mold for working in historic preservation. Make yourself adaptable and explore your interest.

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