STELLAR Student profile: Mariah Huelsmann

From ceramic pigs and nutcrackers to antique China dolls, freshman anthropology major Mariah Huelsmann has always been interested in collecting objects, which she considers a logical beginning for her interest in anthropology.

Freshman anthropology major Mariah Huelsmann was one of 10 students selected to receive the College of Arts and Science's STELLAR Student award. The award recognizes high achieving students from various departments in the college. Photo courtesy of Huelsmann

Huelsmann, who was selected as a STELLAR Student, said she originally intended to study history, but received a letter from the anthropology department. The STELLAR Student award recognizes “some of the star student achievers” in the College of Arts and Sciences, according to the STELLAR website.

After talking with anthropology department chair Jen Rehg and being shown around the department, she decided anthropology provided opportunities for her end goal of becoming a museum curator.

“They were talking about all kinds of cultures and they were showing all the artifacts and how they focus on actual artifacts and in history it’s more ongoing of stories,” Huelsmann said, “and I’m really into objects and artifacts and [making] that curated exhibit, etcetera… I think people around the world are really interesting.”

Making steps toward a curator career, Huelsmann has volunteered at the Alton Museum of History and Art and hopes to volunteer at Cahokia Mounds this summer.

Huelsmann said her theater minor will also help as a museum curator because of the need to be “theatrical” and engage an audience. Her interest in theater stemmed from a play she has performed since she was eight years old at a yearly neighborhood party.

Huelsmann said receiving the STELLAR student award was “pretty cool.”

“I already had the Alumni Scholarship and my sister was actually a Meridian [Scholar], so it was cool,” Huelsmann said. “I definitely told everyone I won… I felt special and then meeting with everyone, I was like, ‘I’m like one of the only freshman…’”

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