For Jeana K. Foley ’90, a full
scholarship to Transy meant freedom. “I could enjoy myself more,” she
said. “I didn’t feel like I was there for anyone else, for my parents, or to get
a job to pay them back or cover student loans. There was nothing external
motivating me other than my own interests and passions. It was a pure
educational experience that allowed me to follow what I excelled
Foley majored in English and took a minor in studio art, incorporating many art history courses into her curriculum. After graduating from Transy, she took more art history classes at the University of Kentucky and then earned a master’s degree in art history from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
An internship with the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., became a full-time job when the project on which Foley was working received funding for an exhibition. She helped produce a photography show featuring Civil War photographer Matthew Brady and had an essay included in the Smithsonian publication Mathew Brady and the Image of History.
From the National Portrait Gallery, Foley went to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art as an exhibition researcher. Among other endeavors, she worked on the pan-Smithsonian photography project, which yielded the book At First Sight: Photography and the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian holds more than 13 million images spanning over 150 years, and the book includes a selection of these, featuring photos of Amelia Earhart, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Greta Garbo, Babe Ruth, and P.T. Barnum, among others.
Throughout her professional life,
Foley found her Transylvania education served her well. “In the museum world, you encounter
a lot of people with name brand degrees, Ivy League degrees, and I always felt
comfortable working with them,” she said. “I’m glad that I went to a smaller
school. The contact that I had with my professors really made a big difference
in what I took away from it.”
Two years ago, Foley decided to take her life in a different direction and became a full-time mother to her son, Oliver.
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