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Misia Leonard Scholarship Spotlight: Marian C. Feinberg

August 18, 2023 2:00 PM | Natalie Henshaw (Administrator)

The Misia Leonard Scholarship is a fund to help students, apprentices, and emerging professionals attend the International Preservation Trades Workshop. Founded in 2016, this scholarship is named in memory of Misia Leonard. Misia served on the PTN Board of Directors and was a strong advocate for the preservation of our cultural heritage. For over 20 years, she worked for the City of New York, spending the last eight of those as Director of the Historic Preservation Office for the Department of Design and Construction. While serving on the PTN Board of Directors, she was instrumental in the development of AIA/CES program. 

The Misia Leonard Scholarship was dedicated in her honor in 2016. Since then, five students and apprentices annually receive financial assistance to attend the IPTW. This has been a great avenue for emerging professionals to learn about different trades, meet craftspeople, and get engaged with PTN. The Scholarship is supported by proceeds from the annual auction at IPTW. Five different people were awarded scholarships to attend the 2022 IPTW at Belmont College. In the lead up to the 25th IPTW, we will feature one of their stories each month. This month we feature Maura Smith.

This year, up to 25 students, apprentices, and emerging professionals will able to attend the IPTW for free. Those students can submit an application for waived registration here, and also apply for the Misia Leonard Scholarship. Consider donating to the PTN Scholarship Fund through direct donations and donating to the annual auction.

As a Historic Preservation M.S. graduate student at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) in Ypsilanti, Michigan I am being exposed to preservation history, theory, and some practice yet when I became aware of this scholarship opportunity, I felt immediately drawn to what this workshop might represent in my journey and the doors it might open. 

Upon arrival, after visiting with the other scholarship recipients, I learned that those chosen, represented a nice cross-section of the burgeoning preservation field. I had a great time learning more about what inspired their interest in the field, what type of training and work experience they had achieved, and what types of career aspirations and goals they had. I have found that sitting around discussing freely ideas and real-life experiences with likeminded individuals can be one of the most inspiring and motivating practices of all!

I had a blast connecting with EMU alumni (some are also Belmont graduates) and picking their brain about their current work in the preservation field as well as how the trades benefited and enhanced their marketability and knowledgebase. The name tags which we all wore made it easier for an introverted person like myself to just walk up to and speak to other attendees. I managed to make several contacts in the field who encouraged me to reach out with further questions or to stay in touch. I attended several workshops with current Belmont students and enjoyed chatting with them after sessions to learn more about what their trade course work and specializations entailed.

I attended as many workshops as I could manage over my stent at the event! In addition to taking notes, video clips, and photographs, I did participate several times in the hands-on aspect of presentations which just drove home the experience. The experiential nature of an activity resonates with me since I learn on a number of levels: see, hear, do. I come from a contract archaeologist background (cultural resource management work for over 10 years) and I recognize that you can talk and study about how to do something until you are blue in the face but until you roll up your sleeves and get dirty the concepts are just floating around in your head.

I enjoyed the sessions on steel square, timber framing repairs, makers mark, rock & a hard place, slate, models & casting, stucco, wood windows, steel windows, Zen masonry, etc. The keynote speaker, George Walker inspired me to look at geometry and design differently. 

I attended the stained-glass alumni exhibit at the Sand Crest Barn and enjoyed explored the grounds. I spoke with event sponsors and learned about potential volunteer and job opportunities across the United States within both non-profits and government entities. 

The Scottish Rite Building was a lovely place to hold the final workshop event and sets a precedence for what preservation and restoration (adaptive re-use) can accomplish. Bringing an older structure back to life can inspire a downtown block, street, or neighborhood to join in the effort to save their beloved community – One building at a time. The annual awards dinner and auction was fun to attend and entertaining to boot! I learned a great deal about holding a large-scale event and fundraising effort. These experiences will help me when I re-enter the workforce after I finish graduate school and will aid my ability to advise Laurel Valley Plantation in their efforts to preserve their vernacular structures, raise funds for restoration, and increase education and outreach. 

Thank you again for choosing me as a Misia Leonard Scholarship recipient and for supporting women in the preservation trades! I will always remember this experience fondly and my hope is to attend future PTN events. 


Marian C. Feinberg

Preservation Trades Network
3349 West Road
Bennington, VT 05201-9614

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