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Misia Leonard Spotlight: Sierra Baker

June 21, 2024 5:43 PM | Natalie Henshaw (Administrator)

The Misia Leonard Scholarship is a fund to help students, apprentices, and emerging professionals attend the International Preservation Trades Workshop (IPTW). 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, up to 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. You can support the PTN Scholarship Fund through:

  • Direct donations
  • Donating items, experiences, or packages to the auction
  • Bid on auction items

Leading up to IPTW 2024 Savannah, we will highlight the 2023 Misia Leonard recipients each month. Students, apprentices, and emerging professionals can submit an application for the 2024 round through July 31, 2024. 

Sierra Baker

My name is Sierra Baker. I didn't have a background in preservation until I joined the Massachusetts Historic Preservation Corps. This 11 month AmeriCorps program is run through the Student Conservation Association and based in Braintree, MA. We complete historic preservation projects with a variety of partners, some of which are the National Parks of Boston and Department of Conservation and Recreation.

We are limited to completing work within MA state lines, so when my boss told me about IPTW I knew I had to go. I immediately filled out the Misia Leonard Scholarship application because I could tell it was a great opportunity and didn't want it to pass me by. I am so thankful to have received funds to travel to the conference which I couldn't have attended otherwise. I even used the funds to attend a full day pre-conference workshop on Cemetery Preservation led by the NPS Superintendent of the Historic Preservation Training Center.

It is difficult to count how many workshops I attended. My favorites were those in masonry, archeology, color and stain matching, and metal work. These were topics I was not expecting to learn about but am so happy I got to have my hands on.

My main goal at the conference was to form professional connections so when my current AmeriCorps term is done, I have options to join the preservation workforce. I am intrigued with HPTC and because the conference was hosted at their site, I had ample opportunities to talk with staff and learn about their experience in the field. I made the most of my time and asked for tips on applying for jobs and creating a federal resume. I am happy to say that because of those connections, just two months after the conference they offered me a job!

Attending IPTW was an unforgettable highlight of my AmeriCorp term and something I view as vital to my current career trajectory in the preservation field. I am grateful for the opportunity to have met and learned from countless masters of their craft. I hope to experience IPTW in the future and continue learning new skills.

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