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Misia Leonard Scholarship Spotlight: Megan McPherson

July 13, 2023 3:50 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.

Megan McPherson at the National Council for Public History, presenting her research on George Washington Carver Park.

Megan McPherson

My name is Megan McPherson. I am currently working to finish up my Masters in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia. While at UGA I have learned a lot about preservation. However, hands on preservation opportunities are limited. After working with Bill Hole and Patrick Kennedy in California in the summer of 2021 at Redwood National Park, they encouraged me to attend the International Preservation Trades Workshop to dive into the preservation trades world. I’m incredibly grateful to have been awarded the Misa Leonard Scholarship which allowed me to travel to the workshop.

Attending the International Preservation Trades Workshop introduced me to a whole new sector of preservation. I learned ample new skills about the trades and how to restore parts of buildings. I attended several interesting workshops including terrazzo, slate roofing, blacksmithing, plaster, wood window restoration, steel window restoration, and masonry. Watching the demonstrators work on their craft was fascinating. It was amazing to learn from people who are so passionate about their work. 

During the workshops and time in between, it was great to get to know the other workshop attendees. As someone who does not have a strong background in the preservation trades, people were incredibly eager to help explain things during the conference. While most of this conference was unchartered territory, I feel as though I left the workshop with a strong group to support me along this new journey. While this workshop was my first introduction into the preservation trades, I believe it was an important and necessary step for my career. Making memories and connections with the community of the Preservation Trades Network was incredibly valuable to me and I’m looking forward to future ITPWs.

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