JHC is thrilled to welcome Rachel Ericksen and Tom Rice, our inaugural 2020 summer Jay Fellows. Rachel and Tom are students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and will be researching a pavilion planned to overlook the Historic Jay Gardens. Their work will include gathering information about the 19th-century structure that once stood on the site that was based on a design by renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis. They will also be creating a reading list of contextual materials about the project, as well as scanning the site and surroundings to create a series of 3D point clouds. The project is being supervised and coordinated by Jorge Otero-Pailos, director of historic preservation at Columbia and a member of JHC’s board of trustees.
Rachel is a rising second year Historic Preservation student at Columbia University. A metro-Detroit native, she credits her high school humanities teacher with sparking her passion for history and art. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in English literature and environmental policy. During college she spent a semester studying art and architecture in Florence, Italy. After college she took an advocacy role with the legislative team of the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC. A desire to fine-tune her advocacy skills propelled her to law school in Santa Clara, California. Here, she was exposed to cultural property law and founded the Student Association for the Protection of Cultural Property.
After law school she moved to Los Angeles and served as a fellow for the Lawyer’s Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation. Additionally, she volunteered with the Santa Monica Conservancy where she was able to research homes set for demolition, draft language for landmark applications and docent at the group’s 1897 shotgun house. At Columbia, Rachel has enjoyed studying policy issues, exploring New York City’s historic architecture in situ, and gaining hands-on materials conservation experience. She is excited to harness her passion for art, architecture and history this summer as a fellow at the Jay Heritage Center.
Tom grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and early on became interested in historic buildings and sites. One of the first was the Central Congregational Church, an 1893 Renaissance Revival structure designed by Carrère and Hastings, featuring a Guastavino tile dome. As the son of the minister there, he spent many hours working to maintain the building and grounds.
He graduated from Trinity College in Connecticut, majoring in Political Science and Urban Studies. Some of his favorite classes were Art History related. He studied abroad in Shanghai and Barcelona, and examined architecture in both cities. After college, he taught sailing at Sail Newport, a public sailing center in Newport, Rhode Island, and worked as an apprentice with a master carpenter.
He has enjoyed all of the courses, programs, and field trips in the Historic Preservation program at Columbia, especially those relating to the history of New York. He is excited to work at the Jay Heritage Center this summer, and to continue learning.