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Anthropology student follows her passion at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., offers visitors 10 days of cultural traditions from around the world, and invites interns from across the country to participate each year. NMSU anthropology student Emma Álvarez de La Rosa was among those to receive a paid internship to work with the festival for six weeks during summer 2023.

“At the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, I was able to use my skills in anthropology and music in the real world,” Álvarez de La Rosa says. “I learned about the incredible amount of work required to manage and direct such large-scale festivals, as well as how important teamwork and communication is in the work environment.”

Álvarez de La Rosa, who has been playing cello since she was 6 years old, worked with more than 20 talented musicians.

“I got to learn about their life, the place music played in it and all the different traditions they have. I was also able to play with them on several occasions in the National Mall and even had a banjo lesson and a few square dance lessons.”

The internship opportunity aligns with her research interests and her honors thesis project on traditional lullabies of the United States-Mexico border region. She has recorded women singing lullabies, and is transcribing the music and lyrics to include in her thesis, so that others can play them on piano.

In addition to her anthropology pursuits, Álvarez de La Rosa’s endeavors include playing with the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra and serving as principal cello in the NMSU philharmonic.



NMSU anthropology student Emma Álvarez de La Rosa spent six weeks over the summer in a paid internship at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. She worked with musicians from the Ozark Mountains.