Turning a Passion Into a Career

October 23, 2017

Lydia Moran

Sudent with book dispay
Nolan Boomer '16 at the Princeton Architectural Press.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Nolan Boomer

Nolan Boomer ’16 has self-curated a career by combining his passions: architectural history and writing.

Throughout his academic career, Nolan Boomer ’16 cultivated a passion for book arts, curatorial practices, and architectural history, giving him the tools to pursue a self-curated career in the arts. So his postgraduate transition to a job at Hampshire College as a curatorial assistant and helping organize the Northampton Print and Book Art Fair was a natural one. Currently, he works for Princeton Architectural Press in Hudson, New York, as an editorial assistant and is coeditor for Take Shape, a nonfiction publication that examines the intersection of politics and architecture.

Boomer originally intended to study neuroscience but changed his path after he started writing for Wilder Voice, Oberlin's biannual long-form journalism publication, and fell in love with nonfiction writing. After deciding to study English instead, Boomer supplemented his academic path with courses in architectural history in the art department. He cites formative experiences in classes at Oberlin, specifically Politics and Architecture, and subsequent studies in urban history while studying abroad in Argentina, as integral to his professional trajectory.

Outside of Oberlin, Boomer had the opportunity to intern for McSweeney’s Publishing in San Francisco the summer after his first year. He also worked and Printed Matter, Inc., in New York City for his winter-term project junior year. In his final semester, Boomer secured an internship at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he learned more about the research involved in running a large art museum.

Ultimately, Boomer says he sees himself teaching architectural history and finding spaces to conduct more architectural research after pursuing a postgraduate degree. He says that his interest in teaching was borne from his experience teaching an experimental college course—for which students teach and create curricula.

"Teaching an ExCo at Oberlin was very scary but really rewarding,” he says. "Until graduate school, I just want to try a lot of different things, work in radio, or do other small things that interact with writing and politics—and learn a lot."

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