biography
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Shelly Leavens

Shelly was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington.  Her mother, Kathleen White was a free-spirit from Kittanning, Pennsylvania and her father was a native resident of Vancouver with a business in boat building. During her junior year of high school Shelly had her first international experience when she left to become an AFS exchange studentt in Sweden. During this year away Shelly developed a deep wanderlust, which has since been solidified. Having family in Pennsylvania, she left Vancouver to attend Pennsylvania State University and received a B.A. in Anthropology, a B.A. in International Studies and after another study abroad, a Minor in German. 

After graduation in 2002 she travelled the country to work a number of positions with the Student Conservation Association as an AmeriCorps volunteer.  In 2004, Shelly joined the staff of PSP-HEMC as an office assistant and saw the organization grow to its current space on the Academy's hill.  She worked with Linda Shopes of the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission to develop PSP-HEMC's oral history program and was subsequently awarded two grants to begin work on a PA State Police Oral History Project. 

Shelly left PSP-HEMC in 2006 to return to her home state of Washington and attend the University of Washington's Museology Graduate Program.   She has been working with a number of museums since arriving in Seattle, including The Center for Wooden Boats, The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, The Nordic Heritage Museum, and The Museum of History and Industry.  She took a leave of absence from school last year to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, but is now back in school and ready to defend her thesis, titled "History of the Craft: Utilizing Oral History in Educational Programming at The Center for Wooden Boats."  She has been working on an oral history project at CWB that involved interviewing local shipwrights that work primarily in wood.

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