Ana De Roo '09, alumna

An interest in art conservation led Ana De Roo ’09 to a concentration in chemistry, and along the way she had incredible experiences in international settings that would fulfill any student’s dreams.

After graduating, she spent a year in Singapore teaching chemistry through a Princeton-in-Asia Fellowship. “This cemented my desire to work in science, but also underscored my interest in working with people,” she says.

She is currently a medical student at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. In addition to her medical coursework, she is pursuing a graduate interdisciplinary specialization in global health.

As an undergraduate, De Roo was able to build her art conservation portfolio through an important international assignment. One summer, she worked with a company in Madrid that was recreating Italian painter Paolo Véronèse’s “The Wedding at Cana.” Napoleon’s troops had taken the massive painting (about 23 feet by 33 feet) from Venice to Paris in 1797, and it now hangs in the Louvre, across from “The Mona Lisa.” Factum Arte, the Madrid conservation company, was creating a facsimile for the church in Venice where the painting originally was displayed in 1563.

With financial support from Princeton in the form of a Dale Summer Award grant, De Roo, a native of Grosse Pointe, Mich., arranged to work at Factum Arte, and she spent the summer attaching the painting’s 40 canvases to aluminum panels and hiding the seams.

“I had a good time. I was able to go to Venice at the end of the summer to see the installation,” De Roo says. “With the lighting just right, you couldn’t see the seams between the panel pieces … It was exactly the same as it was in the Louvre.”

At the time, De Roo also was thinking of graduate school in art conservation, which would have required a background in chemistry. She was surprised at what happened when she began fulfilling that requirement.

I started taking orgo [organic chemistry] because it’s required, and then I decided to major in chemistry,” she says.

De Roo’s experience is living proof that while partaking in the offerings of a strong liberal arts education, a student’s appetite can grow and dreams can change.