Meanwhile, preprofessionally, she was completing editorial internships and assistantships for several magazines that gave her varied writing and editing experience for both national and international audiences. By her senior year, she had worked in editorial and curatorial roles at the Kelly Writers House, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, Morgan Library & Museum, Slought Foundation, Meredith Corporation, and UrbanGlass.
“The hard part is having the courage to really say that you don’t want to be part of the conventional or popular path to success — that [as an artist and writer] you want to be doing things that not everyone else is doing, and acknowledging that these things do not necessarily guarantee ‘success’ as most people will traditionally understand it.”
During the fall semester of her junior year, DeCagna studied abroad at King’s College London via an exchange with the Penn English department, which she also cites as a life-changing experience for exposing her to international cultures and making her more aware of being a global citizen. Specifically, she recalls independently spending the semester’s reading week traveling in Barcelona, where she was amazed by the Spanish Impressionist and Modernist artworks in the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. However, the museum that resonated most was Barcelona’s Museu Picasso, which housed an extensive collection of Pablo Picasso’s earliest work.
“I felt very moved by seeing [Picasso’s] cognitive development in his artworks, because of where I was in my own student life trying to connect my intellectual inclinations with outside pressures. In that museum, I decided I was going to pursue my own creative path and not regret it, because it’s worth the risk if you really want to change the world.”