The year after Aidan O'Connor earned her undergraduate degree in Archeology and Social Anthropology at Harvard University, she hadn't quite determined what path her career would take. "I didn't want to be an archeologist, and I didn't want to teach, but I love research," she says. A trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London spurred an extraordinary "ah-ha" moment, a lightning bolt of clarity. "I thought, This! This is what I want to do," she says. Parsons' MA program in the History of Decorative Arts and Design (now known as History of Design and Curatorial Studies), taught at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, offered exactly what she needed. "I wanted to work with the actual objects, and I knew I would in a museum."