Historic Preservation on St. Thomas

Marjorie Drew

Marjorie Drew, RWU Class of 2019

Preservation Practices

After 19 years as a respiratory therapist, Marjorie Drew ’19 wanted a change. She went back to school, graduating with a Master’s of Science in Preservation Practices from RWU. In December of 2019, Drew set out for a new adventure working as a Historic Preservation Specialist for FEMA in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Restoring Hurricane Damage: “Hurricanes Irma and Maria, both category four hurricanes, hit the island two weeks apart from each other in 2017. There was extensive damage to the older homes on the island and the old ruins. With FEMA, I go to historic sites, look at the damage that has been done and make sure they are building back in a way that is appropriate for the historic buildings”

Exploring Island Architecture: “I’m learning about the materials they use down here that I may not have thought about before. They use a lot of coral. The architecture is different, because the Danish used to occupy the islands. Before WWI, they had a lot of famous architects here.”

Well-Prepared for Her Work: “The Preservation Practices program helped me a lot. I learned how to do what I need to do every day with FEMA. All of my classes helped, especially the focus on architecture.”