Hometown: Dix Hills, NY
Major: Art History
Minors: Studio Art (photography) and African-American Studies
Favorite W&L Memory: Homecoming Court ‘10
Favorite Class: Photography and the City (Study Abroad to Paris, France) with Professor Christa Bowden
Favorite W&L Event: Arts League Student Exhibition in Wilson Hall
Favorite Campus Landmark: Bench behind Wilson Hall--it's great for sun bathing.
I first sat in a W&L classroom in January 2007 as a prospective student. Professor Joan O'Mara was lecturing on the architecture of Buddhist temples for her Asian Art class. After her lecture, Professor O'Mara offered to help me with a presentation I was preparing on the same topic for a high school class. I only had a semester's worth of art history under my belt, so I was elated to have her guide me through the major concepts and images central to Buddhist architecture. As a prospective student, I could only imagine how supportive the rest of the W&L community could be. I would find out for myself when I enrolled at W&L the following September.
I've come to know first-hand that W&L's faculty and staff are extremely responsive to students. I'm glad I attend a school where I'm not a number, but an individual. This personal attention has given me the chance to refine my interests, take risks, and ask for help along the way.
The remarkable internship and research experiences I've had throughout my undergraduate career are a testament to my growth as a student and the support system I have here at W&L. In the summer of 2008, I had the privilege of interning at the Reeves Center, which manages the University's collection of art. Until then, handling art, archiving objects and meeting professionals in the museum field regularly was an unprecedented experience for me. I am grateful for my amazing summer at the Reeves Center because my supervisors continually encouraged me to be inquisitive and to further pursue competitive internships in the arts.
The following year I was a summer intern for The Studio Museum in Harlem, a non-profit institution specializing in the arts of the African Diaspora. There I facilitated programming for the Target Free Sundays initiative. My internship grew into a year-long research endeavor for an exciting exhibition, "Caribbean: Crossroads of the World," related to my interests within art history. With resources from the University and the museum, I was able to maximize this opportunity by screening films and plays, as well as interviewing artists for the museum's publication. That research experience paved the way for what I would accomplish in the summer before my senior year.
With the help of Professor Pamela Simpson of the Art History department, I developed a successful proposal for a Student Summer Independent Research (SSIR) grant to fund my honors thesis research on the artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat. I was interested in the response artists, art dealers and critics had to his work. In order to locate this information, I looked to galleries, museum archives and libraries in New York City and Washington, D.C. for the answers. Thanks to the SSIR grant and my weekly discussions with Professor Simpson, I was able to meet all of my objectives. I saw Basquiat's work in person; I had access to rare publications; and I heard from individuals who knew the artist personally. Responses from Basquiat's contemporaries allowed me to construct a more comprehensive understanding of the era in which his work was created. I am grateful that W&L supported my initiative to explore what wasn't immediately available on campus.
I'm indebted to W&L's amazing faculty, staff and administrators for the academic and extracurricular ventures I've benefitted from in the last three years. As I complete my senior year, I feel assured that even more great opportunities are in store.
Special thanks to the Art & Art History Department, the African American Studies Program, the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Program, the Reeves Center, Career Services, Dean Tamara Futrell, Erin Hutchinson and Dr. Renee Pratt.