My experience as an Art History major at Canisius College has had a profound influence on my career as a museum professional. During my senior year Professor Widenor went above and beyond to secure me an interview for an internship position at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University. This internship allowed me to gain first-hand experience and ignited my passion for museum work. It also provided me with the opportunity to hold my first full time museum position as Registrar at the Castellani Art Museum.
When I decided I wanted to pursue a master’s degree in Art History and Theory at the University of Essex in Colchester, England Professor Widenor could not have been more supportive and helpful. My coursework at Canisius prepared me for the intense graduate program I entered at the University of Essex and my previous experience in collections management helped me secure a part time position as a Documentation Assistant for the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America ESCALA.
Abject Subject was an exhibition I co-curated at Art Exchange Gallery in Colchester, England while pursing my MA in Art History at the University of Essex. The exhibition brought together artworks that investigate issues of representation and identity in relation to social expectations that control and repress. In doing so, the show aimed to unpack the complexities of the concept of shame and its relation to the feminine. I played a major role in the conception and execution of the exhibition. I researched and selected artworks, wrote on works for the exhibition catalogue and co-authored the curatorial statement with one other member of our group.
After returning to the states upon completing my MA degree I held positions as a Collections Manager and Research Assistant for an artist’s estate and a Curatorial Assistant at the University at Buffalo Art Galleries. I am currently working as a Curatorial Assistant at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia and as an independent curator with Feminista Art Club. Throughout my entire career Professor Widenor has been incredibly supportive of my pursuits and I know that without my experience as an Art History major at Canisius I wouldn’t be where I am today doing what I love.
Class of 2015
Art History and Anthropology dual major and Classics and History minors
Museum Studies Graduate Student – Cooperstown Graduate Program
Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society
2013-2014 – Canisius Earning Excellence Program (CEEP) Grant Recipient
2015 – Thalia Feldman Memorial Award
One of the things I valued most about my experience at Canisius College was the chance to explore different avenues of learning. I ended up double majoring and double minoring because there were so many great classes being offered by truly amazing faculty members. The chances for growth and learning did not stop in the classroom, with numerous opportunities offered by Canisius to get students out into the world and experiencing different ways of life. I had the chance to travel with a group to spend time with Native American tribes in the Southwest, and I gained a new appreciation and awareness for different cultures, along with some amazing experiences.
I began my undergraduate studies thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I realized along the way that the program I was in was not right for me and decided to make a change. Canisius offers such a variety of options that it was not difficult to find a place where I fit perfectly. I was able to work on projects that had meaning to me, and that would prepare me for my career after leaving school. Wherever I went, I found understanding and helpful faculty members who helped guide me through my four years as a student. The contacts and mentors I gained during my studies continue to stay in touch and are a part of my life as professional resources and friends.
Class of 2009
Program Manager, Cleveland Humanities Collaborative
All College Honors Program
Alpha Sigma Nu
Canisius Earning Excellence Program
Art History Department Thalia Feldman Memorial Award
I didn’t originally intend to major in Art History when I decided to attend Canisius; I made the gut decision to switch from Biology to Art History the summer before I enrolled, not having stepped foot in Lyons or met with anyone in the department. I just knew that if I was going to spend four years studying something, I wanted it to be something I loved. It turns out that was the best decision I ever could have made.
Within a month of making the switch, I was invited to meet the then-chair of the Art History department, was offered an Art History-based CEEP work-study position, and was guided through the process of picking my first semester’s classes. The one-on-one attention I received from all of the Art History faculty was incredible, and I truly did get to spend the next four years learning everything I could about Renaissance frescoes and Greek sculpture with dedicated mentors helping me every step of the way. The variety of Art History classes I was able to take and the passion with which the faculty members taught them are credits to Canisius.
When I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation, my Art History professors would always make time to talk to me and discuss my options, offering support whenever possible. When I was writing my honors’ thesis and was struggling with a difficult section, my advisor made herself available in the evenings and on weekends so we could work through it. When I found out that I’d been granted a full tuition scholarship and a teaching assistantship at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to pursue my master’s degree in Art History, it was my Art History professors who sprinted/danced into the Art History office to celebrate with me.
While I decided to not pursue teaching as a career, studying Art History gave me a chance to figure out what I was actually good at, while studying something I was passionate about. Today, I work at CWRU managing a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation; one of this grant’s goals aims to help students from a local community college transfer to CWRU to pursue bachelor’s degrees in a humanities disciplines. Some days I’m a grant administrator, and others I’m an academic advisor or a counselor. It’s such an incredible job that I never would have qualified for without my background in Art History, and I feel so lucky to be able to encourage other students to pursue their passions, like Canisius’s Art History faculty did for me.