Alumni Profiles

 Audrey Jacobs – MA 2014

For many years, I dreamed of working with non-traditional audiences as a museum educator and, within months of receiving my MA in Art History and Certificate of Museum Studies, gained full-time employment in this competitive field at the Red Cloud Heritage Center. UWM provided academic opportunities that made this achievement possible, such as studying at the Musée du Louvre and other sites in France and helping curate exhibitions at the Art History Gallery and the Milwaukee Public Museum. My success in my intended field would not have been possible without all the faculty, resources, and opportunities I had at UWM.

Juan Lopez – MA 2014

I am currently residing in Milwaukee and focusing on opportunities where I can apply my academic experience in education and cultural development. I work for a couple of non-profit organizations located in Clarke Square, a neighborhood located in the near South Side of Milwaukee. One of these organizations is Journey House and I work there as an Adult Education Instructor teaching the GED in Spanish. My other position is as a Project Coordinator for the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative. In this position, I exercise my experience from the Museum Studies program as I coordinate cultural and artistic events for the Cesar E. Chavez Drive Business Improvement District. I also practice my curatorial skills by volunteering for the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts (WPCA) during their Día de los Muertos exhibition. I am looking to expand my research experience in the subject of Iberian and Latin American Art History, while undecided to continue my education with a PhD program.

 April (Bernath) Olsen – MA 2013

During my time in the UWM graduate art history department, I had the opportunity to teach undergraduate discussion sections while taking graduate seminars; intern in the education department at the Milwaukee Art Museum; and co-curate a graduate seminar exhibition. These experiences and the intensive graduate coursework prepared me for my career as the education and outreach coordinator at the Massillon Museum in Ohio. At the Museum, I arrange, develop, and conduct school and organizational tours and outreach programming. I contract artists to teach Museum classes, organize the Rhythms Concert series, write grants, and develop educational components to accompany museum exhibitions. In addition, I orchestrate the Big Read, a National Endowment for the Arts funded program. As I connect to local arts organizations, I am working to build a local post for the Boy Scouts of America’s Art Explorers, a coeducational program which gives teens hands-on experiences in arts and humanities careers.

 Melissa Seifert – MA 2013

Melissa Seifert is pursuing a doctoral degree in Art History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is supported through an interdisciplinary fellowship program, Learning to See Systems. Much of her recent scholarship is rooted in her UW graduate research based on handmade signs as art objects. She has presented her work in varying spaces, including the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Coalition Conference (HASTAC – Lima, Peru), the Labor and Working Class History Association Conference (LAWCHA – Washington DC), and the College Art Association Conference (CAA – Chicago). Melissa has been selected as a 2015 summer pre-doctoral fellow through the Humanities Without Walls initiative in Chicago.

 Elizabeth Powell Siercks – BA 2011/MA 2013

I began teaching at Alverno College in Fall 2014 after graduating with my MA in Art History in Fall 2013. My experience as a grader for ARTHIST 105:Asian Art and Architecture was invaluable and gave me the experience necessary to write my own syllabi when I began teaching Art of China, Ancient Art Survey, Introduction to the Renaissance, and The Culture of China. The support I received from faculty as an undergraduate as well as on my graduate thesis exhibition, was secondary only to the wealth of knowledge and resources provided by the department itself. I look forward to my upcoming semesters at Alverno, but also to working and engaging with UWM in the future.

 María C. Blas Pérez – MA 2012

The UWM Department of Art History opened many doors for me. Because UWM participates in the Newberry Library’s Center for Renaissance Studies Consortium, I had the opportunity to present my MA research at the Newberry’s annual conference in Chicago. I graduated in 2012 and immediately found a job as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, one of the most prestigious institutions in my native Puerto Rico. My degree also prepared me for a curatorial internship at the Museo de Arte de Ponce in the summer of 2013. I am currently a doctoral student in History at the Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe, San Juan and my research interests include racial interactions and the representations of the colored population in the Caribbean.

 Aisha Motlani – MA 2012

Currently in my third year of an art history PhD program at Northwestern University, I am studying nineteenth-century European art under the tutelage of Professor Hollis Clayson. I graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 2012 with a master’s in art history, with Professor Tanya Tiffany as my advisor. Being part of such a smart and supportive community of students and faculty encouraged me to pursue an academic career in art history, and in the past few years I have enjoyed many opportunities to build upon the skills and experiences I acquired during my time at UWM. Highlights include a summer seminar in Paris with my fabulous cohort, and recent work for an exhibition on the art of Kashmir, curated by Professor Robert Linrothe.

Annie Crouchley – MA 2011

Christa, Alumni Profiles

In 2011, I graduated with an MA in Art History and a Certificate in Museum Studies. Through the program, I had the opportunity to intern at the Milwaukee Art Museum and curate and install my own exhibition titled Mexico Through the Lens: The Photography of Paul Strand and Manuel Carrillo. These invaluable experiences prepared me to land a job as the Assistant Registrar at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha from 2012 to 2014. During this time, I also completed an online certificate in Museum Collections Management and Care through The George Washington University. Recently, I moved to Portland, Oregon and am currently cataloging prints with the Graphic Arts Curator at the Portland Art Museum.

Angela Lowther – MA 2011

I graduated from UWM in 2011 with a MA in Art History and Certificate in Museum Studies. My thesis exhibition, American Japonisme: A New Perspective, came to fruition under the advisement of Linda Brazeau and the late Jeffrey Hayes. Working under the tutelage of this dynamic duo was an incredible experience and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had this privilege. While earning my degree, I also completed an internship at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The object handling skills and database training I received while working with the Curatorial Assistant of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs have proven to be invaluable as they continue to inform my work today.

My first position after graduation was as interim Collections Manager and Exhibition Coordinator at Beloit College where I was responsible for the care and management of the permanent collection as well as overseeing the installation and deinstallation of four gallery spaces. In the summer of 2012, I switched gears and moved to the east coast to begin employment with the fine art services company Artex. I worked exclusively as a contractor for the Peabody Essex Museum doing object photography, documentation, and packing as part of their expansion project. After almost a year into this assignment, I was asked to come on board as a PEM Collection Specialist. In addition to my move team responsibilities, I also began assisting the Exhibition Design and Registration department with installations, new acquisitions, and courier trips. This past September I was promoted to Collection Manager and have been focusing primarily on addressing long term collection stewardship needs as well as historic house preservation. It is an incredibly challenging but rewarding position (I love my job!) and I would not have made it this far in my career without my degree from UWM.

Renee Pasewald – MA 2011

Christa, Alumni Profiles

Renee Pasewald graduated with an Art History MA in 2011. Until 2014, she served as a lecturer in Art History at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (UWO) teaching such courses as “Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece” and “Art of the Italian Renaissance.” In addition, she has assisted with multiple exhibitions at the Paine Art Center and Gardens, most notably, William Merritt Chase: Family Portraits. After electing not to pursue a PhD, Renee has recently acquired a new position at UWO as a University Services Associate

Christa Story – MA 2011

Christa, Alumni Profiles

As an MA student, I chose to do a Thesis Exhibition with the Certificate in Art Museum Studies. My exhibition was titled Henri-Gabriel Ibels: Beyond the Nabis. I also worked as a gallery assistant in the UWM Art History Gallery. Upon completion of my degree I continued to work part-time in the gallery as well as part-time at the Milwaukee Art Museum, specifically on the major exhibition, Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries. In 2012 I was hired full-time at UWM as Curator of Collections. As curator, I manage and maintain the University’s growing permanent art collection, making sure it is routinely inventoried, properly stored, handled and exhibited, and readily accessible for visitors and online. In addition, I assist and oversee many exhibitions, campus installations, and incoming donations.

Ashley Hussman – MA 2010

In December 2010 I graduated with an MA in Art History and a Certificate in Museum Studies. My thesis exhibition was Rural Tradition and Urban Change: The New Deal and Wisconsin Printmakers. During my time at UWM, I worked as a graduate assistant in the UWM Art History Gallery, where I gained valuable experience caring for collections, handling artwork, and organizing and installing exhibitions. In 2011 I was hired as the curatorial assistant at the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska, and in 2013 I was promoted to curatorial associate. In this position I research and write for exhibitions and publications, deal with exhibition and acquisition proposals, and manage a wide variety tasks for the curatorial department. I curate a few internal and external exhibitions each year, and have the opportunity to help train docents, speak to tour groups, and give gallery talks.

Katherine Iselin – MA 2010

Katherine Iselin is a G. Ellsworth Huggins Fellow in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Missouri, majoring in Classical Art and Architecture and minoring in Eighteenth Century European Art. Katherine has an upcoming article in the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archaeology’s annual journal, Muse, in which she examines representations of disfigured and amputated individuals in Moche art, a topic derived from her work at UWM with Dr. Andrea Stone. She plans to return to Cyprus in summer 2015 to work with Dr. Derek Counts at the Athienou Archaeological Project.

Kara Lundin – BA 2010

After graduating with honors in 2010, Kara taught English through the Korean National Institute for Education’s EPIK program. In 2012 she became the project coordinator for the UWM School of Continuing Education’s Global Partnership with Jeonju’s Kijeon College. After receiving her TESOL certificate in Costa Rica in 2013, Kara trained corporate clientele in English language skills. Currently she is teaching English at Knox School in South Korea. In the Fall of 2015 she will be pursuing a Masters in International Education at SIT Graduate Institute. Majoring in Art History gave her a strong academic foundation, the ability to analyze cross-culturally, and initiated the communication and critical thinking skills needed to work and live abroad.

Sarah Rothmann – BA 2005/MA 2010

I graduated with a BA in Art History(Business minor) in 2005. After working in retail for almost two years, I returned to UWM, was awarded a teaching assistantship, and wrote my thesis on an unpublished French Book of Hours housed at Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art. Thanks to the encouragement, support, and feedback from Richard Leson, my thesis advisor and mentor, I had the opportunity to present my research at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds in 2012. While I work as a Catering Coordinator for UWM Restaurant Operations currently, I’ve also taught art history as a Part-Time Instructor at Madison College and as an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Art History at UWM. The opportunities, experiences, and friends I made while completing my masters at UWM were invaluable.

Diana Jaskierny – MA 2009

I graduated with an MA in Art History and a Certificate in Museum Studies in 2009. My thesis exhibition, Entry into the Sacred: Russian and Ukrainian Religious Icons, explored 19th to 21st century icons in the Eastern Catholic Church, featuring a private icon collection and icons from the UWM Art Collection. This exhibition provided me with invaluable experience in obtaining, handling, organizing, and displaying art to make it accessible and understandable to the visiting public. During my course, I also interned in the Conservation department of the Milwaukee Art Museum, where again I gained important experience in maintaining, analyzing, and assessing the condition of items on exhibit, as well as some hands-on experience in cleaning and repair. Since completing my course at UWM, I have continued my studies in conservation, including various conservation internships, and received the Florence Certificate in Applied Restoration and Conservation from Istituto Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence, Italy. Currently I am pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, England, in order to become a Professional Conservator. The work is challenging but exciting, and allows me to study historical materials, perform and interpret analytical tests on paintings, and learn numerous practical conservation techniques with regard to cleaning and repairing paintings. The curriculum focuses on paintings from The Courtauld Gallery, but also allows analysis and conservation of paintings from private societies such as The Royal Collection.

Sarah Anne Stolte – MA 2009

Sarah Anne Stolte completed her Master of Arts thesis, Revealing Treasures: Kwakwaka’’wakw Masks in the Samuel Barrett Collection at the Milwaukee Public Museum, in 2009 under the advisement of Dr. Andrea Stone. She continues her work on Native American art as a doctoral candidate with the UW-Madison Department of Art History. Her paper, “Performance, Gestures and Pose in Postcards of Ho-chunk in Wisconsin Dells” appears in the 2014 edited volume, Recasting Commodity and Spectacle in the Indigenous Americas and she has an essay forthcoming with the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Sarah travels often, lecturing both nationally and internationally. Her major curatorial projects include ‘Air, Land, Seed’ (University of Venice Ca’ Foscari, 2013), a collaborative project addressing tensions between home and exile, drawing from the unique perspectives of indigenous peoples of Native North America and ‘Ancestral Visions : Contemporary Voices’ (Edgewood College, 2013), an exhibit presenting contemporary Native American artists’ works attendant to the Wisconsin landscape. In addition to writing for her dissertation, Sarah now manages Gallery 211 and provides administrative support to the College Transfer Art Department at Madison College. In recognition of her positive impact on student success at the College, she received a Phi Theta Kappa Mentorship Award. Sarah inspires students of diverse backgrounds to overcome obstacles and achieve their academic goals. In all of her work, she brings a passion for the arts, joy for curating, and love of adventures.

Sara Rich – MA 2008

Sara Rich completed her MA in Art History in 2008 under the supervision of Professor Derek Counts. For her research, she developed new theoretical approaches to the iconography of Phoenician ships. The support she received from the highly engaged faculty and the interdisciplinary nature of UWM’s Department of Art History led to her pursuit of a PhD in Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Sara defended her dissertation: “Ship Timber as Symbol? Dendro-provenancing and Contextualizing Ancient Cedar Ship Remains in the Eastern Mediterranean,” in 2013. She is now adapting her research for her first scholarly book, Cedar Forests, Cedar Ships: Allure, Lore, and and Metaphor in the Mediterranean Near East. Sara has also recently begun a post-doctoral appointment with ForSEAdiscovery, an EU Marie-Curie Actions project determining the effects of Age of Discovery shipbuilding on Iberian forests. She is currently located at Maritime Archaeology, Ltd. in Southampton, UK, and she continues to engage in archaeological fieldwork on Cyprus, eight years after she began her work with Professor Counts.

Michael Aschenbrenner – MA 2006

Christa, Alumni Profiles

I graduated with an MA in Art History in 2006. My thesis, The Hope of Nation: Frederic Edwin Church’s Our Banner in the Sky and Aurora Borealis encapsulated interests in the philosophical, theological and artistic ideals of the Hudson River School of American painters. It has since been utilized in furthering research conducted on Frederic Church’s Aurora Borealis (1865) at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I have been teaching and lecturing in Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) and Carroll University since the completion of my graduate work. In addition to survey courses, these institutions have afforded me the opportunity to expand my scholarly interests into courses dealing with a broad range of topics from American art, architecture and illustration to Italian Renaissance, Northern Renaissance and Medieval art and architecture. I have presented guest lectures at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. In 2008 and 2012 I taught on-site courses in Florence, Italy through the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, with plans to conduct another in 2015. I was promoted to a Senior Lecturer position for the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the summer of 2014. As Senior Lecturer I teach a variety of lecture-based courses focusing on the use of art and architecture as a means of immersing students in the historical cultures under study.

Rebekah Beaulieu – MA 2005

Rebekah Beaulieu, Ph.D. is the Director of the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT. She previously held positions as the Associate Director for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine and as the inaugural Executive Director of the Winchester Historical Society and the Sanborn House Historical and Cultural Center in Winchester, Massachusetts. Rebekah is a board member of the New England Museum Association, where she also serves as co-chair of the Academic Museums and Galleries Professional Affinity Group as well as the Connecticut State Representative for the NEMA Advocacy Committee. She is active in the American Alliance of Museums, where she is on the board of the Historic Houses and Sites Network and serves as an MAP/Accreditation Peer Reviewer. Her professional service also includes appointments as a Peer Reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services; a member of the American Association for State and Local History’s StEPS Enhancement Committee, organized to assess and revise national standards for history organizations; and a member of the Development Committee of the National Council for Public History. Rebekah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies and Art History from the George Washington University, a Master of Arts degree in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Master of Arts degree in Arts Administration from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in American and New England Studies from Boston University. Her first book, Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums, was published by Rowman & Littlefield Press in 2017.

Patrick Ford – MA 2004

After UWM, I got an MLIS degree in Archives and Special Collections at Dominican University. The combination of degrees allowed me to work at such places as Columbia University Avery LibraryHarvard University Countway LibraryMIT Institute ArchivesMaine Historical Society, and currently the Mystic Seaport Museum where I am Special Collections Librarian, leading a team that catalogs and processes rare materials collections. Since UWM, I have also worked consistently as an adjunct instructor of art history and currently teach at Southern New Hampshire University. I enjoyed my time at UWM and am fortunate for the guidance I got from professors Kenneth Bendiner, Jeffrey Hayes, Nancy Hubbard, Derek Counts, and Christina Maranci, as well as librarian Max Yela. Most importantly, it was through the UWM Art History program that I met my wife, Rebekah Beaulieu.

Brian Sahotsky – BA 2004

My time at UWM was spent working with great professors in several disciplines, and figuring out my specific academic interests along the way. I began across the street in Architecture, and found that my most interesting classes were taken while moonlighting in Art History. Taking this as a sign, I embarked on a dual major in both departments. I ended up expanding my horizons and working within the cross-disciplinary Certificate in Ancient Mediterranean Studies program as well, which allowed me to ally myself with the art history of the ancient world. My experience within these several programs spurred on my academic development, and upon graduation several of my Art History professors aided my quick transition into a Master’s degree program in Art History at the University of Colorado. I was able to continue my work in art and architectural history and theory, and moved more explicitly into the art production of the ancient world. I began teaching at Colorado as well, in the Department of Architecture, and in the Department of Continuing Education. I found that teaching art history was immensely fulfilling, and I continued instructing students as I moved into the PhD program in Architecture at UCLA. While “moving” between Art History, Architecture, and even Classics departments, I have been able to maintain my interests in each of these worlds. I have published in several journals and presented papers in places like Philadelphia, Ann Arbor, SAH in New Orleans, AIA in San Francisco, and Salerno, Italy for the MedWorlds international conference. I have excavated at the Villa of Maxentius in Rome, and conducted research trips in Nysa and Magnesia, Turkey, as well as spent a year in Rome conducting research for my dissertation. I am currently finishing my work concerning construction process in Late Imperial Rome, while teaching and researching in my “spare time” in Los Angeles. In the next year, I intend to continue my academic pursuits by entering the job market, with interest in tenure-track positions and post-doctoral work.

Catherine Sawinski – MA 2002

In 2000, as an Art Museum Studies student in UWM’s Art History Masters Program, I was required to complete an internship. That internship at the Milwaukee Art Museum turned into a part-time job that eventually led me to the position of Assistant Curator of Earlier European Art. The experience I had in the UWM program has been invaluable as I’ve pursued my career. It’s allowed me to do work that I absolutely love: curate exhibitions, research the collection, write for the blog (, give lectures, and mentor interns.


Anna Pagnucci – MA 2000

I am currently Assistant Professor of Art and Department Head at Ashford University. My latest accomplishments include a solo art exhibition at the Clinton Iowa Sawmill Museum (June-Aug 2014), a juried exhibition at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport IA (Sept 2014-Jan 2015), an invitation only artwork commission from the Quad City Symphony in Davenport IA which includes artwork displayed at the Symphony Gala (March 7 2015), Evergreen Artworks (April 2015), and the Figge Art Museum (May 2015). I also had artwork published on two book covers through North Star Press out of St. Cloud MN, Tracks on Damp Sand March 2014 and Breath of the Onion March 2015. And I have a solo exhibition coming up this fall at the Farnham Galleris at Simpson College in Indianola, IA.

Lynne Shumow – BA 1989

When I first entered college, I had no idea what I wanted to study. After aimlessly and unenthusiastically pursuing disparate coursework, I took an Art History class. I knew immediately, I had found my major. Shortly thereafter, a fortuitous conversation with a guidance counselor uncovered the fact that I qualified for a “grandfather clause” which enabled me to forego core curriculum and basically take whatever classes I desired. I ended-up graduating with about 80% of my credits in Art History. My 2 years as a TA and graduate student further enriched the amazing learning experience I had at UWM and well-prepared me for a diverse career in the arts. I began as a curatorial assistant at the Milwaukee Art Museum and, next, became the Arts/Industry Coordinator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. For the past 15 years, I have been the Curator of Education at the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, where I use art to teach classes in English, History, Philosophy, Spanish…you name it. I can’t think of a better job!

Mark Chepp – MA 1974

From 1970 to 74, I attended UW-Milwaukee and completed two graduate degrees, first in art (M.S., 1972), and then in art history (M.A., 1974). Upon graduating, I worked at UW-M in a variety of positions, from 1974 to 1991, eventually becoming Curator of the UW-M Art Museum. I left UW-M in 1991 to become Executive Director of the Springfield (Ohio) Museum of Art, retiring from that position in 2006 to pursue a teaching career at Wittenberg University (in Springfield) and Urbana University, as well as to devote time to my own studio painting. In 2013, the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center, in Portsmouth, invited me back into the museum field to fill their vacant position of Executive Director. I have been here since then, along with my wife, Charlotte Gordon, who serves as Artistic Director.