Alumni Activity

2013 Graduates

  • Elizabeth Paredes will be starting the graduate program in art history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she will focus on Italian Renaissance art.
  • Lara Belfield is moving to Kingston-Upon-Thames, a small town outside of London, to complete a master’s program in Heritage (Contemporary Practice) at Kingston University. The courses focus on emerging issues in heritage practices and art programs, including museum and gallery work and the performing arts.
  • Kol GiesselI was living at the Lama Foundation in Questa, NM in the Summer Stewardship program. She writes, “while there I will learn about permaculture, earth works building techniques, develop a daily spiritual practice, and live sustainably in a large community.”
  • Anne Grasselli has accepted a volunteer position working with Mary Morton, head of French paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Anne will work as research assistant for an exhibition set to open in the fall of 2015 on Caillebotte, one of the painters she examined in her individual study in spring 2013.
  • Chelsea Neal was invited to return to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond this summer where she will work in the Education Department.
  • Hannah Ridenour will attend the University of Washington in Seattle to pursue a master’s degree in museology.


  • Ashley Jones (UMW ’09, Art History) recently graduated from the University of Maryland-College Park with a Master’s in Library and Information Science with certification in School Library Media. Congratulations Ashley!
  • I recently received a great email from Art History graduate, Jennifer Davis, and want to share it with you.

She writes,
“It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since I graduated from Mary Washington.  After receiving my diploma in May 2008 I spent two months saying goodbye to family and friends before moving to Mali, West Africa in July 2008 to begin my two-year Peace Corps service as an environmental specialist.
Well, three years later I’m still in Mali and have just signed on for two more!  (though not all as Peace Corps). As a senior at UMW I conducted an individual study on the Malian photographer, Malick Sidibé, who won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2007 Venice Biennale.  While collecting sources in September 2007 for my individual study I also had an interview with my Peace Corps recruiter who casually mentioned the next group leaving for Mali coincided with my graduation dates.  A few months later I learned I would leave for Mali for two years.  Interesting ways that life has of guiding us places.
After finishing my two years in a rural village in Mali with the Peace Corps I found a third-year position with an USAID funded education contract in Bamako.  I am a Communications and Outreach Specialist which means I take pictures, write success stories and have my hands on deck when they’re needed!  I am loving learning more about international education and also the complex relationships between USAID, contractors (like Education Development Center, EDC – based in Newton, MA) and the Ministry of Education here in Mali.
I was recently accepted to SIT Graduate Institute to pursue a Master of Arts in International Education (low-residency).  In January I will begin a two-year, online master’s degree which I will complete while continuing to work with USAID/PHARE in Mali.  I am also applying to receive a Fulbright fellowship to study a particular aspect of USAID/PHARE’s work in Mali – the single-teacher school – which could revolutionize the way Africa approaches education (think Little House on the Prairie in Africa :)  I’ll keep you posted on that development!
Whenever I reflect on where I am today and what led me here I am always surprised.  Wasn’t I supposed to pursue a career in art history? I ask myself.  Am I doing a disservice to the major by not continuing in art history?  What about all those people who asked me what I was going to do with a degree in art history?  However, I wouldn’t trade my experience at UMW for anything.  Majoring in art history at Mary Washington was one of the best decisions I’ve made since it was a stepping stone to where I am today and I continue to rely on the courses I took and skills I acquired (especially writing!) today.  I strongly believe majoring in art history made me a more competitive candidate for graduate school since I bring a different background to the table and, if it weren’t for art history at Mary Washington, I wouldn’t have done an individual study on Malick Sidibé and I wouldn’t be in Mali now and….well, you get the idea :)
I also maintain a blog (address below) which I try to update as frequently as possible (at least weekly) with goings-on in Mali.  I can attest to Dr. Och’s encouragement to exploit blogs; I would never have felt as comfortable as I did starting – and maintaining – one if she hadn’t required it of all her students!”
Jennifer’s blog address is

  • Allison Stagg (Art History, ’02) was awarded a post-doc fellowship at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, where she is currently, and in September will be a senior fellow at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in the department of Drawings of Prints. She will be working to turn her PhD: The Art of Wit: American Political Caricatures, 1780-1830 into a book manuscript.
  • Glenna Barlow just completed her MA in Art History and has been awarded a Fulbright!  Previously, she had completed her BA in Art History and MS in Elementary Education at UMW.  Glenna will spend the next year studying the folk art of India.  By studying art which is made for temporary use in Hindu festivals independent of the art market and Western consumption, Glenna hopes to discover motifs that can be traced back to the historical roots of India and thus inform the way scholars consider Indian art at large
  • Since graduation, Kerry Gavaghan (Art History, ’08) has completed a Master’s degree in History of Art at the University of Oxford (2009). She is now now working on a PhD at Oxford; her thesis is on the subject of seventeenth-century Dutch family portraits..