Alumni Updates

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Since the department’s founding, thousands of undergraduates have taken our courses and scores have graduated from Cornell with a major or minor in  the History of Art.  Even after graduation our Alumni have continued to be involved with the department through a variety of programs and events. Every other year we organize a career symposium inviting our graduates to share their professional experiences with current students.  To build upon such tradition and strengthen connection between former and current students we have created this webpage where our dedicated Alumni can share stories about their life after Cornell. We hope that by sharing yours, and by reading the stories of other former students, you will be able to reconnect with the good old History of Art department and with your student experience. Enjoy!

Alumni Updates

alumni imageVirginia Girard '17,  I completed my MA in Art History at the Courtauld Institute in 2018, where I specialized in Dutch and Flemish art from 1540-1660. The title of my dissertation was "From Antwerp to Gorhambury: The Journey of Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder's Continents and Elements." I am now a PhD student at Columbia University, where I will continue to focus on art of Northern Europe with emphasis on the intersections of art, science, and natural history.

alumni imageWilliam Wei '16, I will be attending Tufts Medical School this fall class of 2022 with an interest in plastic surgery, particularly the multi-disciplinary field of trans-healthcare and sex reassignment surgery.

alumni imageYuanyuan Tang '16, Following graduation, I worked at The Art Newspaper China as an editorial assistant. I also worked as a legal intern temporarily before starting law school at Boston University School of Law in 2017. I am now a first-year student at BU Law pursuing a career in art law.

Image of the Klarman HallKeely Sarr '14, After I graduated from Cornell, I spent three years coordinating K-12 education and the student docent program at Amherst College's Mead Art Museum. Now I'm a first-year Master's candidate in the History of Art & Architecture graduate program at the University of Massachusetts: Amherst, and work as a tour guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum.

alumni imageLena Marecki '14,  I am currently dividing my time between two passions: social activism through family-based teaching and self-expression through creative writing. I am an ESL instructor for parent immigrants in Chelsea, MA, and am pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. It is my aim to express and empower myself and others through language that is clean, communicative, and moving - through both face-to-face practice and justice-based pieces in print.

alumni imageCatherine Jung '14, I have been working at The New York Botanical Garden since December 2014. I started as a Development Associate for Foundation Relations and was promoted to an Administrative Coordinator for the same department in February 2017. I am currently looking into graduate schools in art history or arts administration.

alumni imageKira Pritchard '13 works on the programs team of a family foundation with a focus on arts & culture grantmaking.


alumni imageKathryn Kremnitzer '13 (Cornell A&S '13, History of Art and College Scholar) is a Research Associate in the Painting and Sculpture of Europe department at the Art Institute of Chicago where she works on nineteenth-century exhibitions and catalogues. Most recently, she was part of the curatorial team responsible for Monet and Chicago (2020) and Manet and Modern Beauty (2019). She received her PhD in Art History from Columbia University in 2020 with a dissertation on Édouard Manet's work across media in the 1860s. Follow her on instagram @kkremnitzer for museum behind the scenes!

alumni imageJoo Eun Shin '12, After my time at Cornell, I interned at art museums, then went to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) for my graduate study in Graphic Design. I now work as a typeface designer, meaning I create fonts.

alumni imageChristina Harrington '12, I currently work as the Landscape Manager at Frank Lloyd Wright's home estate Taliesin in Spring Green, WI. My work centers around maintaining and restoring the historic landscapes of the diverse 800-acre estate. This includes replanting the flower gardens surrounding the architecture to match their historic footprint, managing ecological restoration work in the wooded areas and native prairies, and assisting in the care of the historic apple orchard and vineyard. I also work in collaboration with colleagues to create new ways visitors to the historic site can experience the land surrounding the buildings, which includes the installation of hiking trails and interpretive material.

alumni imageCourtney Beglin '12, Since graduating, I spent 4.5 years working as a Product Designer for Mackenzie-Childs, a luxury lifestyle company located in Aurora, NY.  I have since transitioned into brand identity design, working as Lead Designer for the agency AWP in Ithaca, and recently moved to Washington, D.C. to begin an exciting new role as Creative Director for a telehealth company called Pacify.

alumni imageCaroline Paganussi '11, After completing my MA in Museum Studies at University College London and working for two years as the Executive Assistant to the Director and the Board of Trustees at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, I am currently a doctoral candidate studying early modern Italian and Spanish Art History at the University of Maryland, College Park. My dissertation, entitled “Bologna la dotta: The University and the Visual Arts in the Age of the Bentivoglio, 1463-1512” examines the relationship between artists, courtiers, and university scholars in Bologna, Italy at the close of the fifteenth century.

Image of the Klarman HallLaurel Garber '10 is currently a PhD student in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University. I am studying the history of prints from the 17th-19th centuries in France and working as a fellow in Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Image of the Klarman HallAlissa Auerbach '09, After graduation, I moved to Vermont to work at Shelburne Museum. I spent 5.5 years at Shelburne working in their Collections Management, Education, and Development Departments. In 2014, I moved onto a new role at Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA), a graduate fine-arts college on Montpelier, VT. I am now the Director of Development at VCFA and work remotely from New York City.

Image of Klarman HallSarah Humphreville '09, Sarah Humphreville is a senior curatorial assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she has worked on exhibitions such as Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables, Stuart Davis: In Full Swing, Shaping a Collection: Five Decades of Gifts, American Legends: From Calder to O'Keeffe, Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE, Edward Hopper and Photography, Collecting Calder, and Hopper Drawing. She began working at the Whitney as an intern in the drawing department in 2012, was hired as a curatorial assistant in 2013, and was promoted to senior curatorial assistant in 2016. In 2013, Sarah received her M.A. in art history from New York University's Institute of Fine Art, where she wrote her thesis on Edward Hopper and Dan Flavin. In addition to working for the Whitney, Sarah has previously been employed by The Jewish Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and galleries in New York and Los Angeles.

Image of Klarman HallMegan Sofen Opel '09, I started my own interior design business Megan Opel Interiors.

Soraya MurraySoraya Murray '07, Soraya Murray is an Associate Professor in the Film & Digital Media Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her writings are anthologized, and can be found in publications such as Art Journal, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Third Text, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art and Critical Inquiry.  Murray's book, On Video Games: The Visual Politics of Race, Gender and Space (London: I.B. Tauris, 2018), uses a visual studies / cultural studies approach to understanding how mainstream games mirror and are constitutive of larger societal fears, dreams, hopes and even complex struggles for recognition.

Image of Klarman HallLauren Jimerson '07, I successfully defended my dissertation in March, 2018 at Rutgers University. Entitled, "Defying Gender – Redefining the Nude: Female Artists and the Body in Early Twentieth-Century Paris," it focuses on the artists, Suzanne Valadon, Émilie Charmy and Marie Vassilieff. I currently live in Paris where I am completing my dissertation and also work as a national guide. I moved to France in 2015 on a Fulbright fellowship. I'm happy to speak with Cornell students. I can offer insight into conducting research in France, the Fulbright program and pursuing a PhD in art history. 

Derek Conrad Murray
Derek Conrad Murray '05, Derek Conrad Murray is an interdisciplinary theorist specializing in the history, theory and criticism of contemporary art and visual culture. He is currently Professor of the History of Art and Visual Culture, at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Murray works in contemporary aesthetic and cultural theory with a particular attention to technocultural engagements with identity and representation. Murray is Associate Editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. He has also served on the Editorial Board of Art Journal (CAA) and is on the Editorial Advisory Board of Third Text. Murray is the author of Queering Post-Black Art: Artists Transforming African-American Identity After Civil Rights (I.B. Tauris, UK, 2016); Mapplethorpe and the Flower: Radical Sexuality and the Limits of Control (Bloomsbury, 2020); and an edited volume entitled, Visual Culture Approaches to the Selfie (forthcoming, Routledge, 2021). Murray is Co-Editor of Visual Studies; the official journal of the International Visual Sociology Association.

Emily L. Spratt '05, is the first fellow in the newly created Research Department at The Frick Collection and is in the final stages of her Ph.D. in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton in Byzantine and Renaissance art. Also a recognized authority on the use of machine learning in the arts, Emily is a consultant in the art-tech business sector. Emily recently curated the pioneering exhibition “Unhuman: Art in the Age of AI,” which featured the art produced in the Art and AI Laboratory at Rutgers by the AICAN algorithm, in Los Angeles and Frankfurt; it was described by Artsy as “the biggest artistic achievement of the year.” Emily also teaches in the Department of Art History at Rutgers. At Cornell, Emily was a double major in art history and religious studies with a concentration in psychology, and also holds an M.A. in Byzantine art from UCLA and an M.A. in Renaissance art from Princeton. For more information, see

Image of Klarman HallAbby Kornfeld '02, Assistant Professor of Art History and Jewish Studies at the City College of New York


alumni imageCara Starke '01 is Director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, MO. Starke previously served as Director of Exhibitions of the public art organization Creative Time in New York. She was formerly Assistant Curator in the Museum of Modern Art’s Media and Performance Department.

Image of Klarman HallAlison Cupp Relyea '98, I am a freelance writer living in Rye, NY with my husband and three children. I write for small businesses, schools, and the local historical society. I continue to love art history and American history. My children and work keep me busy, but in my spare time I write essays, am working on a book and love to travel.