Why did you decide to pursue an M.A. in Art History?
I had served as a docent at the Smithsonian’s Freer & Sackler galleries for a few years and fell in love with Asian art. I wanted to pursue an M.A. in Art History but with children at home, I couldn’t take a full-time course load. The program at George Mason allowed me to take 2 or 3 courses per year. It took a while to get my Masters degree – my friends jokingly referred to my academic journey as “Gradual School.”
What was your most rewarding class? Why?
Definitely, ARTH 699, “Hindu Art and Architecture,” taught by Professor Rob DeCaroli. It was great to be able to draw on his expertise on Hindu iconography and temple architecture of South Asia. Having said that, I found the “Historiography and Methods” class taught by Professor Ellen Todd, and the team-taught Survey class invaluable. They went a long way in filling essential knowledge gaps.
So what are you up to now professionally?
Towards the end of my graduate study, I started my own company, Wandering Docent LLC. I give tours at museums and art history lectures on-site when requested. My business is growing steadily; I’m hiring.
How has the M.A. program helped you with your career or your personal interests?
The strong suit of this M.A. program is the faculty, which I found to be both scholarly and helpful. I am grateful to Professors Ellen Todd, Larry Butler, and especially Rob DeCaroli for advice when I sought it.
Any career advice you would give to students in the program?
Hone your public speaking and presentation skills—they will serve you well in the workforce, in and out of academia. Explore course work through the Roy Rosenzweig Center https://chnm.gmu.edu if you are at all interested in Digital Art History. Finally, if you can, take advantage of an internship at any of the government or private museums in DC. You won’t regret the experience.