Mia Voevodsky

Why did you choose to study History of Art? Did you receive any other degrees?

In my first semester at Michigan, I took a history of art course with Howard Lay that explored how the advent of globalization and industrialized production was being investigated by the early modernists in Paris. I was enthralled with this detailed and poetic way of studying the past and wanted to take more courses that examined the past so closely through period art pieces.

I was an architecture major, but consider my work for a history of art minor to be extremely important to my education as a designer and humanitarian. In the History of Art program, I was able to study ancient to contemporary societies in south america, the middle east, europe, south asia, and north america. I consider this light but broad understanding of these regions and their shared histories and interactions to be an important element of my world view and I am excited to take on this understanding of history onto my design work.

Would you recommend History of Art to currently undeclared students? Why?

If you are a student that enjoys understanding the past and the effects that past has on how we understand our present, then I would recommend a degree in the history of art program.  The way in which societies construct and understand reality is fascinating, and delving into history was a great way to see alternate realities and see the possibility of changing our present.

Even if you have no interest in becoming a historian or curator, an understanding of history (ie the nuances of how humanity constructs it) can be an important aspect of any broad education.

Is there a specific industry and/or function that you are pursuing?

I am currently working in the architectural design field, with a firm in San Francisco that specializes in extremely customized family homes. I enjoy type of design work because it combines my appreciation for history, aesthetics, understanding people, and delivering beautiful spaces personalized to the histories and future aspirations of each client.  In addition to sophisticated residential work, this firm also pursues a dedication to sustainable building practices and a commitment to giving back through community service, two elements of the practice that had me smitten and aspects of design that I want to pursue in my own work in the future.

How did you attain your current position / internship?

I was looking for architectural practices in San Francisco that had an appreciation for art, history, and catering to personal styles of clients. A family friend (who is an architectural historian) was able to connect me with the principal of the firm, and I was able to interview for a summer internship that turned into a second summer internship that then eventually turned into a full time design position.

What life and/or career skills do you feel you've cultivated from studying History of Art? How do you envision this will play into your future roles?

Overall, I think the most important outlooks and skills that a history of art education gave me are having an appreciation for things that other people often overlook, the capacity to see that everything and everyone to has an interesting story, and how to discover those stories and construct them into something that the public might care about and understand.

Mark Ramirez

Why did you choose to pursue Museum Studies?

I chose to study Museum Studies before I even decided on a History major. I have loved museums all my life and never really thought a career in them was possible until I discovered the Minor.

Would you recommend Museum Studies to currently undeclared students?

I would absolutely recommend Museum Studies to undeclared students. Not only is the subject matter diverse and interesting, but it also can foster an appreciation for museums and emphasize how important they are to societies.

What are you pursuing post-B.A.?

After I graduated with a BA in History with minors in Medieval and Early Modern Studies and Museum Studies, I decided to pursue a career in special collections. I will be attending the University of Michigan’s School of Information to pursue a Master of Science in Information with a focus in Digital Curation, focusing on expanding access to collections to all.

What skills do you feel you've cultivated from pursuing Museum Studies? How do you envision this will play into your future studies?

With my Museum Studies minor, I have been able to understand different professionals thought processes when they are forced to collaborate with one another. Museum professionals often “wear many hats” at their institution, forcing them to work with their peers. Working on several exhibits and in several museums, this has time and time again been a characteristic of my workspaces.

 

Mikki Dick

Why did you choose to study History of Art? Did you receive any other degrees? 

I double majored in History of Art and Screen Arts and Cultures through LSA. I chose to study History of Art because I absolutely loved my AP US History class and IB Visual Arts class in high school, so when I went to college it made sense to combine my two loves and major in History of Art. I took Histart 271: 19th Century French Modernism with Howard Lay during my first semester at Michigan and immediately fell in love with the field. I had a hunch that I would like it, but that was confirmed beyond my imagination in that class. I also majored in SAC, which came about via finding cognates for History of Art. I took SAC 236: Art of Film, and I remember talking about the role of framing in film, which performs exactly the same role in History of Art, just in motion. I added my SAC major late in the game (three quarters of the way through college), so although I felt a little behind my peers, I found I was well equipped in theory and had the academic tools to analyze films as artworks in the way I’d been trained in History of Art. The two majors complimented each other well and I love when film crosses over into the art world and vice versa. 

Would you recommend History of Art to currently undeclared students? Why?

Definitely. When I started college, it seemed like the common response to my History of Art major was “what are you going to do with that?” But I think, if anything, the history of art department has made me an interesting person and enriched my life––you can’t talk about chemical formulas with a person you’ve just met. To me, that isn’t as compelling as art, which is a snapshot, a relic of the cultural moment in which it was created. The History of Art major has also taught me to be articulate, sort through the jargon to get to the meat if you will, and above all it has given me the technical tools to voice my appreciation of the world around me. I think you need to understand the tradition of where things come from in order to make anything new, because art is constantly in dialogue with whatever came before.Hopefully in the future I will be able to re-appropriate this knowledge to create something new. 

Is there a specific industry and/or function that you are pursuing?

Currently I want to work in the film industry, but I’m not completely sure––I hope I’ll have a lot of different creative jobs throughout my life related to film, art, and culture. Right now I know I need more experience so I’m hoping to gain that via production assisting or further internships, and then maybe grad school. I would love to get an MFA in film. 

How did you attain your current position / internship?  

The History of Art department sent out an e-mail at the end of February with some opportunities, including doing research with Elizabeth Yochim at Yochim Arts, an art appraisal firm in LA. I’m doing research remotely for Elizabeth on collections she is valuing, and its been a really fascinating experience so far. I think the process of assigning value to artworks is incredibly intriguing, and its been interesting to see what goes into that. 

What life and/or career skills do you feel you've cultivated from studying History of Art? How do you envision this will play into your future roles?

History of Art has taught me to think critically, have high standards for my own work and others, and it has taught me the importance of details. I think these skills will be applicable to a variety of careers––people notice when you have an eye for detail, and thats incredibly attractive to employers because it shows you are willing to put in extra effort and it shows that you care. The department has also taught me to take responsibility for my work and be thoughtful about the content I’m putting out into the world. 

Any other comments?

Don’t be afraid to study what you love because you don’t get another chance at undergrad. Be ambitious and make it happen. 

Jillian Neill

Why did you choose to study History of Art? Did you receive any other degrees?

My first major encounter with art history was playing the board game Masterpiece when I was 7, but I really fell in love with it when I took AP Art History in high school.  I initially entered college planning to major in Mathematics, but I was ultimately pulled back to art history because of the classes I took in my first semester at UM. It was very important for me to study something that I loved, even if wasn’t a subject that wasn’t traditionally considered practical.

Would you recommend History of Art to currently undeclared students? Why?

I would definitely recommend History of Art to undeclared students.  Like the other liberal arts programs in LSA, History of Art provides you with a strong background in writing and critical thinking. The curriculum is so diverse and allows for so many opportunities to learn how art intertwines with politics, religion, literature, and other areas of study.  The program also has amazing faculty who make an effort to instill their passion in their students.

Is there a specific industry and/or function that you are pursuing?  

I am pursuing a career in development.  Upon finishing undergrad, I started working for the development office at UM’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance.  Although I have only been in this position for two months, I find the work to be so rewarding. I plan to continue working in development in the future, whether that be at a university, museum, or an arts-based non-profit organization.  

How did you attain your current position / internship?

My research and extracurriculars played a big role in attaining my current position. History of Art gave me a core skill set, but it was important for me to highlight my involvement and work ethic outside of academics.  I spent four years as a research assistant for a performing-arts based project through ArtsEngine, and also had experience fundraising for my student organizations.  I knew that I wanted to keep the arts a central part of my career, so my decision to work for SMTD was an easy choice for me. History of Art taught me that art is so much more than paintings and sculptures, and now that sentiment really resonates through my work.  

What life and/or career skills do you feel you've cultivated from studying History of Art? How do you envision this will play into your future roles?

Career skills: writing, creative thinking, and critical analysis.  Life skills: you have a lot to talk about. Whenever I answer the question of what I studied in college, my response is always met with questions about my favorite artist or suggestions for a museum to check out. It’s really easy to find common ground with people through talking about art.

Jessica Zeisloft

Why did you choose to study History of Art? Did you receive any other degrees? 

I decided to minor in History of Art after taking a History of Art class my freshman year for pass/fail credit to satisfy a humanities requirement for my Computer Science major. Though my initial motivation to take the class was a checkmark on my degree plan, I quickly developed a deep interest, for the material refreshingly stimulated a different part of my brain than my technical courses. I found myself registering for another class the following semester and ultimately added the minor at the beginning on my sophomore year. 

Would you recommend History of Art to currently undeclared students? Why?

Though I cannot comment on the major, I do highly recommend the minor, especially for students who may be going into more technical fields. The University's technical programs are excellent in instructing you on the STEM topic at hand; however, critical thinking and communication skills often fall by the wayside in these programs. In my experience, these skills are some of the most important to employers, as well as in everyday life. The History of Art faculty and the coursework they develop to teach does an excellent job of enhancing these skills while also opening a student's mind to new cultures, social dynamics and philosophical thought patterns.

Is there a specific industry and/or function that you are pursuing? 

I am beginning a role in the technology field as a software engineer; however, I don't intend to let my interest in art fall to the wayside. I am moving to New York City for my new position and hope to volunteer at one of the many incredible art institutions in the city. My long term goal is to start a successful tech company and to ultimately dedicate my time and resources to STEM and arts education. 

How did you attain your current position / internship? 

I used the College of Engineering's resources, including the career fair and on campus interview opportunities, to obtain internships in the tech industry following my sophomore and junior years of undergrad. Having this experience, I applied to many companies and others reached out to me to interview. After a variety of rounds of interviews at several different companies, I received a few offers and ultimately decided that working for Apple in New York City was the best fit for me. 

What life and/or career skills do you feel you've cultivated from studying History of Art? How do you envision this will play into your future roles?

I owe so much of my success in the technology field to my History of Art studies. Many of the interviews I completed throughout the full time and internship recruiting processes required not just technical knowledge, but also the ability to craft sharp arguments with solid support under tight time constraints. In any interview, you as a candidate are convincing the interviewer that you are the best person for the job. My time in History of Art taught me these argumentation skills by way of thoughtful professors who didn't just spit out facts, but interpreted the works, presenting their opinion and challenging me to converge on my own. The papers weren't busy work, but intriguing explorations into topics that were not necessarily covered in class, forcing me to draw my own conclusions rather than resorting to blindly agreeing with what was said in lecture. I see these critical thinking and argumentation skills as widely applicable to every field and therefore believe they will continue to benefit me wherever my life may go. 

Any other comments?

My studies of History of Art have also allowed me to walk into an art museum as an informed viewer. Even if I don't know anything about a certain art movement or artist, I feel up to the challenge of deciphering some meaning and significance to a work. It's an exciting hobby and has led me to a number of really great conversations and eventual friendships.