Kudos for Summer 2017

Here are some alumni accomplishments that we learned about throughout this spring/summer:


Lisa Cakmak (MSP04)  In December, Lisa graduated with a Masters of Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis.  In January, she was promoted to Associate Curator of Ancient Art at the St. Louis Museum of Art.


Ipek Kaynar Rohloff (MSP04)  Ipek has successfully completed a contract working for Lord Cultural Resources in New York City, as a facilities/space planner consultant.


Olga Khroustaleva (MSP05)  Olga continues to work with Google, but is now working in Munich where she leads a team responsible for designing products that deal with trust and privacy.


Katie Raff (MSP05) served as the primary author of curatorial entries and general editor of the newly published scholarly catalogue, Roman Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.  It is the Institute’s most in-depth publication to date about their Ancient and Byzantine art, focusing on 165 of the highest quality and most representative objects in the collection.


Kathy Zarur (MSP05)  Kathy recently co-curated an exhibition at the San Francisco State University Fine Arts Gallery entitled Mashrabiya: The Art of Looking Back, as well as an exhibition titled Where Is Here at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San FranciscoNext semester, she will teach classes at the California College of the Arts and at San Francisco State University.


Alison Byrnes (MSP06) Alison works as the Academic Program Specialist in the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, a unit housed at the International Institute at the University of Michigan.


Helen Dixon (MSP07) begins a new position, as Assistant Professor of Religion in the Department of Biblical Studies, at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC. She has recently coordinated a symposium on the theme of “Working with Cultural Objects and Manuscripts” in Helsinki. Helen also participated as a member of a collaborative grant-writing team at the University of Helsinki which hosted an event exploring Finland’s role in global trade and study of cultural objects through three lenses — government, museums, and academia.


Monica Patterson (MSP07) Monica has recently begun a new position at Carleton College as Head of their Graduate Diploma in Curatorial Studies, a one-year interdisciplinary program designed for current MA and PhD students who wish to integrate curatorial training into their degree programs, or international and professional students wishing to upgrade their knowledge and skills. In addition, her article “By and for Children: History and Healing in a Hospital Museum in KwaZulu Natal,” was recently published in Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitionsedited by MSP’s own Erica Lehrer, and Shelley Ruth Butler.


Tasha Rijke-Epstein (MSP07) Tasha has recently accepted a tenure-track position in African History at Vanderbilt University.


Marc Levitt (MSP08)  Marc presented at last year’s Society of American Archivists meeting on a panel entitled, “Embedded Archivists—Exploring New Depths in Teaching with Primary Sources,” and will present at this year’s upcoming Society of American Archivists meeting.  Marc will be moderating and speaking on a panel entitled, “Are You an Exhibitionist? Promoting Archives through Exhibits.”


Aimee VonBokel (MSP08)  Aimee was recently featured in the St. Louis American on a course she taught at Washington University called “Decoding Historic Landscapes,” discussing the enmeshed relationship between real estate and racism.


Joe Cialdella (MSP09) began a new position this winter with Rackham’s Graduate Student Programs.  As a member of the Professional and Academic Development team, Joe is the Academic Program Manager for Public Scholarship.  In this role, he leads public scholarship initiatives including the Institute for Social Change, Grants in Public Scholarship, and the Engaged Pedagogy Initiative.


Alison Vacca (MSP09) is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Tennessee.  She has two recent publications:  “The Fires of Naxčawan” in Le Muséon, and a book titled Non-Muslim Provinces under early Islam which will be released in 2017.


John Kannenberg (MSP10) John’s work at the Museum of Portable Sound was profiled in a recent issue of the Museums Associations Museums Journal. The Museum had a grand re-opening in November 2016 at the Chalton Gallery in London to officially expand its permanent collection galleries. They also participated in a London galleries art crawl and helped out at a multisensory “pub quiz” event at a school for the learning disabled in Wimbledon. The Museum has also recently opened an Education Department — and their first course, entitled “Listening to Museums,” had its first meetings at the British Museum and the Tate Modern.


Gina Konstantopoulos (MSP10) Gina finished the second year of a post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, where she had the opportunity to work in the Near Eastern Art department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  From there she moves to a postdoc at the University of Helsinki with the Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions Centre of Excellence.


Sanam Arab (MSP11) participated in the Museums Advocacy Day in Washington DC this past winter.  Here she met Michigan senator, Debbie Stabenow, and many other museum professionals.  Sanam was also elected to the Board of Directors for the Michigan Museums Association.


Shannon Schmoll (MSP11)  Shannon is now the Michigan State Chair of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association, and her employer, the Abrams Planetarium, has been selected to host the 2018 conference for that organization.


Anna Topolska (MSP11)  Anna continues to be based in Poznan, Poland, developing her business (a language school and a translation office) and working as Polish-English translator and English language instructor. This year, she has three new articles to be published (one about photographs used in the process of memory building; one about photographs from the 1956 uprising in Poznan; and one about grassroots movements in Poznan, Poland during communism). Most recently, she is working on two new texts — the first concerns the role of museums in the commemoration of WWII in Poland and the second concerns documentary films on the Holocaust.


Courtney Cottrell (MSP12) assisted with the Ancestral Women Exhibit: Wisconsin’s 12 Tribes, at the Center for the Visual Arts in Wausau (WI) this past fall.  In this exhibit, award-winning jacquard weaver, Mary Burns, honored tribal women by creating their portraits in weavings.  This project was conceived to portray the strength of ancestral women around the world, both elders and their contemporaries, and to honor their journeys.


Julie Feldt (MSP12) Julie continues to work at the Adler Planetarium as the Citizen Science Education Coordinator, where she has been developing college course curriculum for Introduction to Astronomy courses using data from the Zooniverse’s Galaxy Zoo project to create a research experience for non-majors. She presented at the Association of Science-Technology Centers Conference (ASTC) with a talk entitled, ” Citizen Science and Museums: Where Do We Start?,” and recently presented in St. Louis at the American Association of Museums annual conference.


Emily Kutil (MSP12) was granted funding for a project to explore the history of Detroit.  For the project, Emily works with a collection of photos at the Burton Historical Collection within the Detroit Public Library in order to piece together street views of Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood.  Emily is working to create a website that maps the photos so that the neighborhoods can be digitally explored and visitors to the site can contribute histories and photos of their own.


Ana Silva (MSP12) has been announced as the recipient of a prestigious University of Michigan fellowship with the Institute for the Humanities for 2017/18.


Marisa Szpytmen (MSP12) continues to work as Assistant Registrar at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  In May she attended her first national conference with the American Alliance of Museums and was energized to meet museum colleagues from all over the country…  and even cross paths with another MSP alumni!


Caroline Braden (MSP13) continues her work as the Accessibility Coordinator at The Henry Ford.  This spring, Caroline coordinated a Sensory Friendly Saturday event at Greenfield Village for families of children with autism spectrum disorder.  Caroline also presented information about accessibility in museums at the Michigan Museums Association annual conference this past fall.


Rachel Chamberlain (MSP14) works as the Education Outreach Specialist at Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art.  At the museum, she has begun a Museum Current lecture series which invites scholars and museum professionals to present lectures pertaining to issues in museum studies.  She works on several Augmented Reality and Digital Interpretation projects to offer digital humanities initiatives and integrate the sciences with the arts.


Alicia Juillet (MSP14)  Alicia has begun a new position as curator at Olympia Entertainment in Detroit, where she will be working on exhibits for a new hockey arena.


Crystal Labrosse (MSP15) Crystal has accepted a new position as gallery manager for Ypsilanti’s Riverside Arts Center, a small community gallery affiliated with a larger art center that houses a theatre and a dance studio.


Rashun Miles (MSP17) recently contributed his artitstic talents to the POST-CARD series exhibit featuring Detroit artist and Heidelberg Project founder, Tyree Guyton.