In the spring of 2022, Art History doctoral candidate Sarah Mathiesen was selected by the Program for Instructional Excellence (PIE) as a winner of the 2021-2022 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (OTAA). Sponsored annually by the Florida State University’s Graduate School, these awards recognize outstanding graduate student teaching assistants for their distinguished contributions to student learning through excellence in instruction. Sarah is one of only six award winners this year University-wide; she is proud to represent the College of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History. Recipients of the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards are recognized at the annual spring Celebration of Graduate Student Excellence event.
Sarah was also awarded two research grants this spring in support of her dissertation. She received one of nine Medieval Academy of America Dissertation Grants (specifically the Robert and Janet Lumiansky Dissertation Grant) to support her dissertation project “Yılanlı Kilise: Meaning and Identity in a Rock-Cut Church,” in which she examines the monumental decorative program of a rock-cut church in the Ihlara Valley of Cappadocia, Turkey. Sarah’s research, under the direction of Dr. Lynn Jones, focuses on constructions of identity in the medieval period; in her dissertation she seeks to recontextualize the painted decoration in Yılanlı as part of a rich contact zone between multiple cultures of the eastern medieval world, from Byzantium to the Islamic Caliphates, Georgia, and Armenia. Sarah also received a Student Travel Grant of $3,000 from the International Center of Medieval Art. Only three of these travel grants are awarded each year, and this is the third year in a row that an FSU student has been among the recipients.