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Meet the Masters: Presenting the 2020 Art History MA Recipients

Published May 8, 2020

Art History graduate students faced and overcame the obstacle of moving into completely unfamiliar territory in the spring of 2020, as the courses they attended, taught, and assisted suddenly moved online. These scholars deserve praise for their dedication and perseverance. In place of the awards ceremonies, exhibition openings, and graduation events we would like to have hosted for these outstanding graduates, we have prepared this small tribute to their excellence.​

Sumaya Ayad served as a research assistant during her coursework for the Master of Arts in Art History with a focus on Museum & Cultural Heritage Studies (MCHS). She participated in the 2019 Summer Field School in Puerto Rico and spent her second year on The Ringling Track. In this yearlong internship at The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, she gained comprehensive experience in each department of the museum. She is confident in her preparation for a career in museum work: “FSU’s MCHS program gave me the structure to learn about the museum field as well as the space I needed to find where I fit in it.”
Victoria DeBlasio held a teaching assistant position as she completed her MA in Art History, and taught Communication for Art & Design in her second year. She was the recipient of numerous awards and travel grants, including the Ada Belle Winthrop-King Visual Arts Endowment and the Emerging Scholar Award, Common Ground Research Network. This spring she was invited to present papers in symposia at the University of Alabama and at Virginia Commonwealth University. At the 2019 Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) she presented “See-Through Structures: George Fred Keck’s Archetypes of New Domestic Modernism.” Of her prodigious academic output, Victoria writes, “It was never perfect but nonetheless, the work always got done.” She looks forward to continuing and refining her research in the Art History doctoral program at FSU, beginning in fall 2020.
Olivia Morris received the Master of Arts in Art History with a focus on Museum & Cultural Heritage Studies (MCHS). She served as vice president of the graduate Art History Association, and held a Museum and Archives Technician Internship at the Southeast Archeological Center. Olivia hopes to continue working for the National Parks Service at a museum, park, archive, or institution where she can support her community and share her love of history. She writes, “The MCHS program prepared me for my dream career, and the connections I’ve made here have changed my life for the better. I am so grateful to my professors, colleagues, and the FSU staff members who made my experience worthwhile.”
Mary Hand received the Master of Arts in Art History with a focus on Museum & Cultural Heritage Studies (MCHS). She completed internships at the Thomasville History Center in Georgia and The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art. She was the winner of the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries Student Project Award for her independent research for and development of an interactive tour of a log home on the grounds of the Thomasville History Center. Mary hopes to find work in the museum world following the end of COVID-19 restrictions. Until then she plans to volunteer with local museum and historic preservation groups in Thomasville.
Emily White served as a research assistant while she completed her coursework for the Master of Arts in Art History; in her second year she taught Communications for Art & Design, and served as treasurer of the graduate Art History Association. Emily interned at Goodwood Museum & Gardens in the summer of 2019. She received conference and travel grants from the College of Fine Arts, the Congress of Graduate Students, and the Newberry Renaissance Consortium. Emily presented “Hans von Gersdorff’s Feldbuch der Wundarzney: The Dissemination of Vernacular Knowledge in Early Modern Print” at the Newberry Center and “The Portrait Medal of Isabella d’Este by Gian Cristoforo Romano: Paragone in Renaissance Courts” at SECAC in 2019. Emily hopes to begin a career in the curatorial or educational department of a museum and eventually continue into a PhD program. She writes, “The Department of Art History has provided me with great opportunities for professional presentations and workshops through the Newberry Library Renaissance Consortium. The faculty have been extremely helpful and supportive, and I am very grateful for my time spent here.”
Abigail Youngblood received the MA in Art History and worked as a research and teaching assistant. In her second year she served as president of the graduate Art History Association and taught Communications for Art & Design. Abbie completed a Collections and Research internship at the Florida Historic Capitol Museum. She presented “Deconstructing the Abject: The Fragmented Body as Reliquary in Andres Serrano’s The Morgue (1992)” at the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion conference at the University of Georgia in February 2020.

Congratulations also to Savannah Elliott and Hannah Ramsay!