Symposium to present research in art history, appreciation

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Four students have been selected from 35 nominations.

By Katya Harmel

Art history and art appreciation faculty work together each spring to select outstanding research-based essays written by their students.

Nominations are boiled down to about six nominees who present their research before an audience.

This year, four students will share their research 10:50 a.m.-noon April 5 in Room 120 of the visual arts center.

Fine arts Professor Debra Schafter said there were originally six students nominated for the symposium, but two had to drop for personal reasons.

She said there were more nominations this year than ever — 35.

“It was difficult, but we narrowed it down to six,” she said.

History sophomore Loren George will present “Maybe You Can Take It With You …? Funerary Objects of Egypt and Tang China.”

Schafter described George as an “untraditional student” because he is returning to college after serving in the U.S. Army 21 years.

George plans to combine art and history when he becomes a high school teacher to provide visual interest to historical events for students, she said.

Computer science sophomore Nate Thrash, artist and founder of Owl Spirit Art Studio, will present “Contemplating Mortality: A Journey through Life, Death, and Emotion.”

Thrash mixes computer technology, photography and graphic design to create his artwork.

Fine arts sophomore Regina Román, a visual artist who recently completed an internship with the McNay Museum of Art, will present “Tonita Peña: Between Two Worlds.”

Schafter said Román’s presentation is based on research she completed during her internship with the museum.

Radio-television-broadcasting sophomore Jose Pacheco, who plans to transfer to the University of Houston in August, will present “The Rise of Potrero Hill.”

Pacheco works at his family’s business, Hollywood Cleaners, but aspires to become a film or television producer, Schafter said.

Schafter has been working with the students to turn their research essays into 10-12-minute presentations.

“They start off with very good research papers,” she said. “We just have to take them from being for the reading eye, to being for the listening ear.”

She said every year she has students who are nervous to speak in front of the audience and consider not going through with it.

“Every time they say, ‘I’m glad I did it. I can do this now,’” she said.

She explained it polishes their research skills and their ability to give an effective presentation.

Schafter said this opportunity is not usually presented to undergraduates, and it pushes the students further than the average under-graduate experience.

A few past nominees were significantly impacted by the opportunity and decided to change their major to art, Schafter said.

She encourages guests to bring friends and family to the symposium to see what the students have accomplished with their research and dedication.

There will be a reception for guests after the presentations.


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