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Our faculty, students, and alumni continue to progress the field of art history through their dedicated efforts on a local and global scale. 

Maria (Masha) Pitel Awarded the William F. Field Alumni Scholarship


Photo of Maria Pitel and pet rabbit
Photo of Maria Pitel and pet rabbit

The William F. Field Alumni Scholars Program was established in 1976 to recognize and honor third-year students for their academic achievements at UMass Amherst. The program was named in honor of William F. Field, the university’s first Dean of Students, for his outstanding support of academic excellence and his personal commitment to bringing out the best in every student.

Maria’s academic career thus far has been outstanding. Her research and writing are consistently of a high quality, and the intellectual questions she pursues are inspiring. From her research connecting the Florence Wool Guild with Michelangelo’s David to the design of birthing rooms in hospitals, she tackles challenging questions with academic excellence and eloquence.

Her work at the UMCA for Jenny Lind has inspired her to pursue work in Collections Management. While there she honed her managerial skills which she then applied as an Independent Study interning at the Memorial Hall Museum in Historic Deerfield. She maintains a high GPA while also working at the HFA Career Center. Maria takes intellectual risks, pursuing questions and ideas that illustrate a creative and thoughtful mind. It is her remarkable combination of excellence and creative exploration that makes her a distinguished scholar as is evidenced in the short story she wrote for Art History 415 inspired by Winslow Homer’s painting, A Summer Night of 1890. Click here to read "Two Summer Nights" Maria Pitel.


Andersson Perry on his Summer Internship at the Frick Collection NYC


This past summer, I had the opportunity to be an Ayesha Bulchandani Undergraduate Education Intern at The Frick Collection in New York City. Due to an extensive renovation project at The Frick mansion on East 70th Street and 5th Ave, I worked onsite at Frick Madison, the temporary new home of The Frick Collection, located at the corner of East 75th Street and Madison Ave. It was an interesting and unique experience at Frick Madison as this is the first time in its history that the collection has been displayed outside of the mansion.


During my time at The Frick, I worked closely with the Education Staff whose mission is to increase public engagement through accessible public programming. One important task I undertook was that of creating my own ‘Closer Look’ Talk. For this project, interns were able to choose an object in the collection to study, engage with directly in the galleries, and conduct visual analyses on; we paired this with research done in the Frick Art Reference Library. After extensive workshopping, we were able to present our scripts as talks to different museum departments, in-person and virtually. A filmed version of my talk is featured in the museum’s newsletter, on website, and on their YouTube channel.


My days also consisted of participating in department meetings, staffing public in-person events, prepping for and staffing virtual programs via Zoom, and leading weekly discussions based around specially selected readings that covered topics ranging from inclusive gallery teaching to institutional history. I had the opportunity to gain real world experience in the museum as a workplace, working collaboratively with both the Education staff and my two fellow interns. Additionally, the internship program included multiple career talks with staff members from all areas of the museum. It also offered tours of art institutions around New York City including Sotheby’s, The New York Public Library, and The Guggenheim to increase interns’ exposure to the art field and art market.


I would like to express my appreciation to The University Museum of Contemporary Art for preparing me for this role through their courses, Collecting 101 and the Student Museum Educator Practicum which inspired me to apply in the first place; these courses provided me with firsthand knowledge of how museums function and how museum educators teach effectively, two concepts I was able to dive deeper into at The Frick. I was also able to use what I learned in my Art History courses to develop and improve my research, academic writing, and visual analysis skills while also expanding my knowledge of the collection. My choice of object to study was directly inspired by a UMass course.


I was thoroughly impressed with the organization and planning that went into creating this program; arriving on the first day, I was provided with a detailed schedule outlining our tasks etc. for every single day of the next 2 months. Overall, the most meaningful part of my experience was my exposure to the realities of museum work within an Education department as well as my introduction to many potential career paths related to art history. I am also very grateful to have gained many professional connections and relationships that I will cherish for years to come.


A big thank you to The Frick Collection, Education at The Frick, and Ms. Ayesha Bulchandani for making this opportunity possible.


For more information, watch his youtube video here.