Meet Master’s Program alumni in our series Life After Graduate School. In this month’s feature, get to know Emily Koller, who graduated from the M.A. in Art History program. Emily currently works as a Planner with the Texas Historical Commission.
Why St. Thomas?
I wanted to study historic preservation and architectural history and did not want to leave the Twin Cities. Once I met with Dr. Victoria Young, I knew it was the place for me. I appreciated the evening classes as I continued working. I think having students in the MA program that were working provided a real-world perspective that suited me. Everyone seemed so grateful for the opportunity that it created a really amazing, supportive and inspiring environment for learning.
What was your favorite moment while a student at St. Thomas?
Hmm. Exploring neon through Dr. Craig Eliason’s typography class was definitely a turning point, but the highlight may have been our trip to Chicago with our American Architectural History class.
What are you up to these days? How did you get to where you are?
I work as a planner with the Texas Historical Commission. My program is the Town Square Initiative and we focus on pro-active strategies to fill vacant historic buildings in downtowns across Texas.
How has the time you spent in our graduate program influenced your career and life?
Dr. Young helped me articulate my passion for historic buildings which led me directly to where I am now. While my planning degree provides some technical skills that are necessary for my work now, studying art and architectural history shaped the way that I write, think, present, create persuasive arguments. I still have many friends from the program and enjoy following their careers. I feel so proud of all of us. Overall, it was just a great education!
Advice for new and current graduate students?
Take advantage of every opportunity, network and make friends. 🙂