Keely Wardyn is currently in her first semester in the M.A. Art History program. She is enrolled in Methodology and Approaches of Art History and Sacred Spaces in Unexpected Places.
Where did you go as an undergraduate and what did you study?
I went to Minnesota State University – Mankato. I studied Art History. Previously, I got an associate degree at South Central College and took a year off afterward and went to Italy, Switzerland, and France.
What drew you to the University St. Thomas?
My advisor, Alisa Eimen highly recommended St. Thomas for me. I wanted to stay in the state, which leaves St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota. I knew I didn’t want to go to the University of Minnesota – I just knew it was going to be a competitive atmosphere instead of a collaborative one and that’s not what I was looking for. She recommended this program, so I applied for it and got in!
What advice would you give someone thinking of applying for the M.A. in Art History at St. Thomas?
Come in very open-minded and be willing to communicate with the faculty. Heather Shirey (Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies), emailed me after a week to check how I was doing with my classes and the commute to campus. Having someone to communicate with has been very important to me.
What are you currently interested in?
I am really interested in Persian art – especially manuscripts pages. The project I did for the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) undergraduate symposium explored a manuscript page they have in their collection. I was actually able to uncover some pretty amazing things about its attribution that the museum was unaware of. For me, that was the point where I knew that I wanted to focus on Persian and Islamic art.
How are your classes this semester?
They have been very good – extremely engaging. During my most recent Methods class, we had some amazing discussions. As for the Sacred in Unexpected Places, this has been amazing – getting to meet Bartholomew Voorsanger – that was inspiring to hear him talk about his work.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Learning how to structure my weeks now. The last year and a half I haven’t been in school, so being disciplined about my time (and not binge-watching shows on Netflix whenever I feel like it) has been a change. After you’re in school for a while you just back into the routine. Basically, balancing full-time work and two grad-level classes continues to be the greatest challenge.