Current Graduate Students Bios

Ph.D. Students


Aimee Caya is a third-year doctoral student studying medieval art with Professor Elina Gertsman. She is particularly interested in exploring reception, performance, and materiality as they apply to late medieval sculpture. Her publications include “Carnal Consumption, Miraculous Deliverance: Saint Margaret and Caesarean Section in the Late Middle Ages,” which appeared in Glossolalia in 2016, and two catalogue entries for Myth and Mystique: Cleveland’s French Gothic Table Fountain. She served as a research assistant to the International Center for Medieval Art’s Lordship and Commune project on Amiens and Rheims cathedrals. Aimee has presented her research at the Midwest Art History Society conference and the Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies. In the summer of 2018, she was a curatorial intern at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where she planned a rotation of Iranian art for the Islamic galleries that will be on view beginning November 2018. She is currently the curatorial intern in the CMA Department of Medieval Art. In 2018, Aimee received a Pancoast Fellowship to travel to England in June in order to begin research for her dissertation on late medieval monumental brasses.

Aimee Caya has been awarded a generous Research Support Grant from the Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art in support of her project “Documenting Monumental Brasses in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.” Aimee will present a paper at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds on July 3rd, and will then spend the next two weeks traveling throughout Yorkshire and Lincolnshire to document the surviving medieval monumental brasses in those counties’ parish churches. This information will be integral to Aimee’s dissertation, tentatively titled “Brazen Bodies: the Reception and Materiality of Monumental Brasses in Late Medieval England,” and will build on the research she carried out in London, Oxfordshire, and Buckinghamshire last summer, which was sponsored by the Pancoast Fellowship.





Julie A. Dansereau-Tackett is a fourth-year doctoral candidate specializing in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French painting and sculpture, and the history of photography in Europe and the United States. Her research interests include the intersections of fine art, consumerism, new technologies, and emerging markets in contemporary arts of the late nineteenth-century, especially in relation to the international expositions of that period. Julie has presented papers in the US and Canada on a variety of subjects and is published in the Rodin at 100 and Myth and Mystique: Cleveland’s Gothic Table Fountain exhibition catalogues. Since receiving her M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from Case Western Reserve University, she has held positions in curatorial, education, and development departments at the National Gallery of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and Zanesville Museum of Art; has taught for Kent State University, Ohio University, and Cleveland State University; and has worked at Rachel Davis Fine Arts and The Potomack Company auction houses.



Dominique DeLuca is a fifth-year Ph.D. student currently working on her dissertation, “Shadows in Fifteenth-Century Secular Manuscripts,” with her advisor Professor Elina Gertsman. In 2016, she published “Bonum est mortis meditari: Meanings and Functions of the Medieval Double Macabre Portrait,” in a volume edited by Albrecht Classen, Death in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times: The Material and Spiritual Conditions of the Culture of Death, and contributed two catalogue entries to the Myth and Mystique: Cleveland’s French Gothic Table Fountain exhibition catalogue edited by Elina Gertsman and Stephen Fliegel. As a graduate student at CWRU, Dominique has worked extensively with objects and staff from the Cleveland Museum of Art. She was a curatorial intern in the Indian and Southeast Asian Art department where she was involved in the development of the 2016 exhibition Art and Stories from Mughal India and its catalogue, and a curatorial intern with the department of Medieval Art. In 2018, she participated in the Mellon Summer Institute in French Paleography at the Newberry Library, and was a recipient of the Etienne Gilson Dissertation Grant from the Medieval Academy of America.  




Kylie Fisher is a fourth-year doctoral student and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow in early modern Italian art working with Professor Erin Benay.  Her current research explores the production and reception of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century secular prints with a focus on the relationship between classicizing imagery and memorial theory and practice in the early Cinquecento. Kylie has held several museum internships, most recently in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where she researched the permanent collection of Italian drawings. She also worked as the IFPDA Foundation Curatorial Intern at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, where she helped to organize the centennial show, A Century of Women in Prints, 1917-2017 as well as Lines of Inquiry: Learning from Rembrandt’s Etchings, for which she contributed to the exhibition catalogue. Kylie has presented her research at the annual conferences of the Midwest Art History Society and Sixteenth Century Society and Conference. Her article, “Drawing from Mantegna: Engaging with Engraving in Cinquecento Northern Italian Art,” was published in Athanor 35.

Kylie Fisher received a scholarship award from the Walter Read Hovey Memorial Fund at The Pittsburgh Foundation to help fund her dissertation research in Europe this summer. Kylie’s dissertation, advised by Professor Erin Benay, explores the formidable role that engravings played in how ancient Rome was understood, imagined, and remembered in the sixteenth century.



Russell David Green

Russell David Green is a first-year doctoral student studying medieval art with Professor Elina Gertsman. He received his MA in Art History from Florida State University in 2018, where in his final semester he was awarded with the I.N. Winbury Award for outstanding writing. Russell’s current research interests revolve around questions of medieval image theory and the body, with a particular emphasis on the materiality and perception of bodily substances—such as blood, tears, and other fluids—in reference to late-medieval sculpture. Prior to studying art history full-time, Russell received his Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus in painting. After exhibiting his undergraduate thesis at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts in the spring of 2015, he taught several painting workshops based on the materials and techniques of the Renaissance masters. In his free time, Russell enjoys painting portraits of his friends, watching tennis, and day-dreaming about his future dog.



Gilbert Jones

Gilbert Jones is a second-year doctoral student studying late medieval art with Professor Elina Gertsman. He received his MA in Art History from Syracuse University in 2013 and a Graduate Certificate in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from Texas Tech University. His primary research interest is the intersection of architecture, movement, and identity construction. He plans to explore the relationships between processional routes, miracle-working objects, and the late medieval cityscape. His article, “Edges and Borders in Trecento Italian Art: Pseudo-Kufic in Duccio’s Maestà,” is forthcoming from Brepols. Before coming to CWRU, Gilbert worked as the Docent Coordinator and Assistant Curator of Education at the Museum of Texas Tech. Gilbert currently serves on the Art History Graduate Mentor/Mentee Committee and is the co-chair of the department’s Lecture Committee. Gilbert has delivered papers at several conferences, including the International Congress on Medieval Studies and the Renaissance Society of America. In 2010, he founded the Graduate Student and Emerging Scholars committee of the Italian Art Society and later served on the board of the IAS as the Events and Membership Coordinator.


Alexandra Kaczenski

Alexandra Kaczenski is a first-year PhD student studying late medieval art with Professor Elina Gertsman. Her research interests include the intersection of manuscript illumination and print culture, devotional and collecting practices, and gender studies. She co-authored the book Sacred Landscapes: Nature in Renaissance Manuscripts, with Dr. Bryan Keene, to coincide with their exhibition of the same name (Getty Museum, 2017). She has also presented papers at the Medieval Association of the Pacific and the Oxford Medieval Graduate Conference. Alexandra comes to Cleveland from her native Los Angeles where she worked as both Curatorial Graduate Intern and Curatorial Assistant in the Manuscripts Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum. During her time at the Getty she curated an exhibition, Manuscripts in the Age of Print (2019), and was involved with various digitization and provenance projects. She received her MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2013, and has held positions at Bonhams Auctioneers, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the New Orleans Museum of Art, among others.



Benjamin Levy

Benjamin Levy is a first-year Ph.D. student working with Professors Andrea Rager and Henry Adams on late nineteenth-century European art and its impact on twentieth-century American art, bringing to his studies an expertise in prints and photographs. Levy served as the Assistant Curator for Collections & Academic Programs at the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington and as the Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Prints, Drawings & Photographs at the Baltimore Museum of Art. His essay “State Proof: Negotiating Print’s Place” was published in the exhibition catalog for DISCURSIVE, University of Oregon, and he was a contributing author for the journal Art in Print for five years. Levy was the Co-Director of the 2012 and 2015 Baltimore Contemporary Print Fairs, and serves on the National Advisory Board for the Tamarind Institute, University of New Mexico. A 2009 graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Levy studied printmaking, book arts, and photography, gaining collaborative printmaking experience at Harland & Weaver, Inc. and Dieu Donné in New York.



Lauryn Smith is a third-year doctoral student specializing in early modern Dutch and Flemish paintings and European decorative arts under the supervision of Professor Catherine B. Scallen. Lauryn’s current research interests include global trends of exchange and mobility; interrelationships among gender, patronage, and collecting; and the exploration of the boundary between fine and decorative arts. In 2017 she received the Eva L. Pancoast Memorial Fellowship to participate in a Dutch language immersion course. Lauryn has presented her research at several professional conferences, including the 2018 Dressing the Early Modern Network Conference at the Abegg-Stiftung (Switzerland). She also co-organized an international Music and Visual Culture Conference in Toronto in 2016. An aspiring curator, Lauryn completed internships in North America and the UK, including a curatorial placement at the Cuming Museum (London) and Christie’s (Toronto). She is currently the curatorial intern in the CMA Department of European Painting and Sculpture under the supervision of Dr. Betsy Wieseman. Additionally, Lauryn serves as co-chair of the Department Lecture Committee for the 2018-19 academic year.



Sam Truman

Sam Truman is a first-year doctoral student studying medieval art with Professor Elina Gertsman. Sam is interested in the tension which arises between humanity and divinity in scenes that depict the death of Christ. She is particularly interested in examining the role of the Virgin Mary as an archetype of grief in Lamentation scenes. Sam also studies the intersection of liturgical art and historical practice, specifically in regards to the practical function of altarpieces and reliquaries. She received her BA in Liberal Studies from Shimer College in 2015 and her MA in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2018. Prior to coming to Case Western, Sam worked as an intern in the library and archives of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In this position, she wrote metadata for the digitized exhibition of Old Masters Now: Celebrating the Johnson Collection. She has also previously worked for the Oriental Institute Museum and the Archdiocese of Chicago.



Angelica Verduci

Angelica Verduci is a second-year Ph.D. student in medieval art, excited to be working with Professor Elina Gertsman whose interest in macabre imagery mirrors her own. Angelica’s primary research interests include late medieval frescoes depicting the Last Judgment, the Dance of Death, and the Triumph of Death; her particular focus is on the intersections of visual imagery, performance, pastoral theology and vernacular culture. She received both her B.A. and M.A. in Art History (cum laude) at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. She also received a diploma in Archive Administration, Paleography and Diplomatics from the Milan Archivio di Stato. Before moving to Cleveland, Angelica worked as an intern at Capitolo Metropolitano (Library and Archive) of the Duomo of Milan, as well as at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. Currently, she is serving as a teaching assistant for Art History 101 and co-chairing the 44th Cleveland Symposium, entitled Built Environments and Performances of Power, to be held at the Cleveland Museum of Art on October 26, 2018. As an Italian native, Angelica enjoys teaching some Italian to other students in the program.




Bing Wang is a fourth-year Ph.D. student working with Professor Andrea Rager. She concentrates on global photography 1839–1939, with focus on East, South, and Southeast Asia. Now a curatorial intern in the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, she is researching for the upcoming exhibition on Chinese photography. In her third year, as a curatorial intern under the supervision of Dr. Barbara Tannenbaum, Curator of Photography at the Cleveland Museum of Art, she worked on standardizing the terminology used to describe media/process in the CMA photographic collection and researched an album of photographs by one of the most celebrated 19th-century Indian photographer Raja Deen Dayal (1844–1905). After she earned a bachelor’s degree in Museology from China, she joined the Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management (F+PPCM) Master of Arts, a collaborative program between Ryerson University, Toronto, and George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, and completed both the photography and film tracks. She has recently presented her research at the annual conferences of the Midwest Art History Society and of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association.




James Wehn is a sixth-year PhD candidate. Advised by Professor Catherine B. Scallen, James studies early modern printmaking. His dissertation examines the engravings of Israhel van Meckenem (German, c.1440/45-1503) as a means to understand how early print markets conveyed and influenced ideas about image-making, authorship, reproduction, and authenticity during the late fifteenth century. James has presented several papers, including “Cultivating Designs: Early Ornamental Prints and Creative Reproduction” at the conference Multiplied and Modified: Reception of the Printed Image in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries in Warsaw, Poland. His article “New Thoughts on Hans Burgkmair’s Mercury, Venus, and Cupid” appeared in Print Quarterly (September 2017). Before coming to CWRU, James was the Margaret R. Mainwaring Curatorial Fellow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He recently completed a two-year post at the Cleveland Museum of Art as the Andrew W. Mellon Pre-doctoral Curatorial Fellow of Prints and Drawings.


M.A. Students


Jacob Emmett

Jacob Emmett is a second-year MA student in Art History and Museum Studies. His primary research interests include Roman architecture and art, especially the liminality of monuments and spaces; reception; visuality; and collecting. Jacob earned his BA in both Classics and Art History from Washington University in Saint Louis, at which time he interned with both the American Academy in Rome and the Saint Louis Art Museum. More recently, he presented a paper at UNC-Chapel Hill’s annual graduate conference. He has also completed collections research as the Cleveland Museum of Art Fellow, alongside interning with the Intermuseum Conservation Association and working for the inaugural FRONT triennial.

Mia Hafer

Mia Hafer is a first-year MA student in Art History particularly interested in medieval art. Her research interests include representations of identity and otherness, and how markers of gender, sexuality, religion, and nationality inform medieval secular imagery. She received her BA in art history and anthropology (magna cum laude) from Case Western Reserve University, where her paper “At Home, Abroad, and on the Wade Cup” received the Noah L. Butkin award from the Department of Art History and Art. Mia has previously served as the Collections Management intern for the CWRU Putnam Sculpture Collection. In her spare time she enjoys painting, trying new foods, and attempting to train her dog.



Hannah Hilditch is a second-year graduate student pursuing an MA degree in Art History and Museum Studies. She received her BA in Art History and Museum Studies, with a minor in French, from Alma College. In recent years, she has worked as a museum shop intern at the Cincinnati Art Museum and as a grant writing intern for Dramakinetics of Cincinnati.  During the past year, she has worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland as a curatorial intern. Currently, she is interested in studying contemporary art, gaze theory, feminist art history, and museology. Hannah’s favorite part of the graduate program is the department’s affiliation with the Cleveland Museum of Art, which affords her many experiential learning opportunities.


Kate Hublou


Kate Hublou is a second-year MA student in art history and museum studies. She is interested in modern British, Germanic, and Scandinavian art and design. Kate holds a BA in art history and Scandinavian languages from the University of Minnesota, where she won the departmental prize for her senior thesis “Welding Independence: An International Approach to Norwegian Enameling.” Kate has completed several fellowships and internships in art museums, including the Warshawsky Fellowship at the Cleveland Museum of Art (2015) and the O’Brien Curatorial Fellowship at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis (2015-2016). She is currently a curatorial intern in decorative arts and design at the Cleveland Museum of Art where she is helping curate Color and Comfort: Swedish Modern Design.


Julia LaPlaca

Julia LaPlaca is a second-year MA student in the Art History/Museum Studies program. She graduated summa cum laude from Calvin College with majors in art history and English. Before coming to Case, Julia interned at the Muskegon Museum of Art. She co-curated an exhibition on Grand Rapids artist Jaro Hess (1889-1977) at the 106 Division Gallery in Grand Rapids in 2016 and assisted with program planning for the exhibition Stirring the World: Printmaking in the Age of Martin Luther (September 5 – October 14, 2017) at Calvin College’s Center Art Gallery. Recently, Julia completed a book project on the late congressman Dr. Vernon J. Ehlers (1934-2017). This fall, she is interning in the textiles conservation lab at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Julia is interested in early modern European art and the museum’s function as a teaching space.



Tori Laser

Tori Laser is a second-year MA student in Art History and Museum Studies. Her research interests include American art, especially colonial portraiture, viewer reception, and portraiture’s roles in society. Tori graduated from John Carroll University with a BA in Art History, minoring in English Literature. She interned at the Cleveland Museum of Art in the Marketing and Communications Department and with ArtNEO as a curatorial intern. This fall she will intern with the Cleveland Museum of Art as part of the Museum Studies program. She chose the CWRU program for its affiliation with the Cleveland Museum of Art and the professional opportunities it allows her to explore. When not writing and studying, Tori enjoys practicing yoga, baking, baking, and exploring new cities.

Click here to view an article on The Daily featuring Tori!



Photo of Lauren Standing

Lauren Lovings-Gomez is a second year MA student in Art History and Museum Studies. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Art History and French from the University of Houston. Her research interests include British and French art during the long nineteenth century with a focus on Pre-Raphaelitism, Aestheticism, the Arts & Crafts Movement, gender representation, and material culture. Lauren recently presented her paper “Sexuality, Repression, and Female Agency in Edmond Aman-Jean’s Portrait of a Woman” at the Ohio State University 2018 Graduate Symposium. She is currently a curatorial intern for the European Paintings and Sculpture department at the Cleveland Museum of Art where she has been documenting and researching the museum’s extensive lace collection. Lauren also serves as a 2018-2019 co-chair of the Graduate Art History Association (GAHA).

On Saturday, March 9, second-year MA student Lauren Lovings-Gomez presented her paper “Antiquity, Exoticism, and Nature in Gold ‘Lotus and Dragon-fly’ Comb with Cyprian Glass Fragment” at the 36th Annual Art History Graduate Symposium at Florida State University. She was also able to see CWRU alumna Alexa Amore (MA, Class of 2018), working on her PhD at the IFA, present her paper “Ambiguous Matter: The Intermediality and Disjunctive Temporalities of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Gothic Ivory Devotional Booklet.”



Thomas Martis

Thomas Martis is a second-year student pursuing an MA in Art History and Museum Studies. He graduated cum laude with a BA in Art History and Italian from College of the Holy Cross, where he belonged to both the Italian Gamma Kappa Alpha honor society and the College Honors Program. He is most interested in Italian Baroque painting and the relationship between art and the Counter-Reformation. Most recently, he presented at the graduate student conference “Context and Meaning XVII: Complete Imperfection” held at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where he presented his undergraduate thesis, “William James Stillman: Ruin, Decay, and the Acropolis of Athens.” He has interned at Gonnelli: Libreria Antiquaria – Casa d’Aste, in the development department of the Worcester Art Museum, and in collections research at the Worcester Historical Museum.



Reed O'Mara

Reed O’Mara is a first-year MA student and Barbato Fellow in Art History who focuses on medieval, specifically German, art. Reed graduated summa cum laude at the University of Alabama with a B.A. in Foreign Languages and Literature and a B.S. in Economics in 2017. Her research interests include manuscript illuminations, sacred geometry, and the macabre. Reed also has interests in the theoretical implications of materials used in sacred objects and how these interact with either devotional or liturgical settings. She has presented papers at various conferences, including the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo. In her free time, Reed enjoys rock climbing and road biking.


Erica Spilger

Erica Spilger is a first-year MA student in the Art History and Museum Studies program. Her interests lie primarily in how artists respond to suppressive social, cultural, and especially religious conditions through visual means as it pertains to northern European and global Baroque art, as well as contemporary art. Erica received her BA in Art History from Ohio University through the Honors Tutorial College. For her undergraduate thesis, she curated an exhibition titled “Expression and Repression: Contemporary Art Censorship in America” at the Kennedy Museum of Art in Athens, Ohio. In the summer of 2016 she was a Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellow at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, where she worked in the American Art department.



Gabrielle van Ravenswaay

Gabrielle van Ravenswaay is a second-year MA student in the Art History program. Her research interests include Dutch and Flemish seventeenth-century art, the Global Baroque, and Dutch colonialism. Gaby received her BA in Art History from the University of Central Florida. There, she was awarded the College of Arts and Humanities Honors in the Major Scholarship for her undergraduate thesis project, “Subjects of the Gaze: Rubens and his Female Portraits.” In the summer of 2018, Gaby served as a curatorial intern at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida where she gained experience assisting in research and label-writing for the upcoming exhibitions “Woodblock Prints in Postwar Japan” and “Watercolors from the Permanent Collection.”



Rebecca Woodruff

Rebecca Woodruff is a first-year MA student in Art History and Museum Studies. She is most interested in studying the long eighteenth century—especially in respect to concepts such as patronage and identity. Rebecca earned her BA from Calvin College where she majored in Art History and minored in Studio Art. Before coming to Case, she worked as a curatorial intern at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan and interned as a content researcher for Enfilade, the serial newsletter for Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art & Architecture. Rebecca has also presented a number of conference papers, including “Empathetic Confrontations: David, Kauffman, and Homeric Narratives” at the Midwest Art History Society in Cleveland.