Tell us a bit about your background – where were you born and raised? How did you decide to attend UCLA, and why did you decide to study Art History?

I was born and raised in Orange County, California. I decided to attend UCLA after I visited the campus and interacted with the students, both current and prospective. I found myself drawn to the diversity and energy of the student population and the faculty. Although I have always loved art, I originally entered UCLA with a major in neuroscience. After taking Stella Nair’s introductory seminar about art and architecture in the ancient Americas, I became fascinated by the field of art history and how art intersected with, and provided insight to, the cultural, religious, and societal practices of various groups and time periods.

Any fond memories of your time studying art history at UCLA?  Any fond memories of faculty members that you worked with?

My favorite art history moments at UCLA were while I was working on my research project entitled Manipulating the Senses and Making Art: An Analysis of Inca Vilca Usage, which merged my interests in both art history, with a focus on the Andes, and neuroscience. I especially enjoyed collaborating with my mentor Stella Nair and members of the Andean Lab, who helped me grow as a researcher and art historian.

Please share some of your upcoming plans and projects!

I am currently applying to medical school and hope to attend next fall. I also plan to progress my work on my senior art history research project and continue to enjoy experiencing and studying art recreationally. Although, I am choosing to pursue a career in medicine, my time studying art history at UCLA and the faculty and peers I have worked with along the way have helped to shape my worldview. I hope to bring the perspective and skills I have learned into my future career and have an artful lens color my future career in medicine.

Read more about Emilie’s work as part of the Andean Lab at UCLA, and watch her present her original research on Inca Vilcas here!