Year   2015
Current Location/Position  Current Ph.D. student at the University of Cambridge (MPhil in Archaeology)

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

Born and raised in California, I was initially drawn to UCLA because of its renowned Art and Art History Departments. I was especially interested in the diversity of classes offered in Art History. I recall being very impressed with the campus and the friendliness of its students and staff when I first toured UCLA. I remember feeling truly welcomed and I knew that it was the right university for me.

Why did you decide to study Art History?

I am a practicing visual artist and my work has often been inspired by historical themes and styles. I have always loved history, especially history of the ancient world. I took a college course in Art History while in high school and absolutely loved it. Art History allowed me to apply my knowledge of art to the study of past cultures.

Any fond memories of your time studying Art History at UCLA?  Can you tell us a bit about any faculty members you worked with?

I have so many fond memories from UCLA! Some of my favorite courses in the Art History Department include Byzantine Art, Art of Pre-Columbian Americas, Art Historical theory, and Art of Southeast Asia. Looking back, I am appreciative of the wide array of classes I was able to take at UCLA. The training I received UCLA has driven my interest in cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary work, as well as provided me with a broader perspective and appreciation of cultural diversity.  All of the faculty members in the Art History department were so supportive, caring, and generous with their time when I was a BA student. I am especially appreciative for the guidance of Stella Nair, who to this day is an important and inspirational mentor in my life. I would not be where I am today without her support and encouragement!

Where are you now?
I am currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Cambridge conducting at Ph.D. in Archeology. During my first year at UCLA, I took courses in Ancient Art and the Art of Pre-Columbian Americas. Consequently, I had the opportunity to serve as a field assistant to an Archeological research team in Peru. I then decided to pursue a double major in Art History and Anthropology with a specialization in Archeology. While at UCLA, I applied to the Masters program at Cambridge due to its strength in Archeological theory and opportunities for field experience. I then applied for the Ph.D. program in Archeology and received the Gates Cambridge Scholarship to continue my research at Cambridge.

Please share some of your upcoming plans and projects!

My Ph.D. work is based on archeological excavations on the Peruvian South Coast in the Ica Valley. I finished two months of fieldwork this past summer at a small site in the Ica Valley and found a fantastic array of artifacts from the 500 years of occupation. The hyper-arid environment of the Valley allows for the perfect preservation of an extensive material record including textiles, leather, wood, metal, and ceramic artifacts. My research aims at understanding the socio-political organization of the Ica people during the Late Intermediate Period (1000-1476 CE) as well as addressing issues of cultural identity, memory, and political collapse. My work analyzes the cultural resistance and persistence of the Ica people during the repeated rise and fall of hegemonic powers that ruled over the Valley from the Middle Horizon to Spanish Colonial Period (600 -1560 CE).