LUNDER INSTITUTE INTERNS AND
RESEARCH ASSISTANTS REFLECT ON THE PAST YEAR
In the 2020–21 academic year, the Lunder Institute employed eight Colby College student research assistants and interns. In this feature, they reflect on a challenging but rewarding year and their individual contributions to the Institute’s fellowships and related programs.
Research Fellows Program
Three research assistants supported the Lunder Institute’s Research Fellows Program.
Marina Takagi ’21
I’m an art history major, and working for the Lunder Institute has been an exciting opportunity this year. It was a great learning experience for me, as I had never researched art of the American Southwest, and I was unfamiliar with the Taos art colony. Working for Hadley Jensen and Elizabeth Hawley was very enjoyable, and I loved the interdisciplinary approach they both had in their research. I have learned so much about how to be a better art history researcher, working with professionals, and broadening my knowledge of American history. It was unfortunate that I never got to meet the research fellows in person, but I hope I will have the chance to work with them again in the future. Thank you to the Lunder Institute, Tanya Sheehan, and Jessamine Batario for their support and encouragement and for giving me this wonderful opportunity to grow as a student.
John Shamgochian ’21
It was an absolute pleasure to work as a research assistant for Caroline Fernald and Jill Yohe this year. Having never taken a college-level art history course, I had no idea what to expect when I began this position. I was so delighted to discover a rich body of scholarship that was both unfamiliar and fascinating to me. Thanks to the guidance of Tanya Sheehan and Jessamine Batario, I was able to navigate this material with the skills and theory that I have learned as an anthropology major. In this interdisciplinary space, I honed my research technique and became conversant with material culture.
Whitney White ’21
Working as a research assistant for the Lunder Institute has been a great way to cap my time as an art history student at Colby. Apart from gaining background in an area of art history I didn’t have the chance to learn about in the classroom, I was also exposed to new research methods—from looking through museum archives to contacting scholars at institutions across the country—that have changed my perception about what art historical research can look like. I am also thankful for the mentorship opportunities that this experience has afforded me, from both the fellows and the Lunder Institute staff. Overall, this experience has given me a greater appreciation for American art of the Southwest and has helped me develop the skills and confidence necessary to continue my study of art history in the future.
Senior Fellows Program
Two research assistants supported the work of senior fellows Romi Crawford and Naeem Mohaiemen and Distinguished Visiting Artist Theaster Gates.
Sam Scott ’22
I came to the Lunder Institute as a writer with a sound but unimpressive routine, and working with Naeem Mohaiemen has broadened my artistic horizons in ways I’d never have been brave enough to do on my own. The Institute gave me an opportunity to rework the way I think about engaging with and creating art with a professional whose creative process was fundamentally different from my own. It was an invaluable experience; I’ve already seen changes in my methodology for my creative courses, but perhaps more notably in my literature and philosophy courses as well. It’s been an incredible year, and Naeem has been both kind and motivating, despite the hurdles COVID presented. Thank you to the Lunder Institute, to Daisy B. Desrosiers (director of artist programs at the Institute), and to Naeem Mohaiemen for putting together a program that will enliven the artistic experiences of many who come through Colby and the surrounding community. They don’t know how lucky they are.
Emmanuel Sogunle ’21
Being an economics and education major, I never thought I would work so closely with the arts. But thanks to this internship at the Lunder Institute, I have gotten the opportunity to expose myself to a field I probably would’ve never worked in. Under the supportive supervision of Daisy Desrosiers, I have gotten to work with brilliant scholars and artists like Romi Crawford and Theaster Gates. They have pushed me to think more creatively about how to approach research and truly supported me both as a student and professionally. Working at the Institute has truly been a highlight for me at Colby and has given me the chance to not only work on projects like the Makers’ Map but to have that work published and shared with the world. I can’t thank Daisy enough for everything she has done for me—and many thanks to Romi Crawford and Theaster Gates for trusting me to help them with their work!
Lunder-Buck Internship Program
In collaboration with the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment at Colby, the Lunder Institute organized a joint internship program to bring together two Colby students to work for Maya Lin, a Lunder Institute senior fellow. Helen Bennett ’22 and Cal Waichler ’21 compiled research to create an environmental history of Maine that resulted in an installation at the Arts Collaborative. The public program “Maine on the Map of Memory” featured the two students as they reflected on their experiences.
Helen Bennett ’22
My work with the Lunder Institute has shown me the powerful ways that art can interact with other disciplines. I have been able to see the value of the Institute beyond its commitment to art, and this has been very special. Personally, I feel like I have grown so much this year in terms of research skills, interdisciplinary collaboration, and my understanding of the world. I have also become interested in the various paths that an architectural education can inspire. Maya Lin and the Lunder Institute have certainly instilled this idea—in terms of both combining passions and recognizing responsibilities toward a variety of issues. I have felt so welcomed by the Institute and everyone at the museum this year and really look forward to continuing these relationships next year.Perhaps, in a few words, the Lunder Institute means responsibility, consideration, dedication, creativity, collaboration, inspiration, and innovation.
Cal Waichler ’21
My Lunder-Buck internship has been one of the highlights of my senior year. It has allowed me to pull together wide-ranging personal interests and knowledge from different disciplines and Colby courses. While working on the What Is Missing? project, I have witnessed new roles for art and collaborated with a range of incredible people. The Lunder Institute has given me the opportunity to do interesting and impactful research as a student. Personally, this work has opened windows to new ways I may apply my artistic self to addressing environmental issues.
Engagement and Programming Intern
In 2020–21, Alexis Kinney ’22 worked to support the Lunder Institute’s initiatives by conducting research on contemporary artists interested in environmental justice and artificial intelligence. She prepared six artist dossiers that included biographical information, images of significant projects, and linked resources. She also prepared a research packet on Alfonso Ossorio’s Untitled (Chateau d’Yquem), in the Colby Museum’s permanent collection.
Alexis Kinney ’22
Working at the Lunder Institute has given me the opportunity to develop my research skills on various projects. These skills include creating annotated bibliographies and comprehensive presentations on artworks by potential artists whom we might invite to Colby. I research artists to see who would be the best fit at Colby not only for the student body and the curriculum but also for the Waterville community. My position at the Institute has helped me narrow down what the next steps of my career may look like in the art world after Colby. The Lunder Institute has exposed me to many artists and experiences that have been intertwined into my academic experience.