The Graduate Work Spotlight series features graduate students and their work study projects. The CAS work study program provides students with tangible work experience and helps support them financially with earned stipends. This series highlights student positions and how they support the department.
Nicole Martin, a second year MA student in the art history department, works as the Graduate Student Liaison for the AU Art History Alumni Network for the 2019-2020 school year. The Alumni Network is an initiative started in the 2018-2019 school year to revitalize the AU art history alumni community. The Alumni Network’s goal is to foster a connected and informed alumni community. “We are planning to reinstate the ARTifacts newsletter, establish social media groups specifically for alumni, and plan annual events and meet-ups,” said Martin. “Ideally, we hope to serve both past and present students in their endeavors beyond AU.”
Martin previously served as the Student Coordinator for the 2018 AU Feminist Art History Conference. Her dedication and hard work with the AUFAHC sharpened her administrative and networking skills, and proved that she was the perfect person to take over the Alumni Network initiative. Many of her current responsibilities overlap with those of the AUFAHC Student Coordinator who compiles contact data for the conference and creates newsletters: “As the student liaison [for the Alumni Network], I compiled as many alumni contacts as possible for the network. I’ve established our mailing list and distributed the initial email announcing the return of the network.”
Her new position empowers her to go beyond her previous role by allowing her to begin a dialogue within the alumni community. She and the art history department will structure the newsletters and focus of the network based on feedback from the alumni community. “After hearing back from alumni about what they would like to see from us, our next steps include drafting our first newsletter, planning events, and connecting current students with local alumni,” said Martin.
Martin enthusiastically informed us on the progress on the network’s relaunch: “I just completed initial email announcing the official return of the network. It doesn’t seem like a particularly difficult process to send out the email, but it took quite some time to compile addresses, consult with a few alumni, create the survey, and code the email. Overall, I’m pleased with the work that has been accomplished this semester, as it will be beneficial for future students of the program!”
Martin taught herself how to code online newsletters for the project. “So far, the biggest challenges have been technology related,” she laughs. “The system for Listerv newsletters is not entirely straightforward, so I’ve had to teach myself some basic coding and consult with other students who are familiar with this type of work. Even though the technology stuff feels a bit out of my comfort zone, it’s definitely worthwhile and will be useful for future projects!”
Martin, who will graduate in May 2020, appreciates the opportunity to help build the network: “As a second-year graduate student, I’m happy to help with revitalizing the network for a number of reasons. Life after graduation is on my mind lately, so it’s exciting to think about making connections with alumni who have more experience in life after receiving their masters at AU. It’s also exciting to think about the network after I graduate. I’d love the opportunity to stay engaged and updated on the faculty and program. As a student, I know how intimidating it can be to think about careers after AU, so I’d be happy to connect with future students and help in any way I can!”
“I have no doubt that I will transfer my work-study experiences to future professional positions. From website and email coding to coordinating major events, I’m thankful for all of the opportunities I’ve received from CAS and the AU Art History program. I’m thrilled and grateful to serve the program that has given so much to me and my education!”
If any AU Art History alumni have yet to join the new alumni network, email Nicole to be added to the mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org.