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Marilyn J. Stokstad Spencer Museum of Art Student Award

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The Stokstad Student Awards honor undergraduate and graduate students who make major contributions to advancing the mission of the Museum. Recipients are nominated and selected annually by Spencer staff.

Dr. Marilyn Stokstad served as director of the Spencer from 1961 to 1968 and remained a longtime friend and advocate of the Museum throughout her life. As director, she created pioneering publications and exhibitions that shaped future directions of the Museum and acquired many works of art that remain hallmarks of the Spencer’s collection.

2018 Recipients

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Grace Clark

Grace, a graduate student in higher education administration, has elevated the position of multicultural coordinator at the Museum by expanding the kinds of work that can be accomplished within this role. Building upon the materials from Museums as Sites for Social Action, she has skillfully created a series of activities and prompts to further develop the Museum’s critical thinking about how to better serve our communities. Grace has also risen to challenges that are outside her role as the Museum’s multicultural coordinator.

Haley Claxton

Haley, JD, School of Law, has contributed expertise and enthusiasm to the Spencer Museum through her work as the legal extern. Haley has expanded the reach of her knowledge by incorporating her work into public programming and through deepening the Spencer’s relationship with the University of Kansas Law School. Her willingness to delve into any research question while also expanding the Museum’s public outreach has been deeply appreciated by the Museum’s staff.

Michelle Oboro

Michelle, a junior in psychology, has consistently exhibited exceptional spirit and dedication in her role as student public programs and visitor experience assistant. Michelle brings energy and thoughtfulness to her interactions with visitors. Additionally, Michelle went above and beyond by serving on a staff search committee within the Spencer, working over the winter break and offering invaluable input.

Reilly Shwab

Reilly, a PhD candidate in art history, has consistently brought exceptional expertise to the Spencer Museum, having served for two consecutive years as intern in the works on paper curatorial area. Reilly’s research, writing, and editing contributions for the exhibition and catalogue Big Botany greatly enhanced their quality. With an easygoing and professional demeanor, Reilly has always been ready to assist with any task to uncover new layers of knowledge.

2017 Recipients

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Samantha Lyons

Sam, a graduate student in art history, has done an outstanding job as the curatorial intern in European and American art for the past two years. Sam also assisted with several grant applications and curated the exhibition Power Clashing: Clothing, Collage, and Contemporary Identities, which opens in the fall of 2017. She has a great team spirit and brings tremendous professionalism and great art historical and broad-based research skills to every task.

Sydney Pursel

Sydney, a graduate student in expanded media, has taken on several diverse projects while serving as the global indigenous art intern. She has been instrumental in implementing a complex NEH-funded project and co-developed the exhibition, Separate and Not Equal: A History of Race and Education in America. Sydney also took the initiative to handle one of the most significant parts of the 2017 KU Powwow and Indigenous Culture Festival that connected KU with tribal elders and members.

Kassandra Valles

Kassandra, a senior student in history and global & international studies, has contributed to the Museum as the education student assistant for several years. She is open to assisting with all duties to related to developing educational and outreach programs for K–12 audiences, and also assists with KU classes and student activities. She recently took a leadership role in the student-curated exhibition American Dream.

Weitian Yan

Weitian, a PhD candidate in art history, assisted with several major projects during his two years as a curatorial intern in Asian art. He skillfully executed many tasks for both the catalogue and exhibition Temporal Turn: Art & Speculation in Contemporary Asia, and helped organized an international conference on Korean painted screens. He has also participated broadly across the Museum, researching works in the collection and working with classes from across disciplines.

2016 Recipients

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Emma Cormack

Emma, a senior majoring in art history and French, has worked at the Spencer Museum of Art as the rights and reproductions assistant since August 2014. She makes exceptional contributions to the day-to-day work of the Museum by providing thoughtful and efficient customer service for rights and reproduction image requests.

Rose Wolf

Rose, a junior majoring in visual art education, has consistently demonstrated a high level of commitment to her work at the Spencer Museum. She has embraced the complex skills required for her archivist assistant position, from digitization to data entry, and is deeply involved in research on the Spencer’s Thayer collection. Her productivity and efficiency have made her an invaluable employee.