Alumni Research & Creative Activity

Rachel Pool

Curating Exhibitions at Scottsdale's Museum of the West

Rachel Pool, an alumna of the School of Art's Interior Design Program and Comparative Cultural Studies, has been working as an Associate Curator at Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West since June 2016. She has been involved in two major projects, The Scottsdale Craftsmen: A 70-Year Legacy, which opened in late December 2016 and will run through December 2017, and The Taos Society of Artists, which is on display from January - April 30, 2017.  For the former exhibition, which highlights a historic center that played a critical role in the development of Scottsdale's cultural identity, Pool served as the curator; she also did all the research and writing of the text panels. The latter made it as one of "11 can't-miss museum exhibits this winter" in USA Today and includes over 80 works of art by members of the Taos Society. For information, see

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NAU graduate of interior design, Gabriela Jacobsen, has been working in the Masters program specializing in Architectural Lighting Design with Sapienza Rome University in Italy.  She has recently had the once in a lifetime opportunity to work on the new lighting system for one of the most recognized historical monument projects in the world - the Roman Coliseum.  This project will last several months and the Architectural Lighting Designers will bring new ideas to the entire lighting system using new technology such as LED lamps, wireless technology, connectors, and sensor controls.

Recent NAU Theatre graduate Megan Hansen has been cast in in one of their house stages for Chicago’s The Second City House Ensembles. She will be performing every week for a year starting in April 2015. 

The Arizona Art Education Association has honored several NAU alumni with awards for outstanding achievements in the teaching of art. Jessalyn Carpino(class of 2011) received an award for Outstanding First-Year Professional Art Educator. Jessalyn is the art educator at BASIS Flagstaff. Janeece Henes (class of 1997) received an award for Outstanding High School Art Educator. Janeece teaches art at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy. Kelly Martin (class of 2011) received the Emerging Leadership Award. Kelly teaches at Keys College Preparatory School, Tempe. Devin Smith (class of 2009) received an award for Outstanding Elementary Art Educator. Devin is an art educator at Highland Lakes School, Glendale.

 Aaron Wilder, art history graduate, has had an active exhibition schedule for his mixed media, two-dimensional art in both D.C. and New York. His solo show, “The World Political,” was on display at the Pierce School in D.C. from January to March 2014. A production of the Evolve Urban Arts Project, this collection of work analyzed the fragments of national identity in a globalized world. Aaron was also in two group shows this spring, “Spring Art Market” in Manhattan at SPACEWOMb Gallery, and “SPECTRUM,” a one-day multi-media art event produced by RawArtists on April 27 in D.C.

Margaret Sheble, art history alum with a minor in Museum Studies, is currently working on a Masters in Arthurian Literature at Bangor University in North Wales. She has participated in planning a postgraduate “Medievalism Transformed” conference and served as an editor for the Bibliography of the International Arthurian Society. When she returns to the States at the end of the summer, Margaret will attend Purdue University for an MA in Medieval Literature. 

Danielle DeLano graduated with a double major in Comparative Cultural Studies and Political Science, and minors in Asian Studies and Chinese language. She also completed five semesters of Arabic, and served as a Teaching Assistant for Religions of the World. This fall, Danielle will attend the University of Chicago, where she will pursue a Masters of History of Religions with a focus on Buddhism. She was also awarded a Divinity School Scholarship which will cover half of her tuition. 

Ian Olsen, religious studies graduate, will attend Harvard University in the Fall of 2014 to study Tibetan Buddhism.

Lee Bishop, religious studies graduate, will attend Arizona State University to study the religious of Southeast Asia.

William Ramsey, who completed a double major in Religious Studies and Music in 2014, is headed to the University of Colorado to pursue graduate studies in religion with a focus on Islam and Music.

Kim Wardle, art history graduate, will start the MS in Speech Pathology program at the University of Arizona this fall.

Erin Carter, a 2013 Art History alum, will attend Syracuse University where she will also work as a teaching assistant.

Derek Burdette, a 2005 Art History alumni who received his Ph.D. from Tulane in 2012, has been appointed to a three year visiting professor position at Swarthmore College. 

Brandon Jovanovich has been cast as “The Prince,” the tenor lead in Dvorak’s Rusalka performed by the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Rusalka has been largely missing from American opera houses until very recently, often because of the difficult Czech language. However, critic Wynne Delacoma writes “With singers such as…passionate tenor Brandon Jovanovich able to sound entirely at home with both the words and the music, the opera is finally finding its way into the repertoire.” 

 Jessica Walsh, a 2013 NAU graduate with a degree in interior design and a minor in merchandising, presented her final capstone project entitled “Creative Healing at Any Age” at the 2013 Undergraduate Symposium. Her poster highlighted her design for a functional art therapy center in Flagstaff for older adults.  “The idea of art therapy has always been a personal interest, and I wanted to learn more about it,” said Walsh. The project became an opportunity to research how best to design an art therapy center to meet the needs of this specific group of clients.

David Stoll, School of Art alumni, illustrated a piece for “School Arts,” a national art education magazine. The piece, titled “Interview with a Sequential Artist,” is a two-page comic strip illustrating his interview with the magazine and can be found in the December 2010 issue of the magazine.

Former painting major Eleanor Aldrich was selected for a new program and exhibition, "Open Sessions," at The Drawing Center in NYC.

Ben Jordan ('13), a ceramics alum, has won a competitive short-term residency at Red Lodge Clay Center. 

School of Art graduate Rebecca Rose has been awarded this year's Halstead Grant. 

Rochelle Garcia (class of 2010) has been named Outstanding First Year Art Educator. Rochelle teaches art at Granite Mountain Middle School in Prescott Unified School District. Both Kat and Rochelle were given their awards at the annual AAEA conference.