Alumni Notes - 2020

Art History

James Blumenfield, BA ‘85, welcomed his third grandchild in August 2019, and his son will graduate high school in May 2020 to attend High Point University in North Carolina. He continues to grow his marketing consultancy, The WilMark Group, with his husband.

Susan Davis, MA ‘79, just returned from Saudi Arabia where the organization she founded, Desert X, opened a site responsive art exhibition. Desert X AlUla featured 14 artists from eight countries, including five from Saudi Arabia.

Art History and Fine Arts

Nell Taylor-Christy, MA ‘03, currently lives in Washington, D.C. and enjoys travel related to art history, architectural history and interior design.

Elizabeth (Richardson) McKemy, BA ‘85, has been teaching Art (drawing, painting, traditional crafts) and AP Art History for 18 years in a suburban high school near Reading. Pennsylvania. She has two daughters, one attending Clemson and one who is a University of Alabama graduate.

Maria Nevelson, BA ‘82, donated "The Welders of Lippincott Foundry Oral Histories" in association with the Louise Nevelson Foundation to the Archives of American Art. The welders described the unusual impromptu process for creating large scale sculptures, e.g. 20' high.

Classical Acting

Lisa Brescia, MFA ‘14, recently completed a 16-month run as Heidi Hansen in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway. She has since returned to her position on the acting faculty at Missouri State's acclaimed Dept. of Theatre and Dance.

Matthew Wilson, MFA ‘08, is an Associate Professor of Theatre and will appear this season in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) with Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in Baltimore and The Till Trilogy at Mosaic Theatre on H Street.


Linda Ryan, BA ‘18, has completed residencies at PlySpace, Keshet Dance, Alfred University and Nimbus Dance and presented at the National Dance Education Organization conference. She works in research at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries and is a company member at Anna McDunn's Unhinged Dance.

Daurene (Belcher) Scullen, MA ‘81, has authored Turbulent Revival of Modern Dance 1935-1939, Simple Ballet Exercises on the Go! Sculpt and Refine the Butt! and Quick Exercises for Core Power.

Decorative Arts and Design History

Marissa Hershon, MA ‘10, is a contributor at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to a new publication and exhibition catalog for Radical: Italian Design 1965-1985, The Dennis Freedman Collection. The major retrospective is on view from February 14 through April 26, 2020.

Dramatic Art

Merry Ross, BA ‘86, is a drama therapist in Oakland, California. She performs with The Living Arts Playback Ensemble, and created a one woman show called What's My Age Again that she performed around the Bay Area and at fringe festivals around the country.

Dramatic Literature

Candice (Cook) Cain, ‘98, wrote and directed four Hallmark-style Christmas films in 2019. She just finished her first one of 2020, entitled Deck the Heart.

Exhibition Design

Nicole (Gray) D’Orazio, BFA ‘07 and MA ‘12, has worked as an exhibition designer at the Missouri Historical Society for the last six years. She was recently made the head of the design department, overseeing the design of all MHS exhibitions.

Scott Clowney, MA ‘11, authored and illustrated Historic Buildings of New York City: A Coloring Book of Architecture in 2019, third in a series of coloring books that encourage playful connections to architecture.

Jenney Fazande, MA ‘13, is the first woman and first African American to hold the position of director of exhibits at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Fine Art Photography and Photography

Renée Regan, BFA ‘10, has been leading a massive visual documentation project for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Each object is fully captured to ensure any damage found after moving large planes and rockets was already there.

David Wiegold, BFA ‘95, is getting ready to celebrate his 25th year as a commercial photographer. It is also his second year in his new studio.

Fine Arts

Vian Shamounki Borchert, BFA ‘96, is pleased to announce that she is currently represented by Lichtundfire gallery in NYC. Her latest abstract paintings are on view in the "Abstract Gravity" exhibit along with renowned modern artists.

Betina (Bauser) Margolis, BA ‘79, retired on March 22, 2019 and embarked on a two-month cruise from Singapore to Barcelona.  Her next trip is to Club Med Cancun with her family, and she is planning a trip to Jordan and Egypt for 2021.

Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak, MFA ‘77, is on the Studio School Faculty of the Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX. Her solo art exhibit opens in May 2021 at the National Museum in Lviv, Ukraine, then travels to Chernivtsi, Lutsk, Kyiv, and Kharkiv.

Michelle De Stefano, BFA ‘84, decided after a career creating paintings on canvas that the medium for her next painting would be a bit different, so she created a business. She is now Chief Operating Officer at Juncture Consulting.

Montana DeBor, BA ‘16, is currently performing internationally as an aerialist and musician with the Great American Circus. She was also featured in the GW Adventurers magazine.

Steve Gavenas, BFA ‘07, moved to LA and got an MFA from Art Center College of Design. He now makes art and teaches business and economics at Art Center, and continues to do business consulting.

Olga (Gittelson) Hiiva, BFA ‘82, has published an art book of her recent paintings and photographs titled The Vanished by Olga Hiiva, available on Amazon.

Preston Huey, ‘76, worked as a scene painter at Arena Stage Theater and then as a sign printer at Raleighs and Garfinckel's stores. Following this, she worked at Science Magazine of The American Association for the Advancement of Science as a graphic artist and science illustrator.

GuruSangat Khalsa, BFA ‘01, is a member of Great Falls Studios and League of Reston Artists, and shows in various arenas, including the Art League and Tryst Gallery in Leesburg, Virginia. Most of her work is 2D, with a semi- to total-abstract way of communication.

Graphic Design

Minako “Mina” Close, BFA ‘91, co-founded a non-profit organization called ARTEX, or Arts and Technology Exchange, in 2003. ARTEX has been organizing and coordinating arts, creativity and literacy projects for rural communities in Central America.

Kristina (Herslow) Lloyd, BFA ‘93, has worked full-time as a graphic designer in NYC for 10 years. She has also exhibited artwork in over 100 shows and is currently working on several acrylic abstract paintings.

Interior Architecture

Hardie Dowden Cobbs, BA ‘88, recently made a career change after being an artist and photographer for the past two decades. After studying in London to become a style coach, she loves helping women embrace aging through style and beauty.

Julie Goss, MA ‘09, has been offering comprehensive interior design services at Ethan Allen in McLean, Virginia for the last seven years. She has earned the company's top "Diamond Spirit Award" for sales over $1 million every year.

Rosemarie Kaspersen, MFA ‘12, is currently pursuing a Master of Art in Teaching (K-12 Art Education) at George Mason University, and works as a part-time alpine ski instructor.

Museum Studies

Colleen Curry, MA ‘90, is currently the Cultural Resources Manager for five National Park Service sites: Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Friendship Hill National Historic Site and Johnstown Flood National Memorial. This comes after serving 16 years as the chief curator at Yellowstone National Park.

Nichol Gabor, MA ‘19, is employed at the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia in their Costume and Textile Collection. There, she is actively working to inventory the historic collection as a part of the museum's capital campaign.

Carlyn Madden, MA ‘10, recently announced the rebrand of her consulting firm as Good Insight. Good Insight provides executive search and governance consulting to mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, colleges, universities and public agencies.

Eileen Shapiro, MA ‘90, celebrated 24 years as the Development Coordinator for the Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and looks forward to a summer trip on the Rhine River with the Museum's Friends group, reminiscent of founder Henry Mercer's travels.


Melissa Maxman, BA ‘83, co-authored a New York Times OpEd published January 16, 2020 advocating that the Senate open its upcoming impeachment debate to the public.

New Media Photojournalism or Photojournalism

Tiph Brown, BFA ‘15, is still working as a freelance photojournalist in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic area under the moniker Nerdscarf. Their work documents the experiences of queer and trans people of color thriving despite the current administration.

Visual Communications

Ernest Lupinacci, BFA ‘89, recently wrote and published The Godfather Gang, his first graphic novel. Boasting the tagline "in Hollywood, everything is personal," it is the true, improbable, behind-the-scenes story of how a group of misfits, maniacs, has-beens, nobodies, fakers, frauds, and con-men brought the epic film to the big screen.

Jen Sterling, BA ‘91, is selling her company after 30 years of running her own marketing firm to focus full-time on her fine art. She is preparing for a solo exhibition at a gallery in Annapolis, Maryland in August 2020.

Museum Collections Management & Care (Graduate Certificate)

Nino Tabeshadze, ‘12, is developing a career in the academic field and currently works as a professor.

Digital Media Design

Colleen Fitzgerald, BFA ‘19, translated her skills in digital media design to start a career in the footwear industry. She is currently innovating the next generation of Lifestyle footwear with New Balance.

Art Studies: Writing in the Arts

Renata Salazar-Costa, BA ‘14, is currently a digital content manager for Nestle USA. She works on digital creative and content strategy for global brands like Häagen-Dazs and Drumstick, among others.