Alumni Profiles

Our graduates work at art and cultural organizations throughout the country, including:

  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Rochester Arts Center
  • Arts Midwest
  • Guggenheim
  • Groveland Gallery of Art
  • Texas Historical Commission
  • National Trust for Historical Preservation
  • Bethany Lutheran College
  • The Speed Art Museum 
  • Pall Mall Advisors

Joshua Feist '11

Joshua graduated from the University of St. Thomas Art History Graduate Program in May 2011. His coursework included an assistantship at the American Museum of Asmat Art, a trip to Ghana to conduct research and deliver a presentation on indigenous architecture, and several classes spanning a variety of time periods, cultures, and artistic genres. UST professors provided rigorous training in museum cataloging, exhibition design, critical analysis and more. Joshua developed his skills in public speaking and presentation design while in the program, and has used them regularly at Arts Midwest.

Arts Midwest is one of six regional arts organizations in the United States that serves audiences, arts organizations, and artists throughout the Upper Midwest region spanning from Ohio to the Dakotas. The organization also works on a national scale by managing two national initiatives in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Joshua works on one of these national initiatives, The Big Read, as the program manager. He is also the staff photographer.

When not behind a desk he is behind the camera taking photographs for Arts Midwest’s annual conference and other local events. He has the UST program to thank for the development of his photographic eye in composition and visual aesthetics. Joshua maintains a photography website,, and is always looking for new opportunities.

Headshot of Josh Feist - UST Grad Art History Profile: Joshua Feist '11

Amy Nygaard Mickelson '11

Amy Nygaard Mickelson received a Master’s degree in Art History from the University of Saint Thomas in May 2011. After completion of her degree at UST, Amy went on to the University of Missouri—Kansas City where she completed her interdisciplinary studies in Art History and the Humanities with a focus in Black Studies and Gender Studies. After achieving Ph.D. candidacy, Amy was awarded a Doctorial Research Grant from UMKC, which enabled her travel and study in Cape Town, South Africa. Amy’s dissertation, Grotesque Bodies: Abjection, Monstrosity, and Anti-Aesthetics in Post-Apartheid South Africa brings into question the historical, political, and cultural reconciliation of post-apartheid South Africa as explored in the artworks of Jane Alexander and Nandipha Mntambo.

‌Currently, Amy is teaching art history courses at the University of St. Thomas and Saint Cloud State University. She is working on a Fulbright research grant to return to South Africa where she hopes to complete her dissertation.

South African National Gallery, Cape Town

- UST Grad Art History Profile: Amy Nygaard Mickelson '11

James Wehn '09

James Wehn completed an MA in Art History at University of St. Thomas in December 2009. Aspiring to be a curator of prints and drawings, James worked as an assistant curator at the Thrivent Financial Collection of Religious Art, where he helped organize exhibitions and contributed to the collection catalogue Faithful Impressions by Joanna Reiling Lindell. In 2011, James served as a guest curator for the exhibition Venice on Paper at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. That same year, James began at two-year appointment as the Margaret R. Mainwaring Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There James helped manage the museum’s study room for works on paper and organized the exhibition Starting from Scratch: The Art of Etching from Dürer to Dine.

James is currently working on a PhD in Art History as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow in the joint doctoral program at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

- UST Grad Art History Profile: James Wehn '09
Emily Koller '07

Emily Koller '07

I am a Planner for the Texas Historical Commission, which is the State Historic Preservation Office. I was hired in March 2014 to help develop a new initiative for Texas courthouse squares. There are 254 countyseats in Texas and many have a population of fewer than 10,000.  THC administers a successful preservation grant program which has invested more than $240 million in the preservation of the historic courthouses themselves. While the buildings are magnificent, many of the surrounding squares are still languishing. My responsibility is to develop a program that will encourage revitalization of the adjacent commercial districts by better leveraging the restored courthouses. This may take the form of special events and advocacy, adaptive re-use opportunities for the courthouses, new preservation ordinances, public space planning, or targeted economic development strategies.

My qualifying paper focused on the mythology and meaning of neon signs on Route 66. I was interested in the iconic power of the signage created in books, media, music, etc. as compared to the actual physical experience of viewing the signs themselves. Individual preserved signs remain as icons, but the architectural fabric of these roadside communities is largely in a state of decay. It became obvious in my fieldwork that while preservation programs may be effective in saving individual signs, the only way to create a sustainable long-term strategy is address the dire economic conditions in these places. 

It is very exciting that I am now faced with the same question in my work and I am well- equipped to address it. The skills I use the most – persuasive writing, giving an effective presentation, doing primary and secondary research, working with photography and imaging, and choosing the right methodological approach – are the skills I learned at UST.  While my planning degree provided a technical education – I truly believe what I learned in the Art History graduate program provided a fundamental skill set that has given me many advantages over others in the planning field.

Emily Koller '07

Hays County Courthouse, 1909, C.H. Page.  San Marcos, TX

There are 254 courthouses across the state of Texas. Listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Most Endangered List in 1999, the Texas Legislature responded with a grant program which has since invested nearly $250 million in preserving the historic structures. The Texas Historical Commission's new Courthouse Square Initiative will further maximize the economic potential of the grand public buildings in Texas downtowns. 

- UST Grad Art History Profile: Emily Koller '07