Graduate Students

Meet our graduate students!

Ryan Akers

Ryan Akers is a graduate student in painting, with an assistantship. His painting, Penteco$t, was selected for the Director’s Award in the biennial 44th Montgomery Art Guild Museum Exhibition (2021). Akers organized and curated the online exhibition What You Unlearn.

Riley Balzer

Riley Balzer is a graduate student in art history, with an assistantship. At the 27th Annual Graduate Student Symposium in Art History (March 2022), Balzer won first place in the Best Paper Awards. As an undergrad senior at UT Knoxville, she presented at UA’s 22nd Annual Graduate Student Symposium in Art History (March 2017) in the undergraduate poster session. She worked as a curatorial intern under the current assistant director of the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture during 2016-2017 academic year. In 2013, she served as an intern for the East Tennessee Historical Society, Knoxville. Balzer was also a professional ballroom dance instructor. Balzer’s interests in art history lie primarily in the Renaissance/Baroque period. In 2017, she received the BA in art history with a minor in French and Francophone studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her undergrad senior research paper, “Artemisia Gentileschi: Criticisms of the Feminist Perspective,” looked at the ways early feminist scholars may have done more harm to Gentileschi’s artistic reputation than they intended. Balzer sought to show changes in feminist scholarship since that time. At the end of her senior year, she was recognized as the top graduating art history major at UT-Knoxville.

Ivy Borden

Birmingham, Alabama, native Ivy Borden, class of 2023, is a double major in art history and Southern Studies and in the Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) in art history. She received the Bradley Endowed Scholarship and the Marilyn Williams Elmore Endowed Art Scholarship for the 2022-23 academic year. Borden founded and served as president of the student organization Art Forward, which recently hosted the Undocumented Migration Project’s Hostile Terrain 94 at UA and curated an adjoining exhibition of international artists.

Nathan Childers, “The Things We Lock Away,” oil on canvas, 32 x 40 inches.

Nathan Childers is a graduate student in painting and has been awarded a UA Graduate Council Fellowship for 2021-2022. He received a BFA in painting, cum laude, from the University of West Georgia. Childers recently won an honorable mention at the Georgia Watercolor Society 42nd National Exhibition in Carrollton, Georgia. His work has been juried into Ink Only III National Juried Print Biennial, Durbin Gallery, Birmingham-Southern College. Childers writes that he “is a contemporary Southern LGBTQ artist whose paintings aim to honor people and places that might not otherwise receive a second look by taking the time to faithfully render and appreciate all their wrinkles and rust and the stories behind them.” His exhibitions include Art Fields (2020 and 2021), Georgia Watercolor Society 42nd National Exhibition, Mark Arts Oil Painting National Exhibition and Kansas Watercolor Society National Exhibition. Childers has also participated in one- and three-person shows at Lowe Mill Arts in Huntsville, Alabama, and the Carrollton (Ga.) Center for the Arts.

Taylor Daubin

Taylor Daubin is a first-year (fall 2022) graduate student in art history. Daubin, who hails from Brentwood, California, earned her BA in psychology with a minor in art history at UA in 2022. As an undergrad, she worked as a gallery assistant in the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art and served as an Education Abroad student assistant. Daubin spent spring 2021 in a study abroad program in Rome.

Will Henry, “She’s a Taurus,” 2020, ink on cardboard, 8.5 x 7 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Will Henry is a graduate assistant in printmaking with a secondary concentration in photography. His Master of Arts thesis exhibition presented in February 2022 in the Sella-Granata Art Gallery, was titled Heaven Sent…Hell Bound, Transmutations, A Heathen’s Heresy: Story of a Gritty Loser. The primarily of ink drawings on paper, Henry said, reflect his experiences as a Black queer non-binary man reimagined through visual elements such as Black and queer cultural tropes and religious iconography, in order to examine themes of the constructed self, sexuality, intimacy, violence, culture and the human desire to be seen and heard. He received the BFA in studio art from the University of Montevallo in 2017 with concentrations in photography, graphic design and printmaking and a minor in art history. His design clients include University of Montevallo Spectrum Gender/Sexuality Alliance, University of Montevallo Phi Gamma Delta and the University of Montevallo Communications Department.

Parker Hunt is a graduate student in ceramics. Hunt presented his MA thesis exhibition, Renewal, in February 2022 in the Sella-Granata Art Gallery. Influenced by his training as a production potter, he said that he creates “abstract forms that I see as blank canvases for color exploration” and uses “surface and pattern designs to reminisce upon familiar moments.” He has exhibited in national and regional juried exhibitions and has served as an artist assistant at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts (Tenn.); visiting artist at Carlow University, Pittsburgh, Penn.; artist-in-residence at the Walnut Gallery and at Mary G. Hardin Center of Cultural Arts, both in Gadsden.

Haley Kubilus is a first-year (fall 2022) graduate student in art history. Kubilus, from Gilbert, South Carolina, earned her BA in history with a concentration in public history and a minor in art history and Italian from UA in 2022.

Molly Lay

Molly Lay is a graduate student in sculpture, with an assistantship. Lay received a BA in studio art from Samford University and studied a semester at the Burren College of Art in Ireland. She held an internship at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Education and Community Engagement and worked as a curator for the Great Explorations Children’s Museum in Saint Petersburg, Fla.

Aidan Miles-Jamison
Aidan Miles-Jamison

Oxford, Alabama, native Aidan Miles-Jamison, class of 2023, is an art history major with a minor in Queer art and Blount Scholars Program, and is in the accelerated master’s program (AMP) in art history. He received the Farley Moody Galbraith Endowed Scholarship for the 2022-23 academic year. From a national call for proposals, Miles-Jamison presented his research paper, “Queering the Label: Three Works of Contemporary Art from Thailand, Everywhere, and Nowhere,” at the sixth annual refereed AKMA / MWSU Undergraduate Art History Symposium at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Sarah Murphree

Sarah Murphree is a graduate student in art history, with an assistantship. They received the BA from UA in 2020 with a double major in art history and studio art with a minor in the Blount Scholars Program. They did their undergrad academic work within the University Honors Program. Their research projects included “Reclaiming the Black Female Body in Art,” and research on the history and gentrification of the banjo for the class Art of the African Diaspora (ARH 378). Murphree has also created three cast bronze sculptures for the Tuscaloosa Monster Makeover Project and assisted Professor Craig Wedderspoon with the construction of the Tuscaloosa and Alabama Bicentennial sculpture projects.

Katharine Murray, “Live at the Songbyrd, Pinky Pinky No. 2,” lithograph, 15 x 22 ½ inches

Katharine Murray is a graduate student in printmaking and a McNair Scholar. She received the Bachelor of Science in Art from the University of Montevallo and an associate’s degree from Wallace Community College in Dothan. Murray was a Katzenberger art history intern for the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum where she designed their wine and design curriculum and researched intaglio techniques for their docent demonstrations. At the University of Montevallo, she was a McNair Research Scholar in Sculpture and Sustainability and received the Green Fund award to build a public sculpture in the form of a music wall.

Kole Nichols is a graduate student in printmaking, with an assistantship. He assists in printmaking and color theory courses. Nichols holds a BFA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has interned with artist Sara Garden Armstrong, assisted photographer Kenwyn Alexander, and taught drawing classes at Space One Eleven in Birmingham.

Olivia Sims

Olivia Sims is a graduate student in art history and has been awarded a UA Graduate Council Fellowship for 2021-2022. Sims’ concentration is in 19th-century European art, in Track 2 of the program and she will work toward the certificate in museum studies. She received a BA in studio art and a minor in art history, summa cum laude, from Jacksonville State University. Sims presented her research paper, “A Socio-Feminist Approach to Emily Mary Osborn’s Nameless and Friendless,” virtually at SECAC 2020. Her paper “A Discussion of the Guggenheims: The Links between the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao” received Best Undergraduate Paper at Jacksonville State University’s Student Symposium in 2020. Sims curated the exhibit, “The History of Etowah County,” for the Gadsden (Ala.) Museum of Art, in 2019 during an internship at the museum, where she was later hired as the business manager. Her artwork was part of the international exhibition, “Tiny Sketchbook Project,” at the Brooklyn Art Library in Brooklyn, New York, and has been shown in exhibitions at Hammond Hall Gallery at Jacksonville State University. Sims enjoys illustrating, creating mixed media art pieces, rollerblading, and playing the French horn and mellophone.

Julie Weber

Julie Weber is a graduate in art history, with an assistantship. Her concentrations are in modern and contemporary art history, in Track 2 of the program and is working toward the certificate in museum studies. Weber received the BFA in photography in 2012 from UA, graduating magna cum laude. After working in arts administration for several years, she said that she wants to “work closely with artists, specifically younger, emerging artists, as a museum curator or exhibition designer.”

Tom Wegrzynowski - photo Copyright All rights reserved by eTech-Office of Educational Technology
Tom Wegrzynowski

Tom Wegrzynowski is a graduate student in art history. He holds an MFA in painting and has been a full-time instructor in studio and art history at UA since 2006.

Read news articles about our graduate and undergrad students here.

Go to this page for more information about our graduate programs.