The UA Department of Art and Art History is proud to announce the four recipients of our Outstanding Student Awards for academic year 2021-2022, awarded “in recognition of exemplary dedication and commitment to academic achievement,” during Honors Day ceremonies on April 8, 2022. These awards are the department’s most prestigious of the year, given only to a single graduate and undergraduate student in art history and studio art.
Outstanding Graduate Student in Art History Award: Lizzie Orlofsky
Lizzie Orlofsky is an MA candidate (2022) in contemporary and modern art history, with a graduate teaching assistantship. Her master’s thesis is titled, “Measured on a Sunbeam: Body, Gender, and Performance in Zelda Fitzgerald’s Figural Artworks,” in which she reveals Fitzgerald’s intimate interactions with visual production as well as the autobiographical and performative functions of her artistry. More generally, Orlofsky’s research areas focus on twentieth-century American art, the artwork of Zelda Fitzgerald, and artists working in a transatlantic context. She has presented her research in international, national and regional conferences including the virtual Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS) Festival hosted by the University of Kent in Canterbury, England; and the Southeastern Renaissance Conference (SRC) at Duke University. She is the administrator for Souls Grown Deep Digital Humanities Project and a contributor for Global Makers Digital Humanities Project.
A native of Troy, Alabama, Orlofsky is a recipient of The University of Alabama Graduate Council Fellowship and won second place in the Harrison Award for Excellence in Research for her presentation at the UA-UAB 26th Annual Graduate Student Symposium. She graduated summa cum laude from Troy University in 2019 with a BS in studio art and a minor in cultural studies. Before coming to UA, she served as a curatorial intern at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts where she helped curate the exhibition Zelda (canceled due to Covid-19).
Outstanding Graduate Student in Studio Art Award: Sandra Vega
Sandra Vega is an Master of Fine Arts candidate (2022) in printmaking with a secondary concentration in ceramics. Vega presented her MFA thesis exhibition Cielo Azul, Piel Morena, in March 2022, in the Sella-Granata Art Gallery. She presented her MA thesis exhibition, Caminos de Identidad, in March 2021. In her artist statement, Vega writes, “My work explores the politics of identity, biculturalism, which I define as a state of double consciousness, and an interpretation of otherness. I document a self-defining journey, navigating the hybridity of existing within this duality.”
A graduate teaching assistant, Vega teaches Introduction to Printmaking and Drawing I classes at UA. A native of Odessa, Texas, Vega earned the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa and worked as a summer camp art instructor, teaching design for screenprinting and Adobe Creative Cloud to high school students. She assisted in the NEA-funded program Pots-n-Prints mobile studio featured in the Washington Post that traveled to rural areas in southwest and west Texas, teaching students screenprinting, etching and ceramics.
Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Art History Award: Sophia Ancira
Sophia Ancira is a senior double major in art history and marketing, and a Blount Scholars Program minor. Ancira has been awarded several internships, including as a registrar’s intern at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, a curatorial intern at the Huntsville Museum of Art and a social media intern for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. She was co-founder of two student organizations: Art Forward, where she served as vice president; and The UA Society of Art History Students, where she served as treasurer. A Huntsville, Alabama, native, Ancira was awarded the William Garnet Anderson Endowed Scholarship and the Galbraith Endowed Art Scholarship in 2021-22 and the Julie Peake Holaday Memorial Endowed Scholarship in 2020-21.
Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Studio Art Award: Emily Bookmiller
Emily Bookmiller is a senior Bachelor of Fine Arts major with concentrations in painting and drawing and a Blount Scholars Program minor, from Lancaster, New York. Bookmiller has illustrated stories for first- through third-grade readers in the statewide literacy program Reading Allies, and she co-organized an exhibition as part of Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Future Curators Program. She was awarded the Carolyn Haddon “Julie” Matthews Memorial Endowed Scholarship, the Myra and Jim Morgan Endowed Scholarship and an Allentown Art Festival Scholarship in 2021-22. In 2020-21, she was awarded the Windgate Charitable Foundation Endowed Studio Arts Scholarship; in 2019-20, the Bradley Endowed Scholarship in Art; and in 2018-19, the Ruth King Larcom Art Scholarship and an Allentown Art Festival Scholarship.
For more information about the programs in the UA Department of Art and Art History, go to this page or contact the department at (205) 348-5967.