Art History Pre-Grad Intern Lauren Aduddell

This semester I worked alongside art history Professor Michael Charlesworth. He gave me various research assignments, and helped him prepare for his undergraduate and graduate classes.

I attended his graduate history of photography class several times, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a small class, consisting of maybe ten people. I loved the atmosphere; it was more relaxed, students were able to freely converse and interact more with the professor, students were incredibly engaged, and seemed to truly enjoy what they were studying. Although I am sure every graduate seminar is likely to be different, this gave me a good idea of what the classes are like. The environment was less tense than I assumed; much less intimidating than an undergraduate class.

I think I would truly enjoy graduate school, because you are able to specialize in a topic you are genuinely interested in, and it is simply more of an intimate environment.

Doing various research tasks for him taught me a lot, first because I was able to see how it was done, and second, because I liked to read what it was he was researching at the moment. Since I was not able to take any of his classes this semester, I was still able to see what it was they were working on. Professor Charlesworth really challenged me when it came to my way of thinking about art, as well as what a university's purpose is.

At times I was a bit intimidated due to my own lack of knowledge pertaining to several different areas of study, yet he was patient enough to walk me through what I did not know. His continual assignment over the semester for me was reading a book entitled The Idea of a University by John Henry Newman. The book was a compilation of several essays written by Newman who was a devout Catholic priest during the later 1800's. He argues the significance and purposes of a university and education. We discussed Newman's opinions, which enabled me to uncover my own insights into what I believe a university education should look like. It was hard reading, and I could not grasp many of the author's thoughts and opinions, yet what I did understand really affected me.

We attended the Blanton together towards the end of the semester. This was perhaps one of the most enjoyable times I had with Professor Charlesworth. We discussed which works of art I fancied and why and various art historical methods. He simply challenged me to look at art in a more art historian manner.

For my graduate student interview, I talked with a friend of mine who is in the college of social work rather than the art history department. I chose to do this because for one, I have an idea of what the classes are like pertaining to art history. Second, I am not sure what I would truly want to study if I attend graduate school, and I wanted to investigate what other schools are like.

I feel as though I gained a lot through this internship. Not only did I learn about what graduate school would be like, but I given the chance to discuss my opinions and thoughts on education in general with a professor with whom I would usually feel completely disconnected. This opportunity made me realize that professors want to talk with and help students. Before, they seemed very unapproachable. I am definitely considering attending graduate school in the future because of this internship.