Hannah Gadbois standing in front of a fountain
Hannah Gadbois is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Illinois in Chicago (photo courtesy of H. Gadbois).
Feature Stories 2020: Hannah Gadbois '16: The value of faculty mentorship
Hannah Gadbois '16: The value of faculty mentorship

Hannah, who earned her degree in Art History, talks about CVPA’s supportive community of professors, academic excellence, and career preparation.

One of Hannah Gadbois' '16 most memorable experiences, while she was a student, is the support she received from UMassD faculty. "UMass Dartmouth was an incredibly supportive community," says the Seekonk, MA native. “Throughout my time there, the professors in the Art History department were continuously making sure that I had access to scholarships, grants, and internships.” 

A community of mentors

One of her mentors was Pamela Karimi, Associate Professor of Art Education, Art History & Media Studies at the College of Visual & Performing Arts. While taking Professor Karimi’s Architecture and Sustainability course, Hannah became interested in researching the post-industrial landscape of cities. “We studied methods of sustainable city design, visited archives in New Bedford, and made plans for a vacant lot in New Bedford based on local history. This class incited my interest in understanding empty spaces in cities and their picturing in art history.”

Subsequently, with Karimi’s help, Hannah landed a curatorial internship at the New Bedford Art Museum where she researched Bierstadt extensively while also performing hands-on exhibition duties. “I worked under the supervision of the main curator, Jamie Uretsky, on the exhibition Bierstadt: Nature and National Identity.”

A high-quality academic experience

Hannah also gained relevant experience by working with Karimi as her research assistant while she applied to graduate programs. During her senior year, she was awarded an Undergraduate Research Grant for her project titled “Exploring the Post-Industrial Landscapes of the Northeast.” “The project helped me to better understand the process of proposing, completing, and presenting research,” Hannah says. “This is an essential part of graduate work in Art History so it was very helpful to be exposed to it while an undergraduate.”

Hannah also credits Professor Thomas Stubblefield with helping her refine her graduate school applications as well as helping to direct her in her selection of a program as well as her opportunity to work as a tutor at the Writing and Reading Center under Amy Parelman. “Being that none of my family had any experience or connections with my field, it was so important to have professors who helped me understand the expectations of the field and to expose me to the necessary academic training.”

Prepared to succeed

Her academic experience at UMassD was helpful in later gallery settings, including a Gallery Assistantship while in the master of art program at Boston University where she earned her MA in the History of Art and Architecture in 2019. Hannah is now a first-year PhD student at the University of Illinois, Chicago. “As a Teaching Assistant in my program now, it was incredibly helpful to learn the basics of productive interaction with students in such a positive environment,” she says.