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A Narrowing Focus

sarah eisen

Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

Trout Gallery exhibition provides the perfect capstone to Sarah Eisen ’15’s ambitious undergraduate career

by Tony Moore 

What kind of student applies to several top-notch graduate schools—New York, George Washington, Georgetown, and Columbia universities and University College, London—and gets into every one of them? Well, if we dig into the academic career of Sarah Eisen ’15, we’ll find out.

Eisen is graduating from Dickinson with a degree in archaeology and classical studies and a seriously impressive array of experiences under her belt. Those experiences include taking a senior seminar in archaeology as a junior; embarking on overseas adventures at the University of Durham in England, where she excavated a late Roman fort, and at Dickinson’s excavation site in Mycenae, Greece; and interning with the Mycenae Museum and the Museum of Natural History in New York.

“These opportunities, in addition to allowing me to travel across the globe and simply being a lot of fun, gave me true insight into the methods, theories and research questions archaeologists use and ask,” Eisen says, noting that these trips and her work during them also filled out her internship and graduate-school applications. “I appreciate that Dickinson encourages students to get field experience, not only for the academic enhancement but also for the practical advantages it offers.”

Something else Eisen can mark down as practical experience is an upcoming exhibition she has curated at The Trout Gallery, “Ancient Greek Vessels: Pattern and Image.” The exhibition, which runs from May 22 through Sept. 26, is the result of an intensive independent study she developed with Professor of Art History and William W. Edel Professor of Humanities Melinda Schlitt. Featuring pieces on loan from Bryn Mawr and Wilson colleges, the exhibition is accompanied by Eisen's professionally published catalogue and research essay.

“As I took courses in art history and archaeology, I became interested in how archaeological artifacts are presented through the medium of museums,” Eisen says. “The Trout Gallery exhibition seemed like a perfect opportunity to introduce me to the curatorial side of the museum world and allowed me to do in-depth and original research on the topic that I want to pursue in grad school.”

To supplement the exhibition, and provide an outlet for her interest in the digital humanities, Eisen created a mobile app that provides information on each vase while also encouraging viewers to linger over the details of each object.

All of these pieces of Eisen’s academic career have fallen perfectly into place for her fall move to New York City, where she’ll begin graduate school at Columbia, focusing on art history and archaeology.

“I’m looking forward to learning more about Greek art and archaeology, specifically iconography, and to narrowing my research focus,” she says. “I’m also excited to be held to an even higher standard of intellectual pursuit.”

“Sarah is the ideal Dickinson success story,” says Schlitt, “and this show will be one of the most visually dynamic we have had in a long time.”

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Published May 13, 2015