Profile of Laurence Spekterman (BA 2017)

1.    Why did you decide to become an Art History major?Laurence Spekterman

I began considering the major after taking a survey course taught by Professor Gensheimer. I liked the interdisciplinary feel of art history courses, getting to try on different hats in different fields, like literature, history, anthropology, and design. I wanted a breadth of experiences from my four years at the University of Maryland. Eventually I decided I would major in ARTH my sophomore year because I loved the professors and I got this butterfly feeling whenever I got to register for a class.

 

2.    What was the most, or one of the most, valuable thing(s) you learned as an Art History Major?

Studying art history you learn pretty fast that being enamored with your own opinion(s) can be nice, but isn’t really all that valuable for learning about something you don’t know much about. After completing the major one thing I can honestly say I’ve learned, value, and continue to benefit from is the understanding of perspective. That is a loaded term because it means something completely different in an art studio and a museum, but also not necessarily. I learned that to truly appreciated something you have to be open-minded and detail oriented. I also learned a number of other nuanced skills, but I’ll save those for another time.

 

3.    What challenges did you face after graduation (and did the skills our major fostered help you negotiate those challenges)?

Something I wouldn’t necessarily call a skill, but an ethic that has been instilled in me from my time spent in art history classes and around art has been the importance and need for creativity. After graduating I have been put into a number of unordinary situation in my current job where I have had to make many decisions on my own and on the fly. Being creative and having a background in a field as well-balanced and broad as Art History has allowed me to bring in a variety of experiences and a fresh perspective to my work. I feel more comfortable making quick decisions because of the skills I fostered while studying Art History.

 

4.    What advice would you give to other Art History Majors/Minors?

Take classes with as many different professors as possible. Each professor has their own unique perspective on art history and what they find most interesting and most significant about the subject.

Please go to Washington DC. Being so close to Washington DC is a major advantage of studying Art History at the University of Maryland. There are so many great galleries and exhibits on display every weekend and anyone will tell you that seeing the works in person is a completely different experience from seeing them on a powerpoint. There is a bus that takes students from Stamps to the Phillips Collection on Thursdays and it’s free!

 

5. What has your career path been since graduating from UMD?

Since graduating (class of 2017) I have started working as a 7th and 8th grade science teacher in Bridgeport, Ct. I joined the Teach for America program, an Americorps organization that sends recent college graduates to underprivileged parts of the United States to teach and serve the community. If any recent or current major is interested in talking about Art History at UMD please feel free to contact me.