Austen is currently a Ph.D. candidate in both the Art History and CHAPS programs. Her research primarily uses material culture from the Ancient Mediterranean to examine how artifacts and images function in the creation of cultural identities and historical narrative. Her dissertation, “Arches & Memory: Destruction as Creation in Roman Material Culture” will explore the palimpsestic nature of monuments and their diachronic function in heritage discourse. Other avenues of her research include the role of material culture in conflict and post-conflict social contexts. Austen received an M.A. in Art History and Archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts and a BA in Art History, English Literature, and Classical Studies from Rutgers University.