Graduate Students

Graduate Students

Booher, Kaitlin

Kaitlin Booher is a PhD student in Art History at Rutgers University. She studies the history of photography with attention to its technical and aesthetic transformations, its social history, and its use as tool for communication at the turn of the 20th century. Her current research explores the work of Adolphe de Meyer and his role in the formation of international codes of advertising photography. Prior to Rutgers, Kaitlin was a curatorial consultant in the Department of Photographs at the National Gallery of Art and assistant curator of photography and media arts at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Her exhibitions include Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd (2013) and Shooting Stars: Publicity Stills from Early Hollywood and Portraits by Andy Warhol (2012). She graduated with a BA in Art History from New York University in 2008.

Play, Caitlin

Caitlin Play is a doctoral student at Rutgers University. Previously, she received a Master's Degree in Art History from Florida State University. She specializes in Medici patronage and the art of Renaissance Florence, and her current research explores nature-culture relationships in fifteenth and sixteenth-century Italian visual culture, particularly as they engage with grottoes, gardens, and other spaces of intellectual exploration. Her forthcoming dissertation explores the construction of Grand Duke Francesco I de' Medici's ruler identity in the Uffizi Tribuna and the Boboli Gardens Grotta Grande.

Rodriguez, Anabelle

A doctoral fellow with twenty years’ experience as a curator and arts educator, Anabelle holds a master’s degree in visual anthropology from Temple University, and bachelor’s degrees from Brown University in the visual arts, and the history of art and architecture. An alumna of the Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Program, she is also the former Director of Education at the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico. Her curatorial projects include more than sixty exhibitions and international collaborations, and her current research focuses on the cultural landscapes of the ancient Maya, and the history of archaeological conservation in Belize.

Leigh, Austen


Austen Leigh (PhD Candidate) received a BA from Rutgers University in Art History & English Literature with a minor in Classical Humanities and an MA from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU in Art History & Archaeology. She has participated in excavations in Selinunte, Sicily and Aphrodisias, Turkey and is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She taught Art History at Middlesex County College from 2012-2016 and has been enrolled in Art History PhD program with a CHAPS concentration at Rutgers since 2015. Her research explores the complex relationships between creation & destruction, in particular how material culture functions in the context of armed conflict. 

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.

Zbieranowski, Alexa

Alexa Zbieranowski ( is a first-year master’s student who received her B.A. in Art History and French (summa cum laude) from Drew University in 2017. She recently completed an undergraduate thesis which explores the pictorial constructions of female identity through the self-portraiture of sixteenth-century Italian women artists. In her graduate studies, she would like to follow this direction of research as her interests include issues of gender representation, the historiography of women artists, and early modern self-portraiture.