Current Graduate Students

For departmental alumni click here

Jessica Brier
Ellen Dooley (ABD)
Sarah Goodrum (ABD)
Ambra Spinelli (ABD)
Jessica Brier

Jessica is a first year PhD student in the Department of Art History. Her research focuses on twentieth-century European and Latin American modernism with a particular interest in mechanical reproduction and works on paper, including prints, photographs, artist books and other printed ephemera. She is interested in issues including the conditions of making in the artist’s studio; the dissemination and circulation of works on paper; the intersection of art and graphic design; and the utility of art. Formerly a curatorial assistant in photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), she has worked on exhibitions including Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa (2014); South Africa in Apartheid and After: David Goldblatt, Ernest Cole, Billy Monk (2012-2013); and Francesca Woodman (2011-2012). Her writing has appeared in art on paperCurating Now, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Daylight Digital, and on SFMOMA's blog, Open Space. Independently, she has organized exhibitions at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and Park Life, in San Francisco, and at Headlands Center for the Arts, in Sausalito, CA. She holds a BA from New York University and an MA in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts.

Ellen Dooley
This is Ellen's sixth year in the Ph.D. program after graduating from Trinity University with a B.A. in Art History and Religion.  Ellen specializes in seventeenth-century Spanish painting and print, and her dissertation, "Painting Salvation: Affluence, Art, and Plague in Golden Age Seville," focuses on the relationships between the city's elite patrons and its community of artists.  The project evaluates the impacts of the 1649 plague, the circulation of art historical writing, and the social climate of Tridentine Spain on the roles of artists and the status of the objects they produced.  Other scholarly interests include Colonial Latin American art, trans-Atlantic exchanges, and the history of the Catholic Church.  She has written and presented her work on art patronage, festival books, and architecture at the Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies' annual conferences in Ottawa and Boston, the New College Medieval-Renaissance Conference, the Renaissance Conference of Southern California, University of Cambridge, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, and California State University, Los Angeles. She has received funding from the Del Amo Foundation, the Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain's Ministry of Culture and United States' Universities, the Interdisciplinary Research Group of the Center for Religious and Civic Culture, the USC-Huntington EMSI, and the Borchard Foundation.
Sarah Goodrum
Sarah Goodrum advanced to PhD candidacy in October 2010. She is a Provost Fellow specializing in Twentieth-Century Central European Art and the History of Photography and Photojournalism. She has been Research Assistant to the Head of the Scholars Program at the Getty Research Institute (2009-2010) and Editorial Assistant for The Art Bulletin, edited by Professor Karen Lang (2010-2011). She has received grants for language study and research from DAAD, USC College, and the Conference Group for Central European History. Recent paper presentations include “Photographic Education as Public ‘Re-Education’: The Building of Socialist Society at the Leipzig Hochschule for Graphic and Book Arts” at the Annual Meeting of the History of Education Society (2011) and "Menschenfamilien and the Documentary Tradition: The Dual Influence of 'The Family of Man' in the GDR" at the 4. Tagung des Arbeitskreises Kunst in Der DDR, Berlin, Germany (2012). Sarah is currently conducting research for her dissertation, entitled "The Problem of the Missing Museum: Adventures and Misadventures in the Exhibition of Photographs in the GDR." In 2012-2013, she is based in Berlin, Germany with a Fulbright Research Grant. Before coming to USC, she graduated from Vassar College with a BA in English, and enjoyed an editorial career in trade and academic publishing before pursuing her MA in Art History at Vanderbilt University.
Ambra Spinelli

Ambra Spinelli advanded to doctoral candidacy in May 2014. Her Major is in Ancient Roman Art and Archaeology and she is undertaking a dissertation on the ancient Roman tablinum in the Bay of Naples. In 2005, she received her BA in Classics from the Università di Bologna. Ambra has participated in several archaeological excavations and research projects involving Etruscan, Roman, and Medieval sites in Italy, such as Marzabotto, Bologna, Herculaneum, Pompeii, Acquaviva Picena, and Albinia. She attended SOMA 2007: XI International Symposium on Mediterranean Archaeology in Istanbul, with a published paper titled: "Underwater Archaeology in Italy: the Park of Baia (Naples)." Particularly noteworthy was her M.A. thesis in Archaeology in 2008 concerning the preparation of a Museum of Antiquities inside the Department of Archaeology, Università di Bologna. Ambra served as Antiquities Graduate Intern in 2009-2010 at the J. Paul Getty Villa, Los Angeles. She also collaborated with the J. Paul Getty Villa in the 2012 show "The Last Days of Pompeii," and she is currently serving as Research Assistant in the Antiquities Department at the J. Paul Getty Villa. Ambra has been working since 2011 as Assistant to the Director in the "PARP:PS - Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia," led by the University of Cincinnati, and at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) in Seattle, she presented a poster titled "Disinterring a Pompeian Middle-Class Neighborhood" on her archival research and was awarded "Best Poster Award." Ambra presented her last research "The Getty Cybele: A Portrait of Feminine Virtues" at the 2014 AIA - Annual Meeting in Chicago, at the J. Paul Getty Villa in Malibu, and at USC. She has been also invited to deliver several special talks on the 2014 "Pompeii" exhibition at the California Science Center for the Los Angeles local societies of the Archaeological Institute of America, California Classical Association, and Patrons of the Italian Culture.