The Block launches new Student Associates program with 16 member cohort

The Block Museum is excited to announce the 2021-2022 cohort of Block Museum Student Associates. This annual program renames and reimagines the museum’s former Student Docent program to better reflect the key role that this group of Northwestern scholars plays in animating the vision of the museum.

Block Student Associates serve as tour guides, public facilitators, peer-to-peer ambassadors for the museum on campus, and in-house student advisors for all levels of museum staff and our Board of Advisors. They lead programs throughout the museum and engage our broad array of campus and community visitors in dynamic conversations about art and ideas that are relevant to our lives today.

The Student Associates’ year-long experience with The Block culminates in the recommendation of an acquisition for the museum collection. (Read more about the 2020-2021 student acquisition: Docent team selects Leonard Suryajaya’s Quarantine Blues as 2021 Block Museum Student Acquisition)

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our 2021-2022 Block Museum Student Associates cohort to the museum. Our Student Associates come to the Block from all corners of Northwestern, but share an enthusiasm for art, artists, museums, and the Block’s role on campus now, and going forward. We are thrilled to spend the year together exploring how thinking with and about art can open up new possibilities and perspectives in and outside of the museum.”

Erin Northington, Susan and Stephen Wilson Associate Director, Campus and Community Education and Engagement

Meet the Associates

Ayinoluwa Abegunde

Chemical Engineering (2022)

I was drawn to The Block when I was exposed to the art of hair while I explored hair care from a scientific perspective. I’m from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria and hair has always been an integral part of our culture, but only a few years ago did I realize I wore art on my head everyday. My pursuit for understanding the different intersectionalities of art and science, but also desire to see people who weren’t exposed to museum art enjoy their experiences with art, is why I decided to join the BMSA Program. In my free time, I love to dance and explore different facets of my creativity through calligraphy and DIYs. I’m slowly getting the hang of hair art and I love to go on adventures.

Mayán Alvarado-Goldberg

Cognitive Science and Global Health

I am a sophomore studying Cognitive Science and Global Health on the pre-med track from Los Angeles. My favorite exhibit was the Why We Rise exhibit in Los Angeles in 2019 because it combined representative multimedia art with conversations about mental health. I loved seeing how photographs, sculptures, and videos were used to convey taboo topics like anxiety and depression and to also depict emotional experiences like immigration detention centers through the eyes of artists of Color. It reminded me that art can and should be intersectional Block Museum Student Associates program, I hope to learn from the others in my cohort and help viewers at the Block have a similar experience of being seen and heard as audience members, just like I had at the Why We Rise exhibit.

Solome Bezuneh

Communication Studies (2024)

I am a sophomore currently majoring in Communication Studies, originally from Chicago, Illinois. Outside of my work at the Block, I serve as Assistant Vice-Coordinator of Programming in ‘For Members Only’, NU’s primary Black student organization.

Carolina Carret

Legal Studies, Art History, and BIP (2023)

I am a third year student and planning to major in Legal Studies and minor in Art History and BIP. I am currently residing in Evanston but am originally from Miramar, Florida. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend more time in a museum, nor could I pass up the prospect of forging friendships and exploring fresh perspectives through more exposure to and discussion of art. I am a peer adviser, as well as a member of the Brady Scholars Program. I can’t say I have a favorite museum or exhibit, but I did have an epiphanous moment at the MCA in Chicago last year. As I explored the space, I felt connected to the work of a particular female-identifying artist and realized I wanted to minor in Art History.

Vitoria Monteiro de Carvalho Faria

Art History and Economics (2023)

I am a junior in Art History and Economics from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I took my first Art History class at The Block, which was when I decided to major in Art History and pursue a career in the art world. For that reason, The Block Museum is a very special place to me and I am grateful for being able to engage with students, faculty and visitors interested in The Block’s art collection. At Northwestern, I am involved with the Northwestern Art Review, which I truly enjoy being part of.

Karan Gowda

Biological Sciences, Global Health Studies and Classics (2022)

I am a senior majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Global Health Studies and Classics, from Algonquin, IL. What has kept me at The Block for a second term is the sense of community this place has brought me and the tangible impact I get to have on it in return. One of the things I always said I wanted to do when I came to Northwestern was to have an impact on the school somehow and The Block has definitely been one of the things that I participated in where I feel that the most.

Chayda Harding

History (2022)

I am a senior History major from New York City. In addition to The Block, I’m part of the Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators (SHAPE) and I work as a research assistant in the History department! My favorite art exhibit was a chronological look at Picasso’s artistic history alongside other art he collected. It was a really interesting format because you were able to see really clearly how he was inspired by other people’s work and how it led him to make the art we know now.

Zeki Hirsch

Art History (2024)

I’ve worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New-York Historical Society, and the archaeological site of Labraunda in the past. Being able to work at another museum and give back to the Northwestern community at the same time was a dream come true for me. I’m very passionate about medieval Islamic art and had the privilege to visit the Umayyad Mosque of Córdoba in July 2021. Studying art history, we often place the classical Islamic world in a box within the Middle East and North Africa. Visiting the Umayyad Mosque was an amazing reminder of the cultural dialogue that existed between the Christian and Muslim worlds at the height of the Middle Ages.

Hyohee Kim

Learning Sciences and Asian American Studies (2022)

I am a senior majoring in Life Sciences and minoring in Asian American Studies and Design Segal Certificate. I’m from the suburbs of Chicago. I’m here to connect with creatives, The Block Museum community, and anyone into curation and programming!

Katy Kim

Art History and Political Science (2023)

I am a junior in Art History and Political Science from Livingston, New Jersey. I’m involved with Form & Function, which is Northwestern University’s premier student-run marketing agency. I’m also a photographer for Spoon University, and I participate in Sustained Dialogue.

Art history has always been my passion, and I’m fascinated by how artists respond to, engage with, and challenge larger political discourses and each other to create new meaning. I believe that museums have a social responsibility to the communities they are a part of, be that through offering consistent education programming and making sure that the space is accessible for people of backgrounds. I see the museum as a place for active discourse, which most thrives when all members of the public, from children to adults can engage with it. As a Student Associate, I’m so excited to facilitate public engagement with the museum through tours and events, as well as broaden my own perspectives on artwork!

Nozizwe Msipa

Communication Studies (2024)

I am a sophomore in communications studies from Harare, Zimbabwe. Out in the world we are constantly surrounded by things to see, watch, gaze upon, understand. Museums like The Block are a great place to train the eye and brain in how to better appreciate the visual world and its hidden messages. Hopefully, after my time with The Block I come out well versed in the art of looking and engaging! 

Margeaux Rocco

Economics, Art Theory and Practice, and Art History (2023)

I am a third year Economics Major, ATP and Art History Minor from Columbus, Ohio. A painting I love is Pierre Bonnard’s Le chat blanc. It reminds me that art can serve any purpose; it can be political or emotional or something else entirely. It’s easy to get caught up in what a piece could mean, but sometimes it’s just nice to look at a painting of a cat.

Bengi Rwabuhemba

Cultural Anthropology, Global Health (2023)

Bengi RwI am a third-year student from Uganda studying in Weinberg and double majoring in Cultural Anthropology and Global Health. In another world, however, I believe I was an Art History major. Since my first class at The Block as a freshman, Introduction to Modernism, I have always been drawn to the museum. Viewing Felicité by Alain Gomis and meeting him in person was a transformative experience for me, and firmly cemented my relationship with the museum. Attending film screenings organized by Block Cinema, and walking through the exhibitions on weekends have been some of my favorite past-times. I hope to use my time as a student associate to build my visual vocabulary, learn from my talented, interdisciplinary team, and develop an understanding of what it means for a museum to be decolonized

Joyce Wang

Economics and Data Science (2024)

I am a sophomore studying Economics and Data Science and am originally from New Jersey. I want more people to learn about and engage in The Block’s events!

Bobby Yalam

Social Policy and Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences (2024)

My name is Bobby Yalam, and I’m a second year studying social policy and mathematical methods in the social sciences. I’m from Scottsdale, Arizona.

I want to better understand why I see art as such an interesting and valuable resource and to be able to share that perspective with other people who are curious about art. I love alone time, but it’s even better at museums, where people get to enjoy being alone, together!

I remember being eleven years old at the MoMA, staring at Rousseau’s The Dream while the rest of the people in that room gathered around Starry Night. In hindsight, I think that moment helped me start questioning why we collectively enshrine certain things as more important than others, and what we can do to challenge that habit.

Hank Yang

Journalism and Political Science (2024)

I am a sophomore studying journalism and political science, originally from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. I joined The Block because I love art museums and working in one sounded like the most amazing opportunity! I’m an artist and creating and displaying my art is a passion, so I thought it would be great to do that with other art.

2021-22 Student Associates Kick-Off Meeting

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