Meet Our Students

Photo of Zoe Nguyen wearing a white t-shirt

Zoe Nguyen (she/her) is a senior with a major in art history and a minor in museum and curatorial studies. She was born and raised in a small town in Vietnam, where the majority is devoted to Catholicism. Coming to the States, her social and cultural values were undoubtedly opposite to that of most Americans, but this difference also triggered her curiosity about multiculturalism. Zoe understands that art is one of the best sources for illustrating aesthetics, language, religion, and social values, which draws her to study the history of art. Her favorite subjects to study are the cultural exchange between the East and West and the historical events of the Renaissance period. She is also interested in learning about cultural heritage and its influence on modern society. This curiosity triggered her to take action. Last July, Zoe won the full-sponsorship Andrew Mellon program in LA for the introduction training of art conservation. Competing with her cohorts from the program, Zoe won an internship at the Cleveland Museum of Art next summer, which is also a full-sponsorship. After completing her bachelor's degree, she plans to pursue a master's degree in art conservation. Despite the language barrier and challenges from her family background, Zoe works hard to achieve her goal because she believes in Paulo Coelho's saying, "when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

Image of Cassandra Ferguson

Cassandra Ferguson is a senior art history major. Art, its history, and the various effects it has on society have always been a source of extreme fascination for her. This life-long love of art began in her infancy, wherein she would be brought to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and talked to about the masterpieces adorning its halls. Now this admiration of art history has led her to major in this field at the University of Minnesota, with hopes to eventually continue her education in graduate school. Besides a general love for art history, Cassandra is drawn specifically to the art of ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt, South Asian metal sculptures, and apocalyptic art- though also has a soft spot for the work of Art Nouveau artist Gustav Klimt. When not studying, Cassandra enjoys staying connected with friends and family, listening to music, reading, and "getting lost" in art museums for hours at a time.


Photo of Zoe Quinn

Zoe Quinn (she/they) is a third year art and art history major with an emphasis in art education. Art history initially caught her attention as a longtime art maker interested in anthropology. She is interested in the practices and social role of object making across a variety of different cultural traditions, as well as the modern revitalization of traditional craft and its intersection with activism. In addition to being an accessible way to connect art and activism, craft can connect people to aspects of life that they often are not able to easily access in capitalist society, such as meditation, joy, and a rootedness in community and tradition. In her time at her internship with the East Side Freedom Library, she has been able to explore the power of craft in community spaces through crochet and knitting. Over this past summer she created a community quilting project that has recently evolved into a group called the String Activists that collaboratively works to put together community and public art projects on the East Side of St. Paul through string mediums. She has also enjoyed her time as an art camp counselor, learning from how youth connect to art. Art encourages empowerment, exploration of identity, and critical questioning, which is why it is so important to study and facilitate. It also takes us outside of ourselves and shows us the beauty and diversity of the human experience. In terms of study, she loves revolutionary artwork. Some of her favorite art history subjects are the feminist art movement of the 1970’s, Faith Ringgold, contemporary socially engaged art, and Queer artwork. She is also fascinated by surrealism. In the future, she would love to work in a museum setting or in art education. Outside of the art world, she is an officer of Anthropology Club, a travel enthusiast, a reader, and enjoys hiking. 


Photo of Fina Mooney outside with the sun setting

Fina Mooney (she/her) is a third-year art history major and pursuing minors in both Italian studies and museum & curatorial studies. Growing up in Minneapolis, Fina’s influence in art appreciation started early with visits to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. At age five she began to pursue  traditional studies through atelier style training, and eventually she began oil painting at age nine. She has studied both domestically and internationally from New York to Florence. In addition, she has shown works from coast to coast, LA to NY and internationally in Barcelona. Her passion of speaking as an advocate for youth in the arts warranted her the opportunity to speak at national conferences, demo internationally, be featured on MPR, as well as Minnesota Women’s Press magazine. During Fina’s junior year in high school, she was accepted into the PSEO program at the University of Minnesota, and has thrived in learning at a collegiate level. During Fina’s freshman year she had become interested in various topics of art history in accordance with a lens focus on gender and race studies. She finds art history to play an important and influential role in how we understand culture, creativity, identity, politics, and more. She enjoys visiting the University’s libraries and museums, and taking on new opportunities available in her city. Fina currently plans to pursue a masters in art conservation post bachelor’s degree, continuing to keep her interest alive in art and oil painting techniques.  This semester Fina will be part of the DFRAC program closely working with Anna Seastrand’s research in the subject of southeastern India and art history. She is excited to continue to explore new topics of study, and see where her interests take her!