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Lora Sariaslan '99

Touching History

By Theresa Kuhlmann

Lora Sariaslan '99Lora Sariaslan '99 touches art and history every day.

Curator at the Istanbul Museum of Art, Sariaslan, a Turkish international student who graduated from Knox in 1999, creates exhibitions; acquires original works of art; educates visitors; labels exhibits; keeps careful track of museum inventory; welcomes and shows world leaders and royalty the museum; and, at times, oversees research on collection pieces. Yet she didn't always plan on working in museums or in the field of art history.

Sariaslan's first declared major at Knox was biology -- in fact, she came to Knox because of the biology program -- and art history was her minor. "After my second term as a biology major and, most important, after dissecting a wonderful pig that my lab partner and I even had named" she says, "I realized that biology was not really my cup of tea."

Her minor then became her major.

"Greg Gilbert, associate professor of art, got me interested in art history," she says. "His passion and true interest in sharing that passion made a complete difference for me. Professor Gilbert taught interactive and horizon-opening classes, which I know first-hand made a lot of students switch majors or declare art history as their field like I did," she says.

Sariaslan says her Knox education encompassed everything from studying classics to women's studies to studio art and that "made for a fuller education." Her Knox experience, first and foremost, helped make her a free thinking and expressive individual. "It taught us to be independent, and I think this goes even further for international students, who create a completely new beginning for themselves during their time at Knox."