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Art students push boundaries with Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships

Deb Lustig and Keela Dooley are senior art majors traveling in different directions. Both received Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF), but they each spent their summer delving into their unique passions: Lustig's involves a research journey and Dooley's is creating a work of art.

Lustig, an art history major, used her SURF grant to go to Germany and discover how society has changed Charlemagne's visual representation throughout history.

Her mentor is Carlee Bradbury, associate professor of art history.

"She has exhibited superior skills as a student of art history," Bradbury said. "She is talented for research and is relentless in both her search and analysis of primary and secondary sources. She will be a wonderful ambassador for Radford University."

Through the fellowship, Lustig attended an intensive German language program at the Goethe-Institute, traveled to various museums to see objects and places showing evidence of Charlemagne's imagery, and concluded her research in the United Kingdom with interviews of scholars in the field.

Dooley, a senior jewelry major, was hard at work in the studio, researching and hand raising a silver tea set.

"The metal form is raised up from a flat sheet by hammering it against a steel form known as a stake," Dooley explained about the hand raising process. "By holding on to the metal at a 30 degree angle against the stake, this creates an air pocket which allows the metal to move."

SURF has given her the funding needed for the supplies and the large amount of sterling silver required for the project.

Dooley believes this will help her become a master metalsmith and also aid her in gaining acceptance into graduate programs.

"This project will make me stand out among many other applicants because I will have the understanding of the physical working properties of sterling silver through raising," she said. "This is an essential process for a professional metalsmith to experience."

Associate Professor of Jewelry Alison Pack is her mentor.

Aug 19, 2014