Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA, by Stephanie Rouinfar

Meet the ASU-LACMA Fellows: Stephanie Rouinfar

January 23, 2023
Stephanie Rouinfar, Curatorial Assistant, Art of the Middle East

The ASU-LACMA Master's Fellowship in Art History—developed by LACMA and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University (ASU)—was established to combine academic training and work experience to advance the careers of a new generation of curators, directors, and other museum professionals who are committed to increasing equity and inclusion and engaging new perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds.

The three-year fellowship is intended to complement and expand the important programs at LACMA that help diversify the ranks of curators and other professionals in art museums. Pairing rigorous academic instruction through traditional master's-level coursework and a thesis with on-the-job work experience, LACMA and ASU Art Museum staff who are selected as fellows enroll in two courses per semester remotely, and fulfill language, professional development, and research requirements while continuing in their current role at their respective museums. Fellows receive access to resources at LACMA and the Herberger Institute, and upon completion of the program, receive a master's degree in Art History from ASU. In 2021, the program was also pleased to welcome the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Heard Museum, Phoenix, as new partners, giving their staff the ablity to participate as Fellows. 

We recently caught up with the current Fellows to learn more about their experiences in the program. Below, meet Stephanie Rouinfar.

What is your role at LACMA?

I was recently promoted to Curatorial Assistant in the Art of the Middle East department.

What drew you to the ASU-LACMA Master's Fellowship in Art History program?

The opportunity to keep my full-time role at LACMA while gaining a fully-funded Master's degree was really something I couldn't pass up. 

What does a "day-in-the-life" of an ASU-LACMA Fellow look like?

Well, it's a busy one. The fellows attend class remotely and depending on the time, this may overlap with working hours, so staying organized is important (though at times difficult)!

What has been the most interesting or rewarding part of the fellowship so far?

It has been really rewarding to meet and work with other fellows as well as the ASU students and staff. Everyone has been wonderful, and all the fellows are so supportive of each other, especially during the stressful bits.

What has been the most challenging part of the fellowship?

Definitely the juggling of school and work.

How has the experience influenced your career focus or future goals?

As someone who wants to continue with curatorial work in museums, it has been great to have the opportunity to meet and talk with the many different museum professionals involved in the program, whether at LACMA, ASU, PAMM, Heard, and beyond. It's inspiring to see the work they do and the different perspectives they offer.

What subject(s) do you plan to focus on in your Master's thesis?

My MA thesis will focus on a series of works in LACMA's collection by the Iranian artist Nicky Nodjoumi.

We strongly encourage current and eligible employees of the partnering institutions to consider applying to the ASU-LACMA Master's Fellowship in Art History. The next application deadline has been extended to March 1, 2023.