Carlee Forbes

Student Info

Graduation Year:
May 2011
Kalamazoo, Michigan

What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
After graduating, I jumped right back into school. In 2013, I completed my MA in Art History at the University of Florida. While at UF, I was presented with a range of fantastic opportunities. First, I joined a curatorial team that planned a major exhibition project called Kongo Across the Waters. It is a collaborative effort between UF's Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art and the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium. Additionally, I was able to continue my passion for marching band by becoming the colorguard instructor for the Gator Marching Band. In 2012, we traveled to London to participate in some of the Olympic festivities.

I am now pursuing my PhD in art history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My focus is on Central African art—specifically on the colonial encounter between the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo and Belgium. I am greatly looking forward to researching in the DRC and Belgium.

How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
In a broad sense, the RCAH taught me that my education can take my anywhere. In a more academic sense, the interdisciplinary approach of the RCAH's curriculum greatly prepared me for graduate school by teaching me to look at issues from many different angles and to always ask questions.

What were your academic interests in RCAH?
I double majored, combining RCAH with History and adding specializations in African Studies and Museum Studies. The RCAH curriculum fit perfectly into my interests as well as my hobbies. I particularly enjoyed courses that focused on developmental practices, world cultures, and textiles.

What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
One of the best aspects of the RCAH is the student-faculty relationships. The RCAH is very fortunate in that the faculty have such a strong commitment to student success. In the formal sense, we are always able to drop by their offices because they are right there in Sny-Phi. But then there are also all the informal events, meeting in the hallways, lunches in the Gallery, and evening events. It is a true collaborative, cooperative atmosphere.

Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU? If so, which programs?
Yes! I participated in the Mali study abroad in the summer of 2008 and returned in summer of 2010. Additionally, I was a part of the co-sponsored semester study abroad to Dakar, Senegal in spring 2010. It was through study abroad that my passion for African studies really flourished. I cannot advocate enough for the benefit of study abroad; it is such a great life experience.

What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
The RCAH offers the opportunity for you to mold your own education. Take advantage of that. Go abroad, suggest class topics, join RCAH Council, get to know the faculty, and engage in the tough conversations.