Student Spotlight: Gabrielle Lugbauer C’22

Gabrielle Lugbauer C’22

What attracted you to Drew?

When I visited Drew, I immediately loved the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts and the Art Department. Throughout my college application process, I compared every other college’s art department to Drew. Despite my indecisive nature, the decision to go to Drew was an easy one.

Did you know what you wanted to major in when you started at Drew?

From the beginning, I knew one of my majors would be studio arts. However, during my first year at Drew, I had many other academic interests that I wanted to study as a major. I ended up changing my mind multiple times.

Painted landscape by Gabrielle Lugbauer

Why did you choose Studio Art and History as majors?

I narrowed down my interests and decided to focus on my passions of history and studio arts. Since my childhood days, I have loved drawing and painting. I attended a middle school for the arts where I studied visual arts. I also went to a specialized high school, where I was in a college-level design program, so art is significant in my life. History has always been one of my hobbies. I wanted to gain the proper skills of a historian by studying history academically. Majoring in history and studio arts just made sense for me.

Digital Art by Gabrielle Lugbauer

Did you have an idea of a dream job when you started at Drew?

During my first semester at Drew, I thought I wanted to be a cultural anthropologist because I enjoyed learning about various cultures. However, I soon found my passion for museum work, and I hope to enter the field after graduating from Drew.

Have you done any internships?

In the summer of 2019, I completed an internship with the Drake House Museum. I had the opportunity to work on archival projects with historical objects from the 19th and 20th centuries, and it was my first hands-on experience in a museum setting. I also attended conferences for New Jersey museums with my supervisor, where I learned about the grant application processes for smaller non-profit institutions. I even met Congressman Tom Malinowski while attending a memorial ceremony for an African American Cemetery discovered in Bedminster, NJ. It was a great experience, and I am still in contact with my former supervisor. Currently, I am applying for summer internships to continue gaining experience in museum work and archival work.

How long have you worked for the Center of Civic Engagement?

I have worked for the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) since 2018. My first position was as an office assistant, where I would help with events and perform office tasks like making copies and going on flyer routes. Now I manage the social media accounts for the CCE and make flyers and graphics to promote events. I have been able to grow with this position and learn so many skills. I absolutely love my job and working with Amy Sugerman and Dr. Amy Koritz!

Do you have any mentors at Drew?

Center for Civic Engagement Assistant Director Amy Sugerman and Director Dr. Amy Koritz are my on-campus support system.  I can always speak to them about things outside of my role as an employee of the Center for Civic Engagement. They are continually looking out for me.

Also, Art Professor Raymond Stein has offered me so much encouragement since my first class with him. His enthusiasm is contagious, and we bonded over our mutual love of Guns N’ Roses.

Art History Professor Dr. Margaret Kuntz is one of the best professors and gives such great advice; she is always willing to answer my questions. I appreciate her guidance in my museum studies, and I love taking her classes!

Art Professor Jason Karolak has also been a great help. I asked him for tips on an independent art restoration project of my aunt’s artwork, which I am currently finishing. He was so responsive and willing to help me. I am grateful for his advice because this has been a meaningful project for me to undertake. In my experience, the entire art department at Drew is so awesome! I could go on and on. I have received so much support in my academic endeavors!

Have you studied abroad? Done any short or NYC trecs?

Last semester, I completed the NYC Semester on Contemporary Art. Although this semester was virtual, I enjoyed meeting so many different art professionals. Because of the circumstances, the semester included artists outside of the New York contemporary art scene, which would not have been possible if the semester was not virtual. It has inspired me to dedicate my extra time to building my practice as an artist, which has been a great distraction during the ongoing pandemic.

What issue in the world means the most to you?

Several issues mean a lot to me. I often worry about the state of the world and how best to solve problems that seem to be ever-present in society. I learned about this idea of generational trauma from books that I have read. Trauma being passed down through continuous cycles of behaviors or shared experiences from one familial generation to another. Also, there are suggestions of trauma passing through genetically (although I have not done enough research on that idea). Since the start of the pandemic, I have thought about this concept, especially after seeing numerous socio-economic issues worsen. There are aspects of society where people are still excusing behaviors of those who are creating trauma for others. It is sad to see the perpetuation of marginalizing people, especially already vulnerable populations.

I have thought a lot about the responsibility people have to each other, to create a safe and equitable world for all. I am considering how I show up in this world. How I treat people, and my contributions to the trauma of others. Times that I have been a bystander and allowed for hurtful behaviors or actions to happen in my presence. There are so many people dealing with hurt and trauma. Unfortunately, many do not have the opportunity to get their needs met and can unknowingly continue cycles of trauma for themselves or others. While I am no expert, I think generational trauma is the basis for so many other prevalent societal concerns. This issue of generational trauma affects humankind, and I worry about its continuous impact on the world.

What are a few of your favorite memories of Drew? 

My favorite memories are the weekly meetings with my housemates in the La Casa Latina theme house. Each week we would enjoy a different activity together, sometimes we would play Uno, and other times we would host a movie night or make friendship bracelets. For one of the house meetings, we made tortillas. It was so fun! I had never made tortillas before, and I was not the best tortilla maker, but it was a nice moment spending time with some awesome people. I miss those moments with my housemates since many of them graduated in May of 2019. I did not get to enjoy a full year of living with them because of COVID-19.

What advice would you give students who are just starting out that you wish you had when you started?

When I began at Drew, I dealt with serious anxiety and burnout from the academic pressures of my pre-college education. I wish someone would have said to me, do not try to force yourself to have your entire career and life planned out. So to all students just starting, it is okay to explore and dabble. There is no need to live up to a hyper-perfectionistic idea of what you “should” be doing to get the most out of college. Find things you enjoy and pursue interests outside of your studies because it is a wonderful way to relieve stress and learn about yourself.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

In five years, I hope to have a position at a museum or cultural institution. I look forward to working with collections of art or history artifacts every day. Also, I would like to continue my practice as an artist in some capacity.

Any Fun fact (s) you would like to share? 

I was a ballet and jazz dancer for a decade. When I was in my first year of dance, my dance company was invited to Disney World to perform at Magic Kingdom. Although I no longer dance, it is one of my favorite memories, a very magical experience!

Verbal Visual Narrative – Painting (Work in progress) by Gabrielle Lugbauer

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