MaGSA Members


caitlin earley


Caitlin Earley is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art and Art History. Her dissertation research focuses on Maya sculpture of the Comitán Valley in Chiapas, Mexico, where she seeks to understand how art from sites like Chinkultic and Tenam Puente functioned to convey specific meanings in the Late Classic and Postclassic periods. She also maintains an active interest in art of the Preclassic period, including the sculptures and ritual caches of Chiapa de Corzo, and the visual vocabulary of framing bands in Preclassic art and architecture. Throughout her research, she is particularly interested in iconography, landscape, and the ways in which people use art to construct identity.



Bethany Duke McLyr received her M.A. from the UT Department of Art & Art History in the spring of 2014. Although her research interests vary widely, her Master’s Thesis “Palatial Soundscapes: Music in Maya Court Societies” builds upon her primary research interest in the musical archaeology of Mesoamerica. Bethany has further given conference papers on Mixtec and Maya musical practices; conducted organologies on sound artifacts from La Milpa, Belize; and worked as a Field Technician for the Ransom Williams Farmstead Archaeological Project. Before joining the Art History department for her BAA (2011) and MA (2014), Bethany received her Associate’s degree in Anthropology at Austin Community College and her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from UT’s own Department of Anthropology. Bethany cannot live without daily coffee or her trusty penny whistle, which she carries at all times. You never know when you might need a little music.


michael long

Michael Long
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Art and Art History

Michael Long is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art History at UT Austin where he studies Pre-Columbian art and archaeology. Michael received Bachelor's degrees in art history and anthropology at Louisiana State University prior to the completion of an MA in art history at UT Austin. His current interests include cognitive and phenomenological aspects of Mesoamerican sculpture, the art and archaeology of the Pacific Slope, and theoretical trends in the anthropology of art. Michael Long's Master's thesis, completed in 2011, is entitled "Tab Figurines and Social Identity at Middle Preclassic La Blanca."



Elliot Lopez-Finn is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Art & Art History. She joined the University of Texas at Austin at the M.A. level in the Fall of 2012, after completing her A.B. at Princeton University (Department of Art History and Archaeology). Elliot’s M.A. thesis entitled “Defining the Red Background Style:  The Production of Object and Identity in an Ancient Maya Court” grew from her primary research interest in the regional diversity of Maya polychrome pottery in the Classic Period.  Elliot has previously worked on field excavations in Cyprus and Guatemala; and her secondary research interests include map-making and memory in Postclassic and Colonial Central Mexico, intersections of indigenous and European artistic style and iconography, and the confluence of text and image in Mesoamerican writing systems. Elliot could not live without cats – in a very abstract sense, of course.



Meghan Rubenstein


Meghan Rubenstein

Meghan Rubenstein is a PhD student in the art history department concentrating on Pre-Columbian art and architecture. Her dissertation, Animate Architecture at Kabah: Terminal Classic Art and Politics in the Puuc Region, will explore the relationship between iconography and the built environment in the northern Yucatan peninsula. As part of this project, she is working closely with the George F. and Geraldine D. Andrews papers located in the Alexander Architectural Archive at the University of Texas. Other research interests include the reuse and adaptation of iconography in Mesoamerica, Terminal Classic politics in the northern lowlands and Colonial Maya art. Meghan holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MA from Indiana University.



Alexandra Madsen is a Master's student in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. Alexandra’s main scholarly interest explores the intersection of indigenous and colonial artistic renditions in the New Spain. She has previously worked on Roman and Etruscan excavations in Italy, as well as a site in Connecticut from the Archaic period. Alexandra received her Bachelor of Arts in History, with specializations in Spanish and Classical Archaeology, from Saint Anselm College in 2014. Alexandra could not live without bringing group snacks to seminar, because hey, everybody needs snacks!




Edwin Román is an ABD Ph.D. candidate in the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Edwin obtained his Licenciatura in Archaeology from the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala in 2006.  He has participated in several archaeological projects in Guatemala, most recently at the sites of Cival, La Joyanca-Zapote Bobal, Sierra del Lacandón, El Perú-Waka, Piedras Negras, and the Motagua Valley. Edwin also worked at the Maya site of San Bartolo for 5 years. His interests include identity, architectural studies with special attention to Pre-Classic and Early Classic Maya architecture, art and iconography in the Maya Lowlands. Since 2009 he has been co-director of the El Zotz archaeological Project in Petén, Guatemala. Edwin cannot not live without his field-ready transition lenses or Pollo Campero. Lucky for Edwin, Austin opened its first Pollo Campero in 2014.



Stephanie Strauss is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Art & Art History. Her research explores the interconnectedness of text and image in early Pre-Columbian art, with the aim of situating Mesoamerican hieroglyphic writing systems and semiotic practices into their greater social context. Her dissertation will focus on Isthmian art and writing. Stephanie previously worked as a ceramics researcher at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and on field excavations in Spain. Before entering UT as a Harrington Doctoral Fellow in 2013, Stephanie graduated with distinction from Yale University with a B.A. in Anthropology and Latin American Studies (2011) and received her M.A. in Anthropology from George Washington University (2013). Stephanie cannot live without flats or Earl Grey tea (hot); or, she supposes she could, but it would not be very pretty.


Adriana Linares Palma is a PhD student at the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies. She received a bachelor’s degree in Archaeology from the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala in 2009 and a M.A. in Latin American Studies at UT in 2014. Her research interests include Mesoamerican archaeology, female figurines, public archaeology, community-based archaeology, multivocality, feminist archaeology and decolonizing archaeology. Adriana has gained expertise working in the field since 2002 in several archaeological projects in the Maya Lowlands and Highlands of Guatemala. Her current focus of study is community-based archaeology in the Ixil area, in the Western highlands of Guatemala, as an ongoing project that is discussing with indigenous leaders the benefits and risks of conducting archaeological research in their communities, and incorporating their concerns into a community project for knowledge production of their ancestors for their own uses. Adriana is also interested in including ethnography and oral history into archaeological research for a better understanding of the ancient past.