Meet the WAM Collective (2022/23)
Michael is a student apart of WAM Collective. Michael has a big smile, and

Michael Abdon
Maple Grove, MN
Fourth Year (anticipated graduation 2023)
Marketing, Business Law

Why WAM Collective? The Weisman is an important figurehead for the University, and I wanted to take on the responsibility of representing our student voices. I'm also grateful to finally tune into the artistic part of my brain I haven't had the opportunity to use in my college career.

Favorite Artist? Someone online painted Pokémon into landscape oil paintings, and I enjoyed that a lot. I thought it was really creative to paint Pokémon in a whole new art style and to integrate them so naturally in beautiful landscapes.

Astrological Sign? Cancer

Hobbies?  I like to do anything I can in nature--hiking, biking, or sitting.

Coffee or Tea? Tea for sure--specifically a hot lavender milk tea.

Karaoke Song? "Love on Top" by Beyoncé

All-time Favorite? The movie Everything Everywhere All at Once is earth-shattering on all fronts.

Audra Sims in a white sweatshirt

Audra Sims
Phoenix, AZ
Second Year (anticipated graduation 2025)
Graphic Design

Why WAM Collective? I have been an artist my entire life and aim to get a better understanding of the inner workings of museums. This is an opportunity to experience a professional arts environment. As a POC woman, the WAM Collective’s goals of interacting with the student body and public through use of socially relevant pieces really interested me.

Favorite Art Medium? I really enjoy dissecting performative or painted pieces. I feel that they can sometimes be the most visceral and expressive mediums to portray many themes.

Astrological Sign? Virgo

Hobbies? Dancing, playing sports (volleyball, soccer & ultimate frisbee), and baking.

Coffee or Tea? Tea. I prefer oolong and green, but I love trying new flavors.

Karaoke Song? "Psychosocial" by Slipknot

All-time favorite? The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

Peter Verdoorn Portrait

Peter Verdoorn
Hudson, WI
Second Year (anticipated graduation 2025)
Architecture, Art

Why WAM Collective? I really wanted to get involved on campus and in the local art scene in Minneapolis. The interaction with exhibiting artists and discussion of museum practices is something that I see being very beneficial to my career, as well.

Favorite Artist? Edward Hopper. The simplicity of Hopper's brushwork and the perceived detail that it translates is truly amazing to me.

Astrological Sign? Pisces.

Hobbies? Disc Golf and Painting.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee; a hot lavender latte.

Karaoke Song? "Gypsy" by Fleetwood Mac.

All-time favorite? Fantastic Mr. Fox (book & movie).

Jude Pettit portrait

Jude Pettit
Houston, TX
Third Year (anticipated graduation 2023)
Art History, Russian, Chemistry

Why WAM Collective? I initially joined the WAM Collective because I was aware that the idea of a museum is founded in colonial pillaging, and I wanted to have an active role in a museum to better understand how to help rectify these histories.

Favorite Artist? My favorite artist is Hieronymus Bosch. He is visually paradoxical with an abundance of manipulated religious imagery and weird mutants. There is always something new to look at every time you see his works. I also just think his mutants/creatures are funky and fun little friends!

Astrological Sign? Cancer.

Hobbies? I love to do literally any weird craft kit (most recently I bought a weird dinosaur plaster kit and then painted them).

Coffee or Tea? Either! A nice earl gray tea or a dirty iced chai.

Karaoke Song? I have never done karaoke, nor can I sing, but if I had to it would be "My Body's Made of Crushed Little Stars" by Mitski.

All-time favorite? The movie Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Srishti Patel

Srishti Patel
Irvine, CA
First Year (Anticipated Graduation 2026)

Why WAM Collective? I joined WAM Collective to experience the "behind-the-scenes" of the museum world, as well as engage in meaningful conversations about the field.

Favorite Artist?  My favorite art piece is Krishna and Radha in a Pavilion. It is a beautiful work of art in the Rajput style (unfortunately no known artist). I love the contrast of the golden pavilion, and the dark stormy sky. The bolt of lightning streaking through, as well as the rendering of the human figures, is so passionate. It's just a gorgeous painting that I've found myself just staring at.

Astrological Sign? Aquarius.

Hobbies? I've been getting back into reading! Currently reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.

Coffee or Tea? Tea; Almond Milk Tea with Tapioca Pearls (50% sweetness, light ice).

Karaoke Song? "Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts.

All-time favorite? Book series The Diviners by Libba Bray.

Joleece Pecore

Joleece Pecore
Stevens Point, WI
Third Year (anticipated graduation 2024)
American Indian Studies, Art

Why WAM Collective? I joined the WAM Collective so that I could learn more about museum practices, and how I can help contribute to changing the narratives about BIPOC people, especially Indigenous people. One of my biggest goals is to help create real representations of Indigenous people, especially in media and spaces like museums, where we have been inaccurately represented since their origins.

Favorite Medium? Graphite because that is the medium I use most often and is most accessible.

Astrological Sign? Scorpio.

Hobbies? I like to stay active, usually through basketball or lifting.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee; an iced vanilla latte.

Karaoke Song? "Patience" by Antoinex.

All-time favorite? Anime series Attack on Titan.

Olivia Patterson Portrait

Olivia Patterson
Delevan, WI
Fourth Year (anticipated graduation 2023)
Developmental Psychology, Neuroscience

Why WAM Collective?  I joined the WAM collective because I wanted to learn more about the internal processes of museums and the art world. I was curious about what went into curation, how museums function and support a community, and how museums are changing today.

Favorite Artist? My favorite artist currently is Bisa Butler; she does massive textile and quilting portraits. The colors and materials she uses are breathtaking and unlike anything I had ever seen before.

Astrological Sign? Capricorn.

Hobbies? I love to paint and I love to cook!

Coffee or Tea? Solidly an iced vanilla latte with oatmilk person, but during the holidays I really love a peppermint mocha.

Karaoke Song? "What's Up" by 4 Non-Blondes.

All-time favorite? My favorite movie is the Parent Trap.

Olivia Gulden portrait

Olivia Gulden
Golden Valley, MN
Fourth Year (Anticipated Graduation 2023)
Theatre, Performance Creation Concentration

Why WAM Collective? I wanted to join WAM Collective to collaborate and problem-solve with fellow creatives. I adore being in an environment with multidisciplinary perspectives and I'm so excited to build a community together and get to work!

Favorite Artist? I adore Art Nouveau, particularly the work of Alphonse Mucha. I have several paintings and illustrations of his decorating my apartment because I find that their ethereal nature both calms and inspires.

Astrological Sign? Capricorn.

Hobbies? Singing/songwriting.

Coffee or Tea? Espresso please!

Karaoke Song? "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy" by Queen.

All-time favorite? The Sopranos.

Sophia Brister portrait

Sophia Brister
Minneapolis, MN
Fourth Year (Anticipated Graduation 2023)
Anthropology, Museum & Curatorial Studies

Why WAM Collective? I joined the Collective first to exercise my vocality as a student as well as to understand the gears and cogs of museum operation. Creative and cultural heritage is my hopeful sphere of professional work!

Favorite Artist? Traditionally, Jean Michel Basquiat is a favorite of mine because of his honesty, social advocacy, and his roots in street art. Lately, though, I've become curious about the gentler tradition of realism and oil painting.

Astrological Sign? Virgo.

Hobbies? I love to hike and botany is a quiet super-hobby of mine.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee. Always a hot oat milk latte (sometimes with raspberry and vanilla, if I'm feeling spicy).

Karaoke Song? "Waterfalls" by TLC.

All-time favorite? Harry Potter. I'm a Ravenclaw!

Da'Miah Jones

Da'Miah (Miah) Jones
Twin Cities, MN
First Year (Anticipated Graduation 2026)
Sociology of Law, Criminology & Justice

Why WAM Collective? I joined to help make our museum a more inviting place for people of all identities. Also to bring a perspective of social justice to the museum.

Favorite Art Medium? I love hip hop because it is the music of my people, it feels like home. There are influences from our African ancestry, American history, and it reflects our current lives.

Astrological Sign? Libra.

Hobbies? I love making music. I write, sing, and play instruments.

Coffee or Tea? Both! I love chamomile or lemon tea, and any kind of coffee.

Karaoke Song? "Stay" by Rihanna.

All-time favorite? The book Legendborn by Tracy Deonn.

Ava Jax Portrait

Ava Jax
Chaska, MN
Second Year, 2025
Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature, Entrepreneurship, Philosophy

Why WAM Collective? I was looking to join a community of creative people motivated to make art accessible to all people on campus. Having an art museum on campus is such a unique aspect of the UMN, and I want as many people to enjoy it as much as I do. Additionally, I quite enjoy learning and writing about art, and this gives me another excuse to!

Favorite Artist? My favorite artist is René Magritte. Surrealism as an art movement resonates with me, along with his intellectual approach to art. His work evokes a desire for conversation, and explores ideas of perception and rationalism, which I find very interesting.

Astrological Sign? Libra.

Hobbies? Playing bass guitar.

Coffee or Tea? Cold brew with vanilla & half-and-half.

Karaoke Song? "Heart of Glass" by Blondie.

All-time favorite? The book Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino.

Maggie Ready portrait

Maggie Ready
La Crescent, MN
Third Year (Anticipated Graduation 2023)
Art History

Why WAM Collective? I’m really interested in deepening my connection to museum practices, and I’ve really enjoyed my time working at WAM over the past year. I see a lot of potential in having a museum like this exist on campus.

Favorite Artist? Todd Schorr is just one of many examples of my favorite types of art. He creates really intricate illustrations using methods of Old Masters to create a grotesque/humorous commentary about the human condition.

Astrological Sign? Capricorn.

Hobbies? I really enjoy camping/spending time outside, and working on art projects of my own.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee. Café Bustelo. Drip method. Cream and sugar.

Karaoke Song? "Wide Open Spaces" by The Chicks.

All-time favorite? The book and movie Into The Wild.

Srihita Patel portrait

Srihita Patel
Eden Prairie, MN
Third Year, 2024
Supply Chain & Operations Management, Museum & Curatorial Studies, English

Why WAM Collective? I joined the WAM Collective because I wanted to be involved with the local art/museum community, and WAM Collective is an accessible way to do that while meeting other students with the same interests!

Favorite Art Medium?  One thing I'm always excited to learn about in my art history classes is kunstkammern. There is something really exciting about an artwork that features hundreds of other art pieces. I also love that artwork containing kunstkammern shows us the origins of museums and public history.

Astrological Sign? Taurus.

Hobbies? Reading.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee with oatmilk.

Karaoke Song? "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift.

All-time favorite? Favorite book: The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

Laura Pilarski

Laura Pilarski
Programs & Student Engagement Associate
WAM Collective Liaison