Alumni + Careers

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The prestigious Fulbright España Senior Research Fellowship has been awarded to Dawn Hunter (’90 Painting), an associate professor in the School of Visual Art and Design at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

The award is in support of her new series of drawings and paintings titled Aesthetic Instincts: the Intersection of Art and Science in the life of Santiago Ramón y Cajal. This new body of artwork is an immersive, comprehensive biographical project that, through visual art, examines and represents the life of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (May 1, 1852 – October 17, 1934). Ramón y Cajal was a Spanish scientist and the first person to demonstrate that the nervous system was made up of individual units (neurons) that were independent of one another but linked together at points of functional contact called synapses. Ramón y Cajal illustrated the results of his studies with elegant drawings of neurons that he proposed work independently or collectively, and that each individual unit can participate simultaneously in individual or multiple neuron functions. Ramón y Cajal was a 1906 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine that was awarded jointly to another neuroscientist, Camillo Golgi “in recognition of their work on the structure of the nervous system,” however, their research was mutually exclusive and embraced opposing theses. Santiago Ramón y Cajal is considered by many to be the father of modern neuroscience.

Hunter said: “It is an honor to receive such a tremendous life-changing opportunity. I am immensely thankful to everyone at my University, the NIH and the Instituto Cajal who have helped me in the development and realization of this project. I am particularly grateful the Dr. Jim Augustine for believing in the vision of my idea and encouraging me to invest in this creative endeavor. Cajal was such a fascinating and inspiring individual. I look forward to deepening my understanding of him and his work through this upcoming sojourn in Spain.”

While in Spain, Hunter will continue the development of her creative project by researching the archives of the Cajal Legacy of the Cajal Institute or Instituto Cajal. The Cajal Legacy contains many items bequeathed to the Instituto Cajal, which includes some research items like microscopes, manuscripts, medals, as well as Cajal’s scientific drawings and photographs. The Instituto Cajal is the oldest neurobiology research center in Spain which belongs to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The Cajal Institute originates from the Laboratorio de Investigaciones Biológicas, founded in 1900 by order of King Alfonso XIII in honor of the Moscow Prize awarded to Santiago Ramón y Cajal.

Dr. Juan De Carlos, the curator of the Cajal Legacy, invited Hunter to apply for a Fulbright at the Instituto Cajal after meeting her and seeing her speak at a professional meeting hosted by the National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD. NINDS Senior Investigator, Jeff Diamond, invited Hunter to deliver a presentation at the first international symposium honoring Cajal, October 2015 held at the NIH. Hunter also participated in the second international conference, May 2017 held at the Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain.

Fulbright Scholar awards are made possible through funds appropriated annually by the US Congress, contributions from partner countries and the private sector. The Fulbright program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other nations.

Jim Campbell wins the "Oscar" of the Comic Book World

OverTheGardenWall_02_A_Main-watermarked-675x1024Jim Campbell (’99 illustration) won big at ComicCon in San Diego on July 22 when he took home the Will Eisner Award for his Over the Garden Wall comic book.

The comic book is based on the Emmy Award winning cartoon miniseries by the same name that ran on Cartoon Network in November 2014.   Campbell was also the storyboard artist on the prime-time cartoon, which chronicled the epic adventures of two half-brothers Greg and Writ. The comic books series is split in two, with Campbell telling the story of Greg and his frog and Amalia Levari and Cara McGee covering the story of Anna the Woodman’s daughter.

In a recent interview on, Campbell explained why the comic book is different than the art style of the television show.”I try to keep the main characters mostly on model and follow some of the vague style rules of the show.  But of course my lifework will just end up going off those rails sometimes and I let it.  On some level, I am really just incapable of totally mimicking someone else’s style.  Anyway, I feel like comics look best when an artist has the freedom to be themselves.”

For more about Jim Campbell and Over the Garden Wall, read the following:



Alumnus Jason Siebenmorgen Awarded a Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture

A KCAI alumnus has recently been awarded a Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture.  Jason Siebenmorgen graduated from KCAI with a BFA in Sculpture in 1993, and was accepted into Harvard’s internationally recognized Master’s program in Landscape Architecture.  He is currently a senior associate at the highly regarded Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. Landscape Architects, P.C. in New York, NY.

Rome Prize Award Ceremony

A group of 19 of the 31 2016-2017 Rome Prize Winners at the Arthur and Janet C. Ross Rome Prize Ceremony, Kaplan Hall Auditorium of the New School, New York, NY, May 8, 2016 (Photography by Christine Butler)

The American Academy in Rome announced the winners of The Rome Prize Fellowships in April, and it is one of the most prestigious international awards in recognition of architecture, landscape architecture, art history and scholarship. Prizewinners are awarded a residency at the Academy’s villa in Rome, for period of up to a year, which annually supports advanced independent work in the arts and humanities within a unique residential community. The thirty-one artists and scholars selected will each receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board for a period of six-months to two years at the Academy’s eleven-acre campus in Rome. The Rome Prize winners were presented at the Arthur and Janet C. Ross Rome Prize Ceremony, which was held in Kaplan Hall Auditorium at the New School in New York City April 21, 2016.

Siebenmorgen received the Garden Club of America Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture for his project titled, From Ancient Italy to Urban Parks Today: A Study of the Role of Plants in Italian Gardens and Their Influence on Urban Park Design. For his project, he will investigate the role of plants in Italian gardens, their influence on Western design, and the evolution of these private gardens into public parks today. His research-with direct access to sensory, cultural, historical, and academic markers in Rome’s gardens and archives-will trace what prompted the Italian fascination with flowering plants that later fell out of favor. His studies will provide a foundation and enable him to create a movement toward using flowering plants in landscape design.

Rome Prize winners are selected annually through a national competition process by independent juries of distinguished scholars and artists in one of the eleven disciplines supported by the Academy, including: Literature, Music Composition, Visual Arts, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, and Historic Preservation and Conservation, as well as Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern, and Modern Italian Studies. Nationwide, almost 900 applications were received from 46 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. For more information about The Rome Prize and Siebenmorgen’s fellow recipients, visit