Introducing Katherine Van Kirk, the 2016 Chen-Yang Fellow

My name is Katherine Van Kirk, and I’m a rising sophomore majoring in Engineering Physics. I am the 2016 Chen-Yang Fellow working in the Art + Science lab, and this summer I will be looking at paintings in the Cantor’s collection. I plan to investigate underdrawings, an artist’s initial sketch of his/her work – but it’s possible that I could even find a painting beneath a painting!


Katherine Van Kirk, 2016 Chen-Yang Fellow

I’ve always loved art. My mother, grandmother, and I used to paint together, and my mom and I were always crafting homemade cards when I was growing up. In fact, I’ve developed a small business here at Stanford where I sell the cards I make in my free time.


Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 11.01.27 AM

One of Katherine’s homemade cards

I’ve also always been really interested in the sciences. I’m particularly awed by physics, and I love the thrill of coding. And when looking for underdrawings, I will need to understand the physics behind infrared imaging, and I will also need to code to analyze the infrared images.  So, pursuing technical art history at Cantor is great because I can incorporate multiple interests into my underdrawing investigation!

I’m really excited to combine all of these interests – art, physics, and computer science – and to see where this summer takes me. Stay tuned to hear about what I find!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s