'I designed a website that highlights contemporary Haudenosaunee artists'

Rayna Klugherz

History of Art & American Studies
Solon, Ohio

What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?

One of my main extracurricular activities is the Cornell Club Swim Team. Club Swim is important to me because it is where I met my best friends and had great opportunities to grow as a leader in the roles of vice president and president. I also loved that I was able to continue competitive swimming, which I have been involved with since elementary school, and we have been able to travel and attend meets at other schools in the Northeast.

group of four swimmers

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

My favorite memory was seeing the art exhibit “Art and Environmental Struggle” at the Johnson Museum, which I contributed to, go live online and be set up in person. For the exhibit, I worked with the curatorial and education staff to design and create content for a website about the exhibit, and I wrote wall texts for two artworks in the show. I was so excited to see my work in the museum and online. Additionally, it was special when an elementary school teacher reached out to the Johnson one year after the exhibit had been physically taken down to share that her students had found the website as part of classwork on environmentalism, and they enjoyed both looking at the exhibit and using the site to learn about climate change.

group of people at football field

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

Some of the most valuable skills I gained from my Arts & Sciences education are to step out of my comfort zone in my studies and be willing to challenge myself to explore new subjects and take on new opportunities. I also gained the ability to think more critically about how different topics are entangled to have a broader perspective of the world.

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?

I am most proud of my independent study work with Dr. Jolene Rickard to design and develop from scratch a website that highlights contemporary Haudenosaunee artists and works to assert Haudenosaunee knowledge into the digital space. I did significant research into the historical and ongoing relationship between digital technologies and Indigenous communities, as well as had many discussions with Dr. Rickard and other Haudenosaunee artists to best approach this website to ensure the most representation of Haudenosaunee people and their culture. In conjunction with this project, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with two Haudenosaunee artists to discuss their use of digital media in their artworks, how they use customary knowledge in their art, and any challenges they face in incorporating digital media and customary knowledge.

group of people with Touchdown the Bear

What are your plans for next year? 

I will be attending UCLA School of Law, where I intend to learn more about law regarding cultural heritage, Indigenous communities and other art-related topics.


Every year, our faculty nominate graduating Arts & Sciences students to be featured as part of our Extraordinary Journeys series. Read more about the Class of 2023.

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Rayna Klugherz