Clara Cho Wun Ma

Biography Paragraphs
Clara Cho Wun Ma
Clara Cho Wun Ma

Clara is a fourth-year PhD student in the McIntire Department of Art. Her research studies the experience of Buddhist monks living at the border between Tang China and the Tibetan Empire from the eighth to the tenth centuries. It investigates how did the multi-cultural environment of the borderland transform local Buddhist cult and identities. 

Clara has participated in the Digital Humanities module of the PhD Plus Program. She is interested in becoming a university educator. In addition to her role as a Liaison, Clara has participated in the Tomorrow’s Professor Today (TPT) program and served the research committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ Student Council (GSASC). She also worked as a technologist at the Scholar’s Lab Makerspace.

Q: Why did you apply for the PhD Plus Liaisons Program?

A: I want to explore how digital tools can be applied in art historical research and how these tools can yield new perspectives on art objects. By systematically organizing these art history-oriented methods, I intend to develop an accessible platform to digital tools for future art historical studies. As the field of art history begins to consider the significance of teaching with digital images, I also hope to learn how digital tools can enhance students’ experience of viewing art, and how we can incorporate these tools into classroom-based teaching and learning.

Q: What are you doing as a PhD Plus Liaison in the context of your department and “Digital Humanities” area of focus?

A: I have developed a library guide for the major digital humanities research tools in art history. The library guide offers an introduction to the types of tools and software for organizing research materials, developing spatial analysis and data visualization, and creating online archives. The library guide includes relevant digital projects, and related readings, which will be useful resources for developing teaching syllabus on these research methods.

Q: What professional skills are you developing as a PhD Plus Liaison?

As a PhD Plus Liaison, I am developing practical skills in creating user-centered design, content management, and communicating with students and staff from the library.


The primary role of the PhD Plus Liaisons is to bring the professional training provided by the broader program into specific disciplinary/departmental contexts and to communicate the needs of specific departments and disciplines back to the broader program. Liaisons communicate with students and faculty in their home departments about their peers' professional development needs, helping to gather departmental feedback to be used for the development and improvement of the program and conferring with liaisons in other departments across the University of Virginia. In addition to supporting their fellow graduate students and informing the continued evolution of the PhD Plus Program, Liaisons themselves benefit from sustained access to training, mentorship, and support in a professional focus of their choosing.


Over the following months, PhD+ Liaison highlights will provide an opportunity to get to know the Liaisons for Academic Year 2019-2020. Learn more about these PhD student leaders, why they decided to participate in PhD Plus Liaisons program, their professional development goals, and how they are collaborating with the PhD Plus program and their departments.

We will select 2020-2021 cohort of the Liaisons Program in Summer 2020.

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