Written by Jallicia Jolly, Doctoral Student, American Culture When I used to think of fundraising and philanthropy at the university level, I thought of transactions. I viewed these as largely unidirectional. A vacant monetary...
Last semester, I participated in a daylong Mellon Immersive Experience at the Michigan Humanities Council to assist with the Heritage Grants review process, and to learn more broadly about the organization’s strategies for promoting...
Do you have a career path that you are interested in learning more about? Is there an organization that you would like to collaborate with on a small project? If so, Rackham has a program for Humanities students to pursue short-term career engagement and mentorship opportunities. Looking back at my experiences as a graduate student, I now see how several brief, focused commitments led to more career clarity and important positioning for my current career path.
Graduate students find different ways to make ends meet during the summer. With dissertations and job searches on their minds, summer can be fraught with the need for funding, experience, and time to conduct research and continue writing. Tough choices often lead to choosing the practical need to pay the rent over furthering graduate work. Not for the Mellon Fellows, however.
I had no idea what to expect when I got a call saying that Rackham’s office of Development and Alumni Relations wanted me to join their team for the summer. At that point, I had little notion of what “development” meant, nor how vital maintaining good relationships with alumni is to the way institutions like the University of Michigan are able to thrive. All I knew was that among other things, I would have the opportunity to find, interview, and write about distinguished alumni—and that was motivation enough for me.
How can scholars located in the academy make their skills and work relevant to the broader community? This question is a big one for many scholars in the humanities, particularly in my field, history. It is also a particularly relevant question for historians in my major fields of interest, African American history and women’s/gender history. Historians and other scholars have been at the forefront of contemporary political issues this summer, in particular – consider the #CharlestonSyllabus compiled by bloggers at the African American Intellectual History blog in response to the nightmare murder of nine black men and women at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 18, or the brief of historians of marriage, which was used to support the case for same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court of the United States. There are many other examples of scholars using their skills and expertise outside of colleges and universities. I am defending my Ph.D. dissertation this spring, and as the defense date has gotten closer, I have often wondered about how to apply my work outside of the academy.