Mellon Immersive Experiences

These experiences offer humanities doctoral students one to several days to learn more about the workplaces, projects, research and other opportunities involved in a specific career context. Students may identify an immersive site of their own choosing or they may select from a list of organizations willing to host immersive experiences. Students will:

  • Attend an orientation workshop before their immersive experience to make a career exploration plan
  • Engage in a brief career exploration experience
  • Have the opportunity to consult with a career development professional after the experience

Host Sites

Rackham has established relationships with several sites and will facilitate the connection once you are confirmed. Some sites have limited spots.

For more information on Immersives contact: 734-615-3658

Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation

Exploring Public Humanities Non-profits


Shelley Strickland, Ph.D., Higher Education
Vice President for Development & Donor Services


The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) can host a one or two day immersive experience designed for students who are interested in learning about the work of community foundations in creating local change. AAACF has a variety of initiatives, including grants, scholarships, community partnerships and investments, and youth councils. Two immersive opportunities are available:

  • Participate in a focus group conversation with the AAACF communications staff about their website redesign. This immersive will provide participants with an understanding of how a community-based organization refines its messaging and exposes its work to the broader community, and is an opportunity to see how humanists can position complex content in accessible and compelling ways for diverse audiences.
  • On May 8, 2017, AAACF will host its annual community meeting at Washtenaw Community College. This immersive will include meetings with AAACF staff before the conversation to assist in planning for the event, as well as after to debrief the experience. This is an opportunity to explore how humanists can support organizations to connect with their community and effectively communicate with diverse constituencies.

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation strengthens our community through grants and scholarships, creative partnerships with donors, and by investing in community-wide partnerships that seek positive lasting change. The organization brings together community leaders and leverages local resources across the non-profit, private, and public sectors to create lasting change. They invest in community collaboratives that are working toward sustainable solutions to community-wide issues. For more information visit The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation website.

Application Due Date
  • January 21, 2017 (to participate in website redesign focus group)
  • March 27, 2017 (to participate in the annual community meeting on May 8)

Arab American National Museum

Exploring the Role of Museums in Community Dialogue


Matt Stiffler, Ph.D., American Culture
Research and Content Manager


Through this immersive, students will attend a community event at the Arab American National Museum Hikayat: Personal Narratives from a Cultural Perspective. Students will actively participate in the “Storytelling workshop” (4-6pm) and/or “Storytelling with Palestinians Podcast” (7-9pm) event on Saturday, March 18 at the Arab American National Museum Annex (located in Dearborn, MI). Students will then meet (at a later time to be scheduled at the convenience of the participants) with the AANM’s research manager to discuss how publicly engaged scholars can work in museum settings.


AANM is the first and only museum in the United States devoted to Arab American history and culture. Arab Americans have enriched the economic, political and cultural landscape of American life. By bringing the voices and faces of Arab Americans to mainstream audiences, we continue our commitment to dispel misconceptions about Arab Americans and other minorities. The Museum brings to light the shared experiences of immigrants and ethnic groups, paying tribute to the diversity of our nation. For more information visit the Arab American National Museum website.

Application Due Dates

February 24 (Please also register for the event on the AANM website)

Michigan Humanities Council


Joseph Cialdella, Ph.D. in American Culture
Manager, Heritage Grants Program


As part of a workplace immersion at MHC, UM graduate student(s) would gain a better understanding of public humanities work including programming and grant administration.  As part of this immersive experience, students would review final reports for MHC’s Heritage Grants Program and write drafts of short 1-paragraph project descriptions that MHC will use for our new digital portal that will host all of the projects.  Students could also attend MHC staff meetings and talk with individual staff about their roles at MHC and career paths.  Timing is flexible between Feb.-April 2017.


The Michigan Humanities Council is the state’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Founded in 1974, MHC connects people and communities by fostering and creating quality cultural programs. In carrying out its mission, MHC encourages and supports a variety of activities which bring humanities scholars and the public together to examine culture, including: awarding grants for public humanities and cultural programs; conducting public humanities and cultural projects of statewide importance; initiating collaborations and partnerships to broaden and strengthen the organizational and institutional base for the humanities in Michigan; and providing the humanities with leadership and a public voice in Michigan. Please note: this is a 1-hour commute from Ann Arbor (one-way).

Application Due Date

  • January 21, 2017
  • Limit: 3 students per semester

U-M Center for Research on Learning & Teaching


Ronit Ajlen, Ph.D., Psychology, Instructional Consultant


CRLT coordinates the GSI orientation twice annually in late August and early January. This event is an excellent opportunity to participate in the work of a teaching center. As part of the CRLT Immersive, students can train for and facilitate practice teaching (PT) at a GSI orientation. PT sessions give new instructors the opportunity to deliver a short lesson and receive feedback from their peers and you, the facilitator. After your PT training and facilitation at GSI orientation, CRLT staff will then meet with Immersive participants to talk about educational development careers.

Required dates for fall GSI Orientation Immersive:

  • Training: Tuesday August 15, 2017, 1:00pm to 4:00pm or Monday, August 21, 2017, 9:00am to 12:00pm
  • GSI Orientation: Tuesday, August 29, 1:00pm to 4:30pm

CRLT is part of the Provost’s Office and works with faculty, graduate student instructors (GSIs) and academic administrators in all 19 schools and colleges to support and enhance learning and teaching at U-M. CRLT offers a comprehensive array of curricular and instructional development activities. CRLT’s professional staff, with Ph.D.s in a variety of academic disciplines, provide both cross-disciplinary campus-wide programs and discipline-specific programs customized to the individual needs of departments, schools and colleges. For more information visit the Center for Research on Learning & Teaching website.

Application Due Date
  • June 12, 2017

U-M Museum of Art (UMMA)

Exploring Museum Education


David Choberka, Ph.D., Germanic Languages and Literatures
Mellon Academic Coordinator

Option 1

This student will help to plan for a visit by a university class to the art museum’s study rooms and assist in the teaching of the session. Requiring probably a two- or three-day commitment spread out over a couple weeks (at least one session of several hours for planning the visit and one session for the visit itself). Students will work with the Academic Coordinator to select the works to be viewed from the art museum’s collection, plan the content of the session, and experience how artworks are used for broad interdisciplinary instruction. Given the number of classes visiting the art museum, students would likely be able to choose a class whose topic is close to their interests and that fits with their schedule. Timing of the immersive must be in spring or summer term.

Option 2

This student will work with the Academic Coordinator to identify an upcoming exhibition at UMMA for which they will plan a tour for university classes. Students will research the artworks in the exhibition and design a lesson plan that other tour leaders can use to guide university classes. This option will probably require a more extended time commitment but will also have more scheduling flexibility. Timing of the immersive must be in spring or summer term.


The University of Michigan Museum of Art seeks to transform individual and civic life by promoting the discovery, contemplation, and enjoyment of the art of our world. One of the finest university art museums in the country, UMMA holds collections representing 150 years of art collecting. A dynamic schedule of special exhibitions and interpretative programs connects visitors with the rich artistic legacy of the past and today’s avant-garde. For more information visit the University of Michigan Museum of Art website.

Application Due Dates

Future deadlines will be announced in fall 2017.

U-M Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center

Exploring Careers in Academic Advising


David Brawn, Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology
Associate Director, Continuing Student Services


For this career Immersive, the Newnan Academic Advising staff will work with participants to develop a workshop for undergraduate students that promotes reflective practice and addresses core issues, like diversity, as a necessary prelude to making good decisions about applying to graduate school. This experience will expose students to program design work in the context of academic advising careers. The program design meeting is 9-10am, on Thursday October 27, 2016. Participants must be available at this time to engage in this opportunity. Participants will also have the opportunity to identify particular academic advisors with whom they would like to shadow and/or interview.


The Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center challenges students to think about their education in the broadest possible terms, and to take initiative in shaping that education as they prepare to engage with a diverse world. Through individual conversations, publications, online resources, and programs, our advisors foster the personal, ethical, and intellectual growth of students, helping them develop their academic and professional goals, make informed decisions, and act with increasing independence. For more information visit the Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center website.

Application Due Dates

Future deadlines will be announced in fall 2017

U-M Rackham Graduate School Development Office

Exploring Careers in Development and Alumni Relations


Jill McDonough, Ph.D., English Language and Literature
Director of Development


This one to two-day immersive experience is designed for a student who is interested in learning more about development and alumni relations in a higher education setting. The experience will be structured around attendance of one Rackham Development and Alumni event followed by a small group informational interview meeting with staff. The events include: the Barbour Scholarship luncheon (March 14, 2017, 11:30am-1:30pm) or the Distinguished Dissertation Awards ceremony (April 25, 2017 2-4pm). In order to put the work of the Rackham Development office in context, the immersive participants will attend one of these events and then meet with office staff to discuss the role of philanthropy at the University more broadly.


The Rackham Graduate School Development and Alumni Relations team works with the university community, Rackham students, alumni, and donors to create a culture of engagement and giving to support graduate students at the University of Michigan. For more information visit Rackham’s website.

Application Due Dates
  • February 24, 2017 (for those attending the Barbour Scholarship luncheon)
  • April 7, 2017 (for those attending the Distinguished Dissertation Awards ceremony)

U-M Rackham Graduate School’s Professional and Academic Development Programs


Laura Schram, Ph.D. in political science


Students who engage in an immersive with Rackham Graduate School’s Professional and Academic Development team will learn about careers in academic administration. Specifically, this immersive will focus on how to support graduate students through workshops, programs and campus-wide initiatives. The Rackham Professional Development programs support students in developing core skills, career awareness and job search skills. The immersive experience will be structured around planning of and/or attendance at one professional development event followed by a small group or individual debriefing and feedback meeting with staff. Please visit the Rackham events page to see a listing of our programming.


Rackham’s office of Professional and Academic Development supports graduate students in developing strategies, plans, and networks to be successful in their academic and professional development during their Michigan experience, and as they transition into their careers. To achieve this, we focus on three key areas: core skill development, career exploration, and job search skill development. We offer a range of innovative programs from professional development workshops to spring/summer public humanities internships to support students in these key areas.

Application Due Date

  • February 6, 2017
  • March 6, 2017

Ready to get started? Here’s how to apply.

Applications are accepted year-round. Please submit all materials to Please indicate in the body of your e-mail your name, e-mail address, graduate program, and your Immersive site of choice. Please also attach a current CV.

If You Are Identifying Your Own Immersive Site

First consult with Laura Schram (, 734-615-3658) to design an effective and mutually beneficial experience. Then include in your cover letter the organization and the person who will host your immersive experience, along with the person’s contact information.

E-mail Your Application Today