We’re just about five weeks away from the MAPH Reunion. To help you all get a sense of the great panels that we’re having during the afternoon, we’ll be posting bios of the MAPH alums who will be speaking in the afternoon. Today, it’s two alums on our Writers Panel. Remember that festivities kick off with the Director, Preceptor, and Staff Lunch–open to all alumni–at 11:30, and will continue with the “Alumni in Unexpected Places” and then “MAPH Alumni Writers” panel in the afternoon. In the evening, we’ll be headed to English Pub and Restaurant for a party hosted by the Alumni Relations and Development office.
Early registration has been extended! You can still sign up for all the events for only $10.
Hilary Vaughn Dobel, MAPH '09
Hilary Vaughn Dobel (MAPH 09) is a native of Seattle, Washington. She holds a BA from Princeton University, an MA in Humanities from University of Chicago, and is currently an MFA candidate in poetry and translation from Columbia University. She lives in New York City, where she runs the Writer-Translator reading series and works as an editorial intern at Parnassus: Poetry in Review. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Contrary, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Lana Turner. Although she spends most of her time on the coasts these days, she’s thrilled to be back in Hyde Park to talk poems.
Michael Washburn, MAPH '02
Michael Washburn (MAPH ’02) is a Kentucky-born, New York-based writer. In the nearly ten years since his MAPH days, Michael has worked in the public humanities, curating programs designed to facilitate public discourse on politics, history, music, and literature. He most recently served as assistant director of the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Prior to joining CUNY he was the assistant director of The University of Chicago’s Cultural Policy Center, and before that he was charged with faxing copies and making copies of faxes at the Illinois Humanities Council. He recently gave up all of the wealth, influence, and prestige offered by his humanities career for the greater glory of the freelance life. Michael writes for The New York Times Book Review, The NYT Travel Section, The Washington Post, NPR, Bookforum, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Guardian, and numerous other publications. He is a frequent contributor to The Boston Globe. Michael is currently a research associate with the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and this fall he will begin teaching on book culture and the future of criticism at NYU. Michael was recently named the 2011-2012 Nonfiction Fellow at the CUNY Writers’ Institute. He’s currently procrastinating – heroically, though, very heroically – on his first book.
Spring? Ha. Yeah. Right. Didn’t come to MAPH for the weather, that’s for sure.
Prospective students have to decide by tomorrow whether to come to MAPH. I’ve always thought it is a useful exercise (whether you’re a current student just finishing up the first draft of your thesis, or an alum from the class of 1997) to think about the reasons why you came to MAPH in the first place. Thinking back to my own experience, I came to MAPH frustrated by the PhD application process, pretty panicked about my life, and very disappointed about my inability to make a decision about what I wanted “next.” MAPH settled me down and made me think clearly about what a PhD would entail (and why it might not be a good fit for me). Here’s an excerpt from my piece “Why a Terminal Master’s?” Full text can be found here.
What were your reasons for coming to MAPH? Are they the same now? MAPHCentral would love to hear your comments.
Over the course of the past year working with MAPH I have spoken with a lot of our 1500 alumni. Our graduates live around the world and work in diverse fields—everything from non-profit management to hedge fund risk management. They find jobs in development, investment banking, law, journalism, advertising and public relations, corporate finance, secondary education, and curatorial research. One alumnus ran the 2008 Obama campaign’s finances in Florida. One is studying to be a veterinarian. Others are administrators at charter schools, English teachers, guidance counselors, and of course, professors.
We have no astronauts. Yet.
Why has a program that focuses so tightly on the development of humanistic skills produced successful alumni in diverse fields? It can’t just be that we leave the University with a healthy understanding of the classics and wind up running creative departments at advertising agencies. Rather, the breadth of success serves as compelling evidence that graduate work in the humanities can be (don’t laugh) integral to one’s long term career satisfaction. Graduate work in the humanistic disciplines improves one’s ability to engage in most activities that characterize the professional world.
That said, no one should trivialize the financial commitment of student loans that are associated with graduate school. I certainly don’t. My loans are growing, even as I type. And they’re not going away any time soon. But I don’t cower in fear of them, and I certainly don’t dodge my statements when they arrive. The important thing to think about when considering whether to take the plunge (ie: take out huge loans) is that any graduate work should be seen as an investment in oneself, and an opportunity for self-enrichment that will accrue benefits in the long run.
Continued at My Footpath here.
Steve, living that grad student life.
I caught up with Steve Capone right before he embarked on a marathon grading session. Steve is in the midst of finishing his coursework in the Philosophy Ph.D. program at the University of Utah (Salt Lake City) and we spent a few minutes commiserating about grading. But it turns out that the life of the mind–at least in the Rocky Mountains–has some pretty great perks. Aside from his academic pursuits, Steve skis and snowboards. He has a season pass at Snowbird, and was planning on getting out to The Canyons Resort the day after we spoke.
“I’ve been so busy with work that I’ve probably been out there only ten days,” Steve told me. It’s the kind of complaint that would roil the blood of any skier locked in the frigid flatness of the nation’s midsection (read, any MAPHer past or present suffering through the useless cold early spring weather).
Steve graduated from MAPH in 2007 and spent a year in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Asked to describe his gap year, Steve recalled, “I managed a bookstore and prayed that I got into a Ph.D. Program.” Things worked out, and he is now on track to finish and defend his comprehensive paper (which Utah does in lieu of an orals exams) in the Fall. For this paper, Steve is working on a critique of luck egalitarianism. Though he is also working on a project related to the popular scholarship of Richard H. Thaler and Cass Sunstein (authors of Nudge), we spent the bulk of our conversation talking about luck egalitarianism, and its various critiques. » Read the rest of this entry «