Jennifer Harris (MA ’02) is a Development and Communications Consultant. During her MAPH year, Jennifer focused on gender studies. Jennifer graciously took the time to answer my questions about how MAPH life and study intersect with work in development and fundraising, giving a unique perspective on how the humanities permeate what often seems more like a “corporate” world. Check out the interview below!
Jane Hanna (MAPH ’11) on the Cultural Policy Option and her work as Social Media Strategist for the Field Museum
Every year a handful of students choose the Cultural Policy Option of the MAPH program. Jane Hanna writes about her experience in MAPH, the Cultural Policy and her really cool job at the Field Museum.
How were you involved in the Cultural Policy Center?
I worked as a Graduate Research Assistant in CPC while I completed the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities in 2010-11. As a MAPH student, I chose the Cultural Policy option, and much of my coursework was taken at the Harris School and Law School. I was looking for an academic program which would allow me to have an interdisciplinary focus, combining my interest in the arts and humanities with my career experience in marketing, and assist me in my aspirations towards a career in museum administration. I’m also a technologist and gamer and my research areas included mobile and social media and the ways in which these complicate traditional museum exhibition, education, and marketing strategies. At CPC, I helped with the preparations for the CultureLab Emerging Practice Seminar 2011, which was focused in part on engaging arts audiences through the use of technology.
Additionally, I was involved with the lunchtime workshop series as both an employee of CPC and an enthusiastic attendee. After graduating, I also participated in the marvelous Future of the City: The Arts Symposium by virtue of my association with CPC. Betty Farrell served as my supervisor as well as my thesis advisor and professor.
What do you do now?
I am the Social Media Strategist for The Field Museum of Natural History here in Chicago. In this capacity, I am responsible for maintaining a broad and ever-growing portfolio of social media pages for the Museum, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Yelp, and many more. I work closely with the scientific staff to develop engaging content that educates and entertains our digital community of fans and supporters.
I also deliver up-to-the-minute news about exhibitions, educational programs, special events, and promotions to the public several times per day, seven days per week. I monitor and evaluate the performance of these pages using Google Analytics and other tracking tools, and continually look for short- and long-term ways through which the Museum can leverage these properties for various strategic purposes. I think I have one of the best jobs at the Field not only because I am uniquely positioned to collaborate with staff working in all of the Museum’s departments, but also because I spend a large portion of my time interacting with our enthusiastic public, answering their questions, inviting them to participate in dialogues and citizen scientist activities, and learning valuable insights from their feedback.
On a morning when MAPHers are submitting papers on “The Mirror Stage,” it might be hard for them to share all of Jeremiah Glazer’s (MAPH 2008) sentiments about his time in the program.
“I loved Core,” he told me by telephone last week, “I even loved Lacan.”
Jeremiah arrived at UChicago in the fall of 2007. He jokes that between graduation and the start of MAPH he went through every one of the motions that a recently-graduated liberal arts major can go through. After finishing at BU in 2005, he worked at a law firm, toyed with the idea of law school, decided he hated legal work, and applied instead to PhD programs, hoping to study Wittgenstein. » Read the rest of this entry «
Last week’s BEAR! (no wait BULL!) market reminded me of a conversation I had a while back with Brian Richards, Managing Editor at The Motley Fool, a financial services company based out of Alexandria, VA (just a hop over the Potomac in DC). Click here to see Brian’s last fifty articles.
I asked Brian how he got into finance after MAPH, where he wrote his thesis on the topic of (depending on how you look at it, either perfectly applicable to finance, or not) horror films. At the conclusion of the program, he got a job in academic book publishing, and it was this first move after graduation that helped shape his career. “That’s where I got my skills and my vocation in editing,” he says. He worked on the academic side of the publishing industry for three years before finding an editorial opening at The Fool.
Brian says he had always considered stock-watching a hobby (heeding advice from his grandfather to invest wisely and be mindful of his money), and it made sense to apply editing skills in a field where he already had interest. This was especially true, given the background of The Fool‘s founders. “We’re very stock and investing focused,” Brian says, “but the guys who founded the company were English majors.” (Hence the company’s name, a nod to Shakespeare). Today, the site aims to publish sharp analysis of stocks, providing investors with insights and leaving news reporting and aggregation to other outlets.
“We leave questions about what happened to other publications,” Richards says. “We provide the so what and now what.”
Indexes are off a percentage point today on bad news from the German economy. So……..now what?
Brian lives in Washington, DC with his wife and two children (the second of which arrived just two months ago). Congrats!
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 «
Michelle Ruvolo applied directly to MAPH during her senior year of college and arrived in Hyde Park the following fall. “I didn’t have any plans,” she recalled when we spoke on the phone last week. Like many incoming MAPHers, Ruvolo did have a sense that the academic life was where she wanted to be after graduation. “I thought I wanted to do a PhD and be a professor in the humanities,” she said. But her perspective changed by the end of first quarter.
“I came to terms with the fact I wasn’t going to do a PhD,” she remembered. “I needed to decide what skills I would need in my next life.”
As a MAPH student, Ruvolo took courses across departments—everything from Social Thought and Philosophy, to English and Math. She completed her thesis with then-Program Director Professor Candace Vogler as her advisor, on a topic inspired by readings from Professor Arnold Davidson’s Foucault class. » Read the rest of this entry «
What were your goals upon entry into MAPH?
I came into MAPH with the primary intention of connecting with a constellation of people and ideas that can be found in the U of C Philosophy Department and almost nowhere else. There were a group of professors (Conant, Finkelstein, Pippin, Haugeland, Lear…) and interlocutors (Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Cavell, Austin, Putnam, Baz, McDowell, Brandom…) whom I felt I needed to connect with in order to make my basic education as a philosophical person complete. I’m happy to say that that intention was met: I was welcomed into advanced classes and workshops, and spent time with upper-level graduate students who were having all the conversations that I had wanted to be part of. And I still feel that the U of C Wittgenstein/Cavell/Heidegger/pragmatism axis plays an extremely important role in my sensibility and worldview. » Read the rest of this entry «
Gianna Mosser came to MAPH directly from the University of Miami. She graduated summa cum laude in three years and moved to Chicago in the fall of 2004. “I started MAPH not long after my 21st birthday,”she explained to me by phone. “I was actually told by some of the staff at the time: wow you’re really young.”
As a MAPHer, Mosser spent most of her time in the English department and focused on postcolonial studies. She wrote her thesis “Repudiating Commodified Feminine Bodies in Jessica Hagedorn’s
Dogeaters: Working toward Political Agency” under the direction of Professor Debbie Nelson.
Mosser added that she spent time doing “some non-MAPH related things.” She interned at Lyceum Books, a small independent publishing house, to help hone her editorial portfolio. After graduation, she got a job in corporate marketing for an industrial firm. » Read the rest of this entry «
Kristen Wahl Hagan entered MAPH in the Fall of 2005 after having received Bachelor’s degrees in Clothing and Textile design (Virginia Tech University) and Art History (Indiana University). She came to MAPH intending to apply for PhD programs in Art History, but her experiences working in the art world also gave her a sense of the benefits of the MAPH degree on its own. As she put it, “Jobs in the art world are few and far between and they’re often very coveted, so even though you know that you don’t need a PhD or a Masters degree to do the job, having that gives you a competitive edge in the job market.”
Hagan’s plans began to change pretty quickly once she got to MAPH. She was surprised to find that the two professors of modern art history that she had most wanted to work with were on sabbatical. Though initially disappointed, Hagan came to view this set-back as an opportunity to make her MAPH experience truly interdisciplinary, embracing the chance to become involved with other departments. Hagan says that after taking a class at the Booth graduate school of business, she began to realize that she had more of a business mind and that becoming an academic was not for her.
Hagan’s thesis, advised by Booth Professor Tanya Menon, was the product of Hagan’s cross-disciplinary interests. By using the thesis project to explore how art museums make themselves accessible to people (or often fail to do so, as Hagan argues), she began a line of thought which is directly connected to her daily work life now. Speaking of her current position as Assistant Director at Gallery KH, Hagan says, “I deal directly with people a lot. In other museum or gallery settings, people are not always willing to speak to you. I’m very conscious of that in how I deal with people.”
When asked what advice she would give to current MAPH students interested in pursuing careers in the art world, Hagan had this to say: “Because I got pushed out of my comfort zone and was fortunate enough to have success with that, I would say to get outside of your comfort zone, so that you can come back to your discipline with a fresh perspective.” Hagan also suggested that taking advantage of internships and opportunities around Chicago is a great way to figure out early on what kind of work you enjoy.
For more information about Gallery KH, check out their website here.
Beth Gallagher is the Director of Community Involvement for AON Corporation, headquartered in Chicago. According to her bio, she is responsible for “managing the day-to-day operations of the AON Foundation giving programs, which include grants, sponsorships, business unit charitable contributions, disaster relief and employee matching gifts. In addition, Beth oversees employee volunteer programming at the firm.”
But–as Beth put it in a phone conversation–she “never would have guessed that a job like this existed,” when she first arrived in MAPH in 2001. At that point, she had one year of professional experience under her belt, and thought that she was on a path toward writing education. Though she took classes in pedagogy, Beth now says that it was her job as a docent at the Smart Museum and other coursework at the University that “broadened my thoughts about education.”
She began thinking about working in fundraising. But by the time the 2002 class graduated, the job market had collapsed. “It wasn’t as bad as this,” she said, talking about the context of her first attempts to find employment in comparison with the current economic conditions. After graduation she worked as an executive assistant at Youth Outreach Services before ultimately landing a gig there in development. She has been with AON Corporation since 2006.
Beth said she looks forward to speaking with MAPH students diverse opportunities in a corporate setting. She will be speaking at tonight’s Career Core event.