What was your favorite part of MAPH? What do you remember most fondly about MAPH?
MAPH gives you a lot of time to do things you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise, and think about things you’re unlikely to think about later. A lot of the overarching goals of my work – finding persuasive ways to express the value of human dignity, analyzing how people interact with institutions – was something that Andre Bazin, the person I wrote my Master’s thesis on, wrote a lot about, even if it was in an entirely different context.
What experiences and/or choices led you to where you are now? (In other words, what would a brief sketch of your career trajectory look like?)
AfterMAPH(TM), I went to the Czech Republic because I was chasing after a girl (who I would later get married to). I took a job with a local business magazine covering banking and finance, mostly because it paid me money, but I quickly found that I was fairly good at getting information from strange places and explaining it in clear words. When my wife finished her schooling, we relocated to Beijing, where we both spoke the language. I covered China for about seven years, first as a journalist, then as an economic researcher with the Economist Group, until I joined the Foreign Service in 2014.
Michael Robbins, whose poetry has appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry, Harper’s, and Boston Review among other places, graduated from MAPH in 2004. His MAPH thesis focused on lyric subjectivity after language poetry. He has since earned a PhD in English from UChicago, published two books, and published critical articles and continues to teach creative writing.
Below is a blog post from Jeff Gilliland, who during his MAPH year, completed a creative thesis and worked for the Illinois Humanities Council through a Maph Summer Internship (which you can read about here!). Jeff currently works in Washington D.C. as the Communications Associate at Young Playwrights’ Theater.
Bringing Arts Education to Life AfterMAPH
The moment it becomes real is when you’re sitting in a darkened theater, audience roaring behind you, and you turn to your right and there’s a twelve year-old watching his play come to life, and he’s beaming.
What was your favorite thing about your MAPH year?
Although Jay’s eyebrows and Candace’s cats are up there, I think my favorite times were when I was sitting in Third World Cafe writing and other MAPHers would end up coming by to share their work or talk over the Core readings.
What were your goals going into your MAPH year? How did those goals change throughout the year?
On my application to MAPH I wrote that I wanted to get one year of intense literary education and then become a book editor. I feel lucky that things worked out that way . . . eventually.I’d been a journalist with a few months experience in book publishing before MAPH, and after MAPH I took a two-year detour teaching English in France, but then Continue reading →
Check out this interview with Alissa Smith, who graduated from MAPH in 2012. Since MAPH, Alissa has worked in the nonprofit sector and speaks about her experiences in MAPH and how they lead her to her current position.
What is your current job?
I currently serve as the Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager for City Year Denver. City Year is a nonprofit organization with 25 sites across the country and three international affiliates. While the title is relatively self-explanatory, it essentially means that I build and cultivate relationships between City Year and its work in schools and corporate and foundation partners in the community.
How does your job relate to MAPH? Do you see connections between MAPH and where you are now?
SO MUCH of my current role relates back to the work I did with MAPH…surprising since my MAPH focus was actually in Philosophy! City Year is one of the premier organizations working in the education space – AmeriCorps members between the ages of 17 and 24 commit an entire year to working full-time in underresourced, underperforming public schools, supporting teachers and administrators as tutors and mentors to ensure students reach graduation on-track and on-time. Continue reading →
Instead of writing about my experience as the MAPH-sponsored Programs and Partnerships Intern at the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) this summer, I thought I would share a second, unique-to-UChicago opportunity that I enjoyed.
In addition to interning at IHC, I worked as a content writer/editor for PinkThink, a startup formed in 2013 by Booth student Makeda Ricketts, and found the experience both rewarding and helpful for figuring out my career path.
From day one of the program, my fellow MAPHers and I were told about the coveted MAPH Internships and what great opportunities they offered upon graduation; just nine months away! I was eager to apply to these internships (indeed I planned on applying to ALL of them; I had jobs on my mind from the beginning!) yet as coursework began I found myself absolutely absorbed in my fascinating classes and my priorities changed. Continue reading →
“That’s my claim to fame,” he said. “I took Frida Kahlo to the movies.”
It was 1937. Leon Despres, Chicago alderman and activist, was visiting Mexico, sitting on a couch chatting in French with Diego Rivera while the artist painted a portrait of Despres’s wife, Marian. “I sat there in the morning while he painted her. Then we had lunch. He needed two hours more to finish the portrait, and I didn’t want to sit there any longer.” Diego Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo, happened to be hanging around the residence that day with nothing much to do, so Despres took her to the theater to see the film La Kermesse Héroïque, a French romantic comedy.
I began the Odyssey Project internship knowing its reputation for being a choose-your-own adventure process and an exercise in multitasking. I left the summer feeling like the internship had transformed in ways I never had imagined.
Unlike the interns before me, I didn’t teach a class as part of my summer internship, but I was, instead, more involved with the inner workings of the Odyssey Project concerning preparations for a new group of students and getting ready for another year of the program. While some of the work involved typical “intern” tasks like printing posters, folding, cutting, stapling, answering phone calls, and mailing applications, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the freedom I was given to create my own workload and choose an internship trajectory that fit my interests.
Before my internship with Browne and Miller Literary Associates, I had glimpsed the world of publishing from a few different angles. However, from my first day setting foot in the historic Fine Arts building in downtown Chicago, I discovered that my work as writer, editor, and reviewer barely gleaned the surface of this vast and rapidly changing industry.
Researching and preparing weekly reports on digital publishing introduced me to conflicts I may have otherwise ignored, whose ideas and outcomes will inevitably change the face of publishing. B&M’s agents (Danielle Egan-Miller, Joanna MacKenzie, and Abby Saul) and assistant (Molly Foltyn) were eager to share their experiences, putting the ideas I was learning squarely into their real life context. For instance: Continue reading →