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.
After I graduated high school in ’99 in the Chicago suburbs, I moved to Chicago proper where there was simply more happening in terms of art, music, and culture. I would frequent thrift and vintage stores like Ragstock and Hollywood Mirror, where alternative magazines like Lumpen and Newcity exposed me to communist politics and early Chris Ware comics, respectively. To me, Newcity was everything urban and alternative, and as my new local magazine, it heralded a big change from the suburban newspapers touting the local high school band’s achievements. Years later, when I saw a MAPH internship for Newcity, my heart skipped a beat. Surely if I could intern for such an established, long-running magazine (25 years and counting), I would be a part of something important, gaining knowledge about publishing and Chicago alike.
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 →
If you ever find yourself doing archival research (which—thesis, so most likely yes), you’ll probably come across these nifty things called finding aids. They provide background information on the subject, tell you what you can find in the particular collection and where to find it.
I used them during my thesis research and blessed the magical person who put it together without really giving it much thought of how they were created. But this summer at the Newberry Library, that all changed. Continue reading →
A guest post by Stephanie Bonaroti, MAPH’s 2014 recipient of the Rafael Torch Memorial Fellowship.
After another zero-results-yielding LinkedIn search for a post-MAPH job, I was exhausted. I was getting my degree from UChicago, and I didn’t understand why typing “music” into the search box wasn’t granting me with endless career opportunities. Just like everyone else in MAPH, I was knee-deep in my niche thesis topic (cultivating gendered meaning in 19th-century German domestic music-making, to be exact) and I was lost as to how to carry this academic passion over into the real world. Conveniently on the same day I had reached my tipping point with LinkedIn, I got an email from a small Hospice company based in Chicago that was seeking a Music & Memory intern for the summer. The position was, of course, unpaid—as so many positions that interest MAPH students are. The idea immediately excited me in a similar fashion to my academic work, but I dismissed it quickly because of its daunting financial label. Don’t worry, this tale has a happy ending I promise. Continue reading →
My experience in MAPH taught me the relevance of archival work and the way it breathes life into the arguments I want to make in my field. My MAPH internship made me a participant, a gatekeeper, in that archival work. As an intern in the Department of Special Collections at the Newberry Library, I have been working on the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Collection. My internship coincided with the last few months of the multi-year project of processing this large collection. My primary responsibility was the processing and arrangement of correspondence between land agents, and various parties involved in land transactions. CB&Q land agents wrote to businessmen, firms that sold land to other individuals, lawyers, small businesses, and countless hopeful farmers. These thousands of letters all deal with land transactions, but they also track a living history. In reading and processing these letters, I have been able to form a picture of CB&Q’s part in American corporate growth, as well as the development of countless small towns across the United States.