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.
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 →
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 →
MAPH alumna Breahna Wilson took an unconventional path to MAPH: after pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Scripps College, Breahna decided to explore Cultural Policy. Through the Cultural Policy option, Breahna was able to examine the intersections between economics and the humanities, ultimately leading her to a job in wealth management, a job which requires that she consider human desires and needs in conjunction with economic interests.
Connections between academic work in MAPH and careers in service – whether in non-profits, through education, or as an entrepreneur – are essential to thinking about how the humanities function in practice as well as in the academy. Mercedes Trigos (MA ’13) graciously agreed to share some of her thoughts on the transition from MAPH to service back to academic life, and how her experiences with S.I.S.T.E.R.S., Inc inform her current work teaching writing skills at a Chicago arts school. Learn more about her experiences below!
What was your favorite thing about your MAPH year?
I have two favorite things about MAPH. The first, even though it sounds trite, is the feeling of being constantly challenged. Too often we complain about being overwhelmed and having too much to do, but, at least in my experience, there are very few things more frustrating than idleness and an inactive mind. Every class I took during MAPH forced me to be aware of how I perceive the academic world and the “outside” world, and thus to really evaluate why I perceive it the way I do and how my perceptions are influenced/shaped one way or another. Continue reading →
If you live in Chicago, you may already know about next week’sLet’s Get Working: Chicago Celebrates Studs Terkel. The festival, which runs from May 9-11, will feature screenings, concerts, talks, art installations, talks, performances, oral histories–all celebrating the incomparable Studs Terkel.* There has been a lot of attention surrounding “Reinventing Radio – An Evening with Ira Glass” and the “Let’s Get Working” concert put on by The Hideout, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, the Logan Center, and the Haymarket Brewery, but we have also compiled a list of other highlights in light of the sheer number of things going on (see below). You should check these out.
And, in case you need more reasons to come: MAPH preceptor Paul Durica is the Festival Program Coordinator and Mitch Marr (MAPH ’10), Harrison Sherrod (MAPH’13), Amanda Scotese (MAPH ’13), Ingrid Haftel (MAPH ’10) and Nick Fraccaro (MAPH ’10) are all working on this. Ohhhh, MAPH…
Check out this MAPH Alumni Interview with Harriett Green, AM ’07, English and Digital Humanities Library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for reflections on library science and life after MAPH.
What was your favorite thing about your MAPH year?
My MAPH year was actually two years: I worked full time at the University of Chicago Press and took classes part-time over the course of the two years. And one unique thing about going through MAPH that way was that I had two cohorts during my time in MAPH. So I’d say that my favorite thing was that I made a host of great new friends each year, many of whom I still stay in touch with today.
What are you currently doing (work, writing, etc)?
I am currently the English and Digital Humanities Librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A couple years after I graduated from MAPH, I decided to make the jump from publishing to libraries, so I applied to the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois (in-state tuition + Number one ranking = decision made). Continue reading →
A guest post by Jeff McMahon, MAPH Writing Advisor (MAPH ‘ 02)
S.W. (Steven) Flores (MAPH ’10) has a story in thecurrent issue of Contrary that satirizes creative writing workshops at their less than optimum. Flores is a second-year MFA student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
His story is in no way reflective of the UW-Madison MFA, he says, which he “loves to death!”, or of workshops at Chicago, but the story may be influenced by some other workshops he’s experienced.