Below is an update from recent MAPH Alum Bart Pushaw (’13) on his Fulbright in Estonia. For graduate students interested in applying for Fulbright, the deadline for the 2014-15 year is September 30th, 2013. You can find more information on the University of Chicago’s Graduate Affairs website.
In his book Estonia: A Ramble Through the Periphery, Alexander Theroux devotes an entire chapter to why he abhors the small Baltic country. The first two pages of the last chapter are filled exclusively with sentences beginning with, “I hated…” While his disgust for Estonia, accrued while accompanying his wife during her Fulbright fellowship in Tallinn, treats banal facets of quotidian life in the country, it is all too easy to fall into his trap and blindly agree with him. Estonia is obscure, the proper names are strange in comparison with Anglo-American standards (take, for example, the names Tiit, Ene, Aat, Epp, etc.), and beating your naked self with birch branches in a 80°C (172°F) sauna before rolling (your still naked body) in the snow to only jump in a freezing lake might seem a little extreme. But, such a nation would be obscure to Americans growing up in the Cold War era, where Estonia did not exist until it emerged among a plethora of so-called “random” post-Soviet states in 1991 (actually, the Republic of Estonia was also sovereign entity from 1918-1940). And Estonian names are, in fact, normal to Finns—of course a result of Estonians and Finns descent from a singular ancient Finno-Ugric, and notably non-Indo-European, culture. Besides, beating yourself in a sauna is something that really should be experienced before it is written off!
Those of you who have spent some time exploring Chicago may have come across the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts. Based in the beautiful Madlener House in Gold Coast, the Foundation puts on exhibitions, screenings, and other public events that promote discussion about architecture and its role in the arts, culture and society. In addition to providing public programming, the Graham Foundation makes grants to both individuals and organizations interested in doing projects “that investigate the contemporary conditions, expand historical perspectives, or explore the future of architecture and the designed environment.” Although the Foundation’s primary focus is in the field of architecture, its organizers are also looking for work that comes from the humanities, the sciences, and fine arts that addresses questions of architecture and space.
Applications for the Graham’s 2014 Grants to Individuals are now available online. The deadline to submit an inquiry is September 15, 2013. There are two types of individual grants offered: Production and Presentation and Research and Development. If you are interested in applying you can find more information about eligibility here, and you can also view last year’s recipients 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.