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!
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
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
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!
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading