MAPH Internships: The Odyssey Project

2010 Odyssey Project Graduates

A core program of the Illinois Humanities Council, The Odyssey Project provides college-level instruction in the humanities through seminars led by professors at top-tier colleges and universities. Our very own Hilary Strang teaches a course at The Odyssey Project’s North Side campus.  The Odyssey Project offers free courses in philosophy, literature, art history, and history for men and women living below poverty level.  Students receive six units of transferable college credit. The Odyssey Project offers a first-year course, a Bridge Course for graduates of the first-year course, and a Spanish language course.

The Odyssey Project is accredited by Bard College as the Clemente Course in the Humanities—there are iterations of this course all across the country—in which students do a year of credited coursework in the humanities. The program exemplifies the impact that access to an education in the humanities can have in the lives of the so-called underserved. By bringing powerful resources from which its students would otherwise be excluded, the program embodies the commitment to education knowledge as instruments of social change that the academy often theorizes but cannot always put into practice.

The Odyssey Project is run by a truly outstanding woman, Amy Thomas Elder, whose story you should all read. It’s amazing what she has done and continues to do.



(“A Day in the Life of an IHC Intern” after the jump)

As an intern with the Illinois Humanities Council you will be exposed to an exceptionally dynamic, mission-oriented environment. Each year, the IHC produces and/or funds over 1,000 public humanities activities throughout the state which are attended by more than 40,000 participants.  The IHC values collegiality, imagination, and flexibility in the workplace.

As the Odyssey Project Intern, some of your responsibilities will include: assisting the director of the Odyssey Project in recruiting new students and identifying/visiting potential recruiting outlets, assisting current Odyssey students in their college application process by helping request transcripts, fill out financial aid documents and complete applications, prepare reports on student/teacher evaluations, helping to prepare Odyssey Project public communications, helping to plan and execute the Odyssey student magazine (on-line and print), assisting in the planning and carrying out Odyssey events–solicit food donations, help set up, clean up.

Last year two recently-minted MAPHers interned with The Odyssey Project; read about their experiences here, at afterMAPH.

For more information about the Illinois Humanities Council and their programs, visit:

One thought on “MAPH Internships: The Odyssey Project

  1. hstrang

    I’ll just quickly add that the Odyssey Project is Clemente Course in the Humanities (of which there are versions all over the country), accredited by Bard College. Our students do a year of humanities coursework for which they get college credit. It’s an amazing program — run by an incredibly smart and committed woman named Amy Thomas Elder. I’m happy to answer questions about Odyssey –we’ve had some MAPHers volunteering on the southside campus this year who might also be willing to answer questions.

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