Posts Tagged ‘graduate school’
The Woodlands Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
On March 23, 2012, public history and museum studies graduate students, along with emerging professionals in these fields, participated in the second annual Public History Community Forum. Held at the Woodlands Historic Mansion, Cemetery and Landscape in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, PubComm12 featured a number of behind-the-scenes tours, a panel of professional public historians, and lively discussion.
Far left: Jim Mundy, Board President for the Woodlands Cemetery Company
Jim Mundy, Board President for the Woodlands Cemetery Company and Director of the Library and Historical Collections at The Union League, provided a brief history of the site, including its transformation from an expansive private estate and innovative garden to its current status as a National Historic Landmark and active cemetery. PubComm12 attendees broke off into four tours led by staff members; a house tour, a cemetery tour, a landscape tour, and a special “director’s tour” with Executive Director of The Woodlands, Jessica Baumert.
From Left: Robert Lukens, Sarah Rutman, Jessica Baumert, John Petit, Charles Hardy III, Ross Brakman, Sarah Hagarty
After the group reconvened, the panel discussion “Paths to Success” began. Seven professionals from the Mid-Atlantic region offered advice based on their experiences as students and emerging professionals; Jessica Baumert, Executive Director of the Woodlands; John Pettit, Assistant Archivist at the Urban Archives at Temple University; Ross Brakman, Field Study Coordinator for the American Institute for History Education; Sarah Hagarty, Coordinator of Educational Resources and Initiatives at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation; Robert Lukens, President of the Chester County Historical Society; Sarah Rutman, Assistant Registrar and Conservator at the New Jersey State Museum; and Charles Hardy, III, History Professor at West Chester University, Oral and Public History Documentarian, Historical Consultant, and Supervising Historian for ExplorePAHistory.com. An eighth panelist, Lyndsey Brown-Frigm, Executive Director of the Jacobsburg Historical Society was unable to attend.
Approximately 40 students and professionals attended this year's event
The panel was followed by a question and answer period, during which the approximately forty attendees asked the panelists and each other about coursework, internships, and career goals. As the discussion continued, the importance of networks and willing sacrifice emerged, as did the sense that it pays to keep our eyes open, as opportunities may present themselves outside institutions or the academy.
Ideas for next year’s Public History Community Forum are already coming in. Suggestions include hands-on workshops for resume or grant writing, “speed mentoring,” and a ThatCamp inspired “wild card” session that attendees vote on the day of the event.
Part of PubComm’s goals is fostering a public history community and providing opportunities for graduate students and emerging professionals in the region. As such, PubComm12 was organized by a committee comprised of graduate students and recent graduates from La Salle University, Temple University, and Rutgers-Camden.
PubComm12 was made possible by the support of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities at Rutgers-Camden, and the guidance of Dr. Charlene Mires and Dr. Robert Kodosky.
Photo Credits: Adam Clements and Molly Dixon
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers-Camden is pleased to announce its continuing sponsorship of the second annual Public History Community Forum, PubComm12.
The event is to be held on March 23, 2012 at the Woodlands Historic Mansion, Cemetery, and Landscape in West Philadelphia. Registration will start at 12:30PM and the meeting is expected to last until 5PM. There is no registration fee. This free conference is geared toward current public history graduate students from around the Philadelphia region. Students are encouraged to attend to listen to professionals from across the public history community discuss their own career paths. Speakers will explain how they came into the field and their current employment, as well as the most important steps they took to achieve success.
The event is free, but pre-registration is necessary. Current graduate students and emerging professionals in public history and museum studies are strongly encouraged to attend, as are interested undergraduate students. Established professionals interested in sharing their wisdom are always welcome. To register, visit PubComm12′s Eventbrite page. For further information, Sara Borden at email@example.com.
Success doesn’t come overnight. For most, landing a dream job requires short-term sacrifices—you’ve got to be willing to pay your dues in order to reach long-term goals. In the field of public history maybe that means volunteering to get a foot in the door at an archives or museum. Or maybe that means seven more years of graduate school. But how does one pay their dues while paying their dues?
Living a frugal lifestyle is about being resourceful and planning ahead. While it might not be easy or pleasant at first, here are some tips that helped me to make ends meet:
Housing: In the past, I have used Craigslist to find low-cost places to live (and haven’t been killed or maimed by a psychopath). If you are really looking to save, consider renting a room in someone’s home rather than finding a one-bedroom apartment. Better yet, get a roommate to bring down costs. Even better yet, rent a one-bedroom apartment with a significant other and your rent will be dirt-cheap.
Food: cook your meals at home and pack a lunch. Buying prepared meals at school or at work is always more expensive than bringing something from home. Since packaged convenience foods tend to be more expensive and less nutritious, cooking for yourself might actually help you drop a few pounds while saving money. I also recommend attending all meetings with free refreshments.
Coffee: Make your coffee at home. Seriously. Even if you have to buy a new coffee maker and a top of the line travel mug, you will still be saving more than if you bought a latte every morning.
Books: Borrow textbooks for class from the library—interlibrary loan has everything. I know we all love to buy and own books, but think of how it will feel to box and haul a mountain of books when you have to move out of your apartment in a year or two. Read the book for free from the library, and then decide if the book is good enough to buy.
Conferences: Academic and professional conferences are one of the biggest expenses for graduate students and young professionals. While these events are great for networking, choose the one or two most promising conferences to attend instead of going to all. In the past, I have volunteered to set up at conferences or to blog about the event in order to get in for free. Email the organizers months in advance to ask if there is any kind of help they need. It’s worth a shot.
Entertainment: My recommendation is to work and study a lot so you don’t have a chance to realize that you aren’t being “entertained”. However, if that’s not plausible, nowadays university and public libraries have DVD collections. I recommend borrowing movies instead of going to the movies. Also, don’t pay for cable because most TV shows are available online for free.
Holidays: Ask your friends and family for practical gifts like gift cards to the grocery store. And maybe if you’re good, Santa will bring you that multi-pack of toilet paper you’ve had your eye on!
For the past two years, I have been a member of Americorps VISTA which is an arm of the American version of the PeaceCorps. I was stationed in a museum where I wrote community outreach programming for inner-city youths. However, my term of service ended in November and I’ve been unemployed ever since. Some folks attempt to reassure me by saying that grad students are expected to be un(der)employed and poor, but being jobless is quickly losing its charms especially since my new landlord has made it clear that he doesn’t accept conference papers in lieu of rent. What does a young public-historian do when she finds herself unemployed and living in a new city? She attempts to network.
A friend once told me that networking is the act of creating and using social interactions to expand professional contacts and opportunities. So, to cope with my unemployment, I have been asking friends, relatives, acquaintances, and strangers about their jobs and I’m calling that networking. For example, last week my roommate and I went to a local brewpub to meet her father and his friend, Walter. Much to her embarrassment, I engaged this Walter character in a conversation about what he does for a living. Shortly after he finished describing his career with excitement in his voice, I suggested in no uncertain terms that he should hire me to help him fly planes to locate the illegal Marijuana farms that dot the Pennsylvania country-side. Apparently, I’m not “qualified” for that position just because I lack a pilot’s license and don’t know what weed looks like.
A few days later at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, I chatted with a uniformed middle-aged park ranger behind the information booth. When I asked her about her position, she replied with a grin and explained that she is retiring in three and a half months. “Can I have your job, please? “That’s not how it works.” “Fine. Whatever lady. Nice hat.”
Maybe grilling people about their careers isn’t exactly networking. For me, the real purpose of asking people what they do for a living is to hear more about jobs I haven’t considered and at the very least it’s a good ice breaker. This morning in the used book store/coffee shop down the street from my apartment, I nonchalantly asked the owner, “is this your dream job?” 25 minutes later our conversation ended with me landing an interview with a friend of hers who owns a used bookstore in a nearby town. Perhaps there is no wrong way to network
Friends and co-workers looking to apply to graduate programs have come to me for advice and it has been satisfying to be able to offer my two cents as a mini-mentor. It is especially important to me to help out where I can because when I first considered applying to graduate school, I really didn’t have any guidance. With a general idea of what I was interested in studying, I relied on a combination of Google searches, graduate student blogs, and blind guessing. Since none of my friends had applyed to graduate school and no one in my family had gone through the process before, who was I supposed to look up to for advice and instruction? It’s not like I could learn from the experiences of reality television role models on programs such as America’s Next Top PhD Candidate, Say Yes to the Stress, Who Never Wants to be a Millionaire, or So You Think You Can Pay off Your Loans. (I hope you’re listening network television producers!) All joking aside, in these planning stages I absolutely would have benefited from having a mentor to guide me through the process.
Relationships between mentor and mentee take different forms, but generally speaking a mentor is a professional who offers encouragement and advice to a younger person looking for direction. These partnerships are invaluable and often teach rewarding lessons that are not covered in a traditional classroom setting.
The large majority of my peers who have meaningful mentor partnerships have linked up with professors with similar research interests but it doesn’t always have to be that way. While professors have guided me through the sometimes murky academic waters, as someone who isn’t primarily concerned with starting a career in academia, I have found professional mentorships to be more valuable. The best lessons I’ve learned have come from job supervisors willing to take me under their wing and teach me how to learn from their mistakes and successes. To me, this is almost a dual mentorship because these folks navigated through similar educational situations, but are also able to offer practical career advice as well.
The first bit of advice I give out to anyone who will listen is to visit the website Freerice.com. It’s an engaging game that tricks people into learning vocabulary, grammar, and math skills. In addition to preparing players for at the very least the GRE, with every right answer the sponsors of the site donate ten grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. Check it out.
The Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware invites submissions for papers to be given at the 10th Annual Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars. The conference Material Matters, will be held at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library on April 14, 2012.
Focus: Object-based research has the potential to expand and even reinvent our understanding of culture and history. In honor of the tenth anniversary of the MCSES, we seek a broad range of papers from emerging material culture scholars. Whether exploring the latest theories, viewing existing material through a new lens, or reinterpreting standing historical conversations with an object-based focus, proposed papers should exemplify the possibilities in material culture research. In exploring these material matters, we hope to promote an interdisciplinary discussion on the state of material culture studies today.
Participants will have the opportunity to tour Winterthur’s collection of early American decorative arts and engage in a roundtable discussion on April 13. Travel grants of up to $300 will be available for presenters.
Submissions: The proposal should be no more than 300 words and should clearly indicate the focus of your object-based research, the critical approach you take toward that research, and the significance of your research beyond the academy.
Deadline: Proposals must be received by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.
For more details, please visit the conference website.
(From H-AMSTY & University of Delaware Material Matters website)
Cultural Sustainability M.A. students share ideas during their summer 2010 residency at Goucher College. Photo courtesy Rory Turner.
By Linda Shopes
It all began with a casual conversation on the way to class and a couple of well timed e-mails. That’s how Rory Turner, a folklorist and assistant professor in the sociology and anthropology department at Goucher College, describes the origin of Goucher College’s Master of Arts in Cultural Sustainability, a 39.5-credit graduate program that combines an interdisciplinary approach to culture with practical professional skills.
Nearly 60 public history students, professionals, and faculty attended an inaugural Public History Community Forum organized to build community and collaboration in the Philadelphia region. Initiated by MARCH and cosponsored by the Temple University Center for Public History, the event on April 29 offered tours and informal roundtable discussions about recent projects, career issues, and opportunities for collaboration. Among the student participants were contingents from Temple, Rutgers-Camden, Villanova, University of the Arts, and West Chester University.
Amid the fellowship, it became clear that aspiring professionals shared a common concern about their career prospects in the current economic climate. Well-prepared by graduate programs, many are finding their opportunities limited to unpaid internships, limited-term grant projects, or part-time positions without benefits. While these may be viewed as reasonable entry-level stepping stones into the field, the next steps are difficult to envision at a time of tight budgets for many potential employers.
Participants in the forum offered suggestions for future collaboration to share information and better prepare new professionals for the realities of public history work today. In an evaluation survey completed after the event, participants advocated highly the creation of an online bulletin board for sharing information about projects and needs. In addition, many supported a proposal to create training seminars on new media skills, grant-writing, and entrepreneurship, to better prepare the next generation of public historians.
MARCH thanks all who helped by staging or participating in this event — watch for further news about our emerging collaboration for public history in and around Philadelphia.
Join an afternoon of fellowship with students in public history, museum studies, and historic preservation programs throughout the Philadelphia area. Unique tours run from 1-3 p.m. (meet at the Philadelphia History Museum), followed by roundtable discussions of projects and public history issues from 3:30 until around 6:30 p.m. (meet at Temple Center City). MARCH is pleased to be a co-sponsor of this event, with the Center for Public History at Temple University and other programs throughout the region.
Please register in advance on our registration page.
Just because you have a term paper, article, or conference submission deadline quickly approaching doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a short getaway with your friends and family. The following tips and tricks will help you talk anyone into joining you on (and paying for half of) your research trip!
During my first semester of graduate school I needed to visit the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University to do some research for a term paper I was writing. Unfortunately, there was an obstacle standing in the way– actually several hundred obstacles. To access the primary source material that I needed I had to embark on a 7-hour road trip. For a cash-strapped grad student the idea of paying for gas, tolls, and a semi-clean hotel room was out of the question unless I could bring a friend to reduce the overhead. On paper it seemed like a good plan—we’d visit Harvard early on the first morning of our trip, pop into the Boston Public Library to take a look at a few WWI era newspapers, and finally round out the day driving through the suburbs of Boston looking for the historic building that was the topic of my research project. Then the next day we’d head back into Boston to do the things 23-year-olds do when visiting a historic city- you know like getting lost attempting to use the subway, mixin’ it up with the locals, trying to find Cheers, and sitting on the ducks in the Boston Public Gardens.
Well, let’s just say things didn’t go according to schedule. At the Schlessinger Library quickly after the novelty of being at Harvard began to wear off I felt pressured by my friend’s look of glary-eyed boredom to hurry through my work. Same exact thing happened at the Boston Public Library. Ultimately, I cut the research part of the research trip short but I learned a valuable lesson on that spring day in New England: Do not trade an efficient research trip for half price fun in Boston. This experience made me wonder, “Could there be a way to couple cost-effective travel with a productive work schedule?”
With a little bit of forethought and a lot of creativity, I found a better way to trick friends and family into joining me on my academic adventures. Here’s how you can do it: plan a corresponding activity for a friend or family member near the research repository you need to visit, drive out together, but then go your separate ways. When you’re finished meet up again to grab a bite to eat and explore the area together. Luckily for us, the Mid-Atlantic Region has a high concentration of historic and cultural hot spots that make planning a double duty day trip a breeze. What follows are some resourceful research trip ideas to help you find a way to mix work and play:
1. Maryland–Trying to locate evidence proving that former Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew’s gubernatorial campaign strategy was impacted by his mother’s death? Be sure to visit the Special Collections at the University of Maryland to view his personal records, correspondence, appointment books, speech transcripts and more. Invite your Dad along but advise him to grab his clubs! Send him off to play a round on the 18-hole University of Maryland Golf Course while you get down to business.
2. Washington, D.C. —Writing a dissertation chapter about the impact that astronauts in post-moon landing America had on shifting white masculinity during the 1970s? While you are busy analyzing footage of NASA interviews at the National Archives, send your boyfriend to a Redskins game at nearby FedEx Field. You might miss the yummy tailgating food but redirecting the energy you would have exerted pretending to like football could only serve to boost the intensity of your work.
3. Pennsylvania — Conducting research on the visual representation of the old maid stereotype as portrayed in postcards during the early 1900s? Spend your day looking through the over 7,000 postcards held in the Alice Marshall Women’s History Collection at Penn State Harrisburg. Meanwhile, send your friends out to satisfy their candy cravings at HersheyPark. Don’t forget to text them during their tour of Chocolate World with a not-so-subtle reminder that Kit Kats are your favorite.
4. New Jersey—Working a project for a public history course on farming techniques in turn of the century America? Visit the Howell Living History Farm in Lambertville, NJ and immerse yourself in a hands-on and interactive experience of New Jersey farming during the years of 1890-1910. While you’re sheering sheep, milking cows, and chopping wood, lend your girlfriend your wallet and send her a short ways down the road to the popular sister towns of Lambertville and New Hope. This area boasts many delicious dining options, high-end antique stores, trendy art galleries, and trinket filled shops that dot their charming main streets. It’ll keep her busy and you won’t have to pretend to enjoy walking through yet another candle store.
5. Long Island – Have you been putting off that genealogical fact-checking trip to the Suffolk County Historical Society? Don’t forget to pack sunscreen! Have your spouse bring the kids over to splash in the waves at Westhampton beach while you leaf through town records and cemetery transcriptions to grow the branches of your family tree.
6. Delaware—Need to gather images for a conference paper you are presenting on early examples of chromolithography in American advertising? Plan a trip to view the John and Carolyn Grossman Collection of antique images held at Winterthur, the former home of Henry Francis du Pont and send your mother on the tram-tour of the celebrated 1,000 acre garden surrounding the museum. When you are both finished, you can meet for a light lunch in the café overlooking the lush landscape.