Fellows | 15 June 2018

Announcing 9 THI Summer Public Fellowships: Supporting Grad Students Beyond the Academy


The Humanities Institute is proud to announce a new cohort of Public Fellows


Nine graduate students from across the Humanities Division have been awarded fellowships to support publicly engaged summer projects. The Public Fellows program, now in it’s third year, provides mentorship and financial support to graduate students as they contribute to research, programming, communications and fundraising at companies, non-profit organizations, or cultural institutions. “This is an opportunity for graduate students to explore possibilities outside the university as they expand their skills in a non-academic setting,” noted Irena Polić, Managing Director of The Humanities Institute.

This is more than an internship opportunity. Students learn how the skills they’ve developed in graduate school can be employed outside the university while also developing meaningful relationships and recognizing the breadth of their expertise. For students interested in exploring non-academic career paths, this kind of experience is essential. Fellows develop an understanding of how their knowledge might be deployed for research, historical work, curatorial projects, or policy driven pursuits and develop experience that can lead to meaningful and long-lasting careers.

Many of this summer’s cohort are also using the opportunity to work on issues of contemporary relevance, including immigration, housing and education. Others see the opportunity as a way of developing new skills and learning new forms of public scholarship.

To highlight just some of the incredible work UC Santa Cruz students will undertake: Ben Eischens, a first year graduate student in Linguistics, will be working with the Santa Cruz based Pacific Collegiate School. He will bring his experience as a former Ameri Corps High School counselor to bear as he works with the school’s leadership to develop programming focused on future first-generation college students.  Stephanie Padilla, a fifth year Literature graduate student, will work with Border Angels to create a new blog series that communicates the work of the organization in support of migrants at the Mexico/California border. Her writing will feature ongoing events along side interviews with lawyers, volunteers, and migrants. This work offers a way of reimagining the application of her research about literature from the Mesoamerican region and human rights theory. Lani Hanna (Feminist Studies) and Eric Sneathan (Literature) will work with the Freedom Archives and GLBT Historical Society respectively to explore how the historical record is collected, preserved, catalogued, and exhibited for a public audience. The diversity of these projects reflect the breadth of work in the Humanities at UCSC as well as a deep commitment to issues of social justice that fuel the research of our students. A full list of fellows and partner organizations is below.

The Public Fellowship Program is part of the THI Expanding Humanities Impact and Publics project funded by the Mellon Foundation. Support from the Mellon Foundation has expanded the program: for the first time, THI will support Year-Long Public Fellows who will work throughout the Academic Year with their partner organization, deepening the relationships students foster with the community and enriching the experience of working outside the university. Polić added, “Past fellows credit the program with allowing them to imagine themselves doing humanities in the public sphere. We’re thankful for the Mellon funding that allows the program to grow as we collectively re-imagine what it means to be a humanities scholar in the world.”



Aaron Aruck (History), Badge List
Ben Eischens (Linguistics), Pacific Collegiate School
Kiran Garcha (History), Cal Humanities
Lani Hanna (Feminist Studies), Freedom Archives
Erin Mariel McElroy (Feminist Studies), Frontul Comun pentru Dreptul la Locuire
Maho Morimoto (Linguistics), Senderos
Stephanie Luna Padilla (Literature), Border Angels
Lisbet Gabriela Ramirez-Chavez (Literature), UC Press
Eric Sneathen (Literature), GLBT Historical Society