Grants | 6 September 2023

CFA: THI Undergraduate Public Fellowship with Watsonville is in the Heart 2023-24


Job Title: Curatorial Research Assistant with Watsonville is in the Heart
Application deadline: October 2, 2023

The Humanities Institute (THI) is excited to announce an Undergraduate Public Fellowship opportunity for Humanities students at UC Santa Cruz to work with Watsonville is in the Heart (WIITH). THI’s Public Fellowships connect students in the Humanities to projects in the community, with the aim of mutually benefiting students and community organizations. The program provides undergraduate students with hands-on training and professional experience and is available to students who are declared majors and/or minors of a department in the Humanities Division at UCSC.

About the Project:

Watsonville is in the Heart (WIITH) is a community-driven public history initiative to preserve and uplift stories of Filipino migration and labor in the city of Watsonville and the greater Pajaro Valley. WIITH collaborates with the descendants of the first generation of Filipino settlers to the Pajaro Valley in the early twentieth century. The project is spearheaded by The Tobera Project, a Watsonville-based grassroots organization, in partnership with UC Santa Cruz faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Presently, there are two THI Public Fellowships for undergraduate humanities students to work with the WIITH team as Curatorial Research Assistants.

Job Description: Curatorial Research Assistant

WIITH is looking for two undergraduate students to support the development and execution of WIITH’s art and history exhibitions. This includes conducting research in the WIITH Digital Archive towards the development of interpretive panels and labels. Research will be used for current and future exhibitions. Assistants will also conduct administrative duties such as file organization, calendar management, and preparing correspondences. Lastly, assistants will support the exhibition’s event series.

Curatorial Research Assistants will work directly with WIITH’s head curator, Christina Ayson Plank. They will also receive mentorship from Dr. Kathleen “Kat” Cruz Gutierrez, one of WIITH’s PI’s, and Meleia Simon-Reynolds, WIITH graduate student lead. Curatorial Research Assistants will collaborate with additional WIITH undergraduate team members.

As THI Public Fellows, Curatorial Research Assistants will be paid $15.50 an hour. They will be expected to work 10 hours per week from October 2022 until June 2023.

Curatorial Research Assistants will be expected to:

  • Conduct curatorial research- 40%
      • Conduct literature reviews 
      • Conduct research in WIITH Digital Archive by analyzing oral history interviews, material culture objects, and visual materials
      • Create research reports and summarize findings for WIITH Head Curator 
      • Edit and review interpretive panels and labels
  • Complete administrative duties- 40%
      • Update and maintain curatorial checklists 
      • Update and maintain project calendar 
      • Correspond with artists, collaborators, and internal team on project deadlines 
      • Organize curatorial files
      • Correspond with WIITH team via email and Slack 
      • Attend and participate in weekly in-person meetings with WIITH manager and team 
      • Log and submit weekly hours of work
  • Assist in event planning- 20% 
      • Organize event documentation 
      • Coordinate and review vendor contracts
      • Create and post social media content 
      • Manage undergraduate event staff 
      • Disseminate event assessment materials 

Additionally, Curatorial Research Assistants may be asked to:

  • Develop in-gallery exhibition tours for diverse audiences
  • Lead tour groups of WIITH’s exhibition at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History
  • Attend and assist WIITH events, workshops, and presentations

You are an ideal candidate if you: 

  • Are in good academic standing (required)
  • Declared a major or minor in a department in the Humanities Division (required)
  • Are able to proficiently navigate Google Suite especially Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms (required)
  • Have strong communication skills and ability to initiate email and phone communication with internal team members and external parties (required) 
  • Have strong organizational skills and detail-oriented with the ability to meet and communicate deadlines (required)
  • Are a self-starter who is proactive and can work autonomously as needed but also enjoys collaborative work (required) 
  • Have knowledge or willingness to learn social media content creation and management using Instagram and Facebook (preferred) 
  • Have knowledge or willingness to learn Canva (preferred) 
  • Have knowledge or willingness to learn how to navigate on Omeka  (preferred) 
  • Have knowledge or willingness to learn how to navigate WordPress  (preferred) 
  • Have knowledge in or willingness to learn Filipino and Filipino American history  (preferred) 
  • Have experience conducting archival research (preferred) 

How to apply:

Apply by submitting your resume and a short cover letter (no more than one page) answering these questions: Why this job? Why you? Why now?

A tip for writing this cover letter is to consider how this position will further your undergraduate career as well as your professional career once you have completed your education. Feel free to be creative here. Work in the public humanities does not have a rigid framework and innovation and the ability to adapt is a key component.


The application closes on October 2, 2023. Students should apply via Handshake using job number #8205246.

If you have questions about the position, please contact Christina Ayson Plank (

Feature photo by Carolyn Lagattuta: Members of the WIITH team looking at photographs and documents housed in UCSC Special Collections. From left to right are: Ian Hunte Doyle (WIITH undergraduate intern/THI Public Fellow), Una Lynch (WIITH undergraduate intern/THI Public Fellow), Christina Ayson Plank (WIITH head curator and digital archive co-director), Kathleen Cruz Gutierrez (WIITH co-PI), and Meleia Simon-Reynolds (WIITH digital archive co-director). 

THI’s 2023-2024 Undergraduate Public Fellowships are generously supported by the Helen and Will Webster Foundation and the Mellon Foundation