Grad LIFE

blog navigation

Humanities,

blog posts

  • Day in the Life: Illinois Summer Research Symposium

    Anna Flood is an incoming graduate student in the Department of English. This summer she participated in the Summer Predoctoral Institute and conducted independent research with Dr. Candice Jenkins as her mentor. Her summer work revolved around speculative fictions of slavery, particularly the novel "Kindred "by Octavia Butler. Anna and 38 other SPI fellows, as well as undergraduates from a variety of programs,  had the opportunity to present at the Illinois Summer Research Symposium. In this post, see a “Day in the Life” during the second day of ISRS, when the roundtables and oral presentations take place.

  • 5 Tips for Talking about Your Work

    So, what do you do?

    This is a question graduate students hear frequently—whether from scholars in their field, people in an elevator, or family members. And while at first the answer might seem simple—it’s what you do every day, after all—finding ways to frame and explain your work to others can be a challenge. Thinking about your answer to this question is important since there are many situations when you might need to answer it: applying for fellowships or funding to support your work, job interviews or networking events, interviews with the media, or discussions with political leaders regarding policy. And recently, several UI students found themselves confronted with this question when former President Obama made an impromptu coffeehouse stop during his visit to campus!

    Below are some tips for talking about your work to help you prepare no matter the situation.

  • Meet Our Fellows: Matthew Klopfenstein, Fulbright Fellow in Moscow

    Matthew Klopfenstein has spend the last seven months deep in the world of Russian archives exploring how the deaths of female pop stars in the early 1900s entered the public realm and became national phenomena. Read about Matthew's day to day life as a Fulbright Fellow living in Moscow, Russia.

  • Where Are They Now? Ryan McConnell

    Where can a graduate degree from the University of Illinois take you? In this series, we catch up with one recent Graduate College alum and ask the question: “Where are they now?”.

    Ryan McConnell works at salesforce as a Senior Demo Engineer, writing code for applications that show off what the company’s software can do. After completing his PhD in Classical Philology, Ryan McConnell eagerly began work as a visiting assistant professor. But with the uncertainty of the faculty job market, Ryan began exploring new career paths and found that his hobby in computer programming could actually be a career.

  • What Can I Do with a PhD in the Humanities?

    It’s well-known that academic jobs are in short supply for humanities PhD graduates right now, but the question ‘what can I do with a PhD in the humanities?’ should have less to do with a lack of academic positions than it should the sheer number of career possibilities. That was the focus of ‘What Can I Do with a PhD in the Humanities?’, a 5-week Graduate College workshop run by Derek Attig that I attended last Spring. The workshop covered advice and resources for finding jobs beyond academia, weekly conversations with humanities PhD graduates working in fields like public radio to environmental advocacy, and self-assessments of values and skills. The self-assessments were particularly illuminating, and they allowed each of us to approach the broader workshop questions with a focus on our own goals and interests.

  • Day in the Life: Beth Ann Williams

    Beth Ann Williams is a fourth year African History graduate student. She is currently living near Arusha, Tanzania conducting research for her (tentatively titled) dissertation: Women We Must Learn: Christianity and Gender Change in Post-Independence East Africa. Take a look at what a typical "Day in the Life" looks like for Beth Ann this year.

  • Postcards from the Field: Interviewing in Rural Tanzania

    You never know what you will find when you sit down to interview someone. Where have they lived? Who have they worked for? What challenges have they overcome? Who have they lost? After explaining that I am a history graduate student conducting research about gender change and the role of the church in Tanzanian society, I usual start by asking the most basic question. What is your name? It turns out that the answer isn’t always simple.