Alumni Voices

  • Diplomatic Approaches: A Romance Languages PhD purses a path in Italy’s consular service

    Diplomatic Approaches: A Romance Languages PhD purses a path in Italy’s consular service

    By Matthew Woodbury Dr. Pierluigi Erbaggio received his PhD in Romance Languages from the University of Michigan in 2016. He is an Administrative Assistant at the Consulate of Italy in Detroit, MI. He spoke as part of U-M’s PhD Connections: A Career Conference in April 2018 and agreed to share some more perspectives about his own trajectory. Italy’s diplomatic presence in Michigan began over a century ago with the appointment of a consular agent in 1899. …
  • A Classical Studies PhD follows her love of teaching

    A Classical Studies PhD follows her love of teaching

    By Matthew Woodbury Dr. Jacqui Stimson received her PhD in Classical Studies from the University of Michigan in 2017. She is a Postdoctoral Teaching Consultant at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Education Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Stimson doesn’t have a typical day at the office. After just one year consulting at Carnegie Mellon University’s Eberly Center, she already manages a diverse portfolio of tasks. Her responsibilities fall into several broad areas: individual …
  • Synthetic Thinking: An archivist’s journey from dinosaurs to Du Bois

    Synthetic Thinking: An archivist’s journey from dinosaurs to Du Bois

    By Matthew Woodbury Dr. Robert S. Cox is Head of Special Collections at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. He received his PhD in History from the University of Michigan in 2002. Dr. Cox began his PhD to learn about the past. Initial training as a paleontologist, however, meant that the materials he consulted were millennia older than those he now manages for the University of Massachusetts Libraries. Shifting doctoral programs from studying fossils to …
  • An Advisor’s Advice

    An Advisor’s Advice

    By Matthew Woodbury Trevor Kilgore is an Academic Advisor and Coordinator for Department Advising at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. He received his PhD in History from the University of Michigan in April 2018. The University of Michigan offers a dizzying array of academic programs across more than a dozen schools and colleges. As an academic advisor and coordinator of department advising for the Newnan Academic Advising Center, Trevor …
  • Epiphany at the Altar

    Epiphany at the Altar

    By Matthew Woodbury Dr. Lehti Keelmann received her PhD in the History of Art in 2016. She is the Assistant Curator of Western Art at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Walking past formal 18th-century portraits, intricate Tiffany lamps, and an exhibit of stunning fashion photographs, it’s easy to see why Dr. Lehti Keelmann finds the University of Michigan Museum of Art a great place to work. As the Museum’s Assistant Curator of Western Art, …
  • A linguist in tech: designing healthcare conversations

    A linguist in tech: designing healthcare conversations

    By Shana Melnysyn Dr. Joseph Tyler received his PhD in Linguistics in 2012. He is a Conversation Designer at Sensely. How do you talk to a computer? How does it listen and understand your words? How do you make a computer produce utterances that a human can understand? Dr. Joseph Tyler addresses these questions every day in his role in voice user interface design. Dr. Tyler uses his linguistic expertise in intonation and meaning as a Conversation …
  • Answering a Calling in a High School History Classroom

    Answering a Calling in a High School History Classroom

    By Shana Melnysyn Dr. Gene Cassidy is a high school history teacher at Miss Porter’s School. He received his PhD in History from U of M in 2015. Every morning when he wakes up, Dr. Gene Cassidy feels like he “won the lottery.” He absolutely loves his job as a high school history teacher at the independent Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut. He describes it as his “calling,” and says it “fulfills [him] in …
  • Composing Your Career: From the “What” to the “How”

    Composing Your Career: From the “What” to the “How”

    This is a follow-up post by Meg Ahern, who recently began a new position as a learning specialist at USAID LEARN. Dr. Ahern completed her joint PhD in Women’s Studies & English at U of M in 2012. I’ll start with a confession.  In my previous post, I wrote about how useful an academic doctorate can be in other fields, as I’ve found in my own career in international development, and I ended with some advice about …
  • A Digital Humanities Project in Tibetan Studies

    A Digital Humanities Project in Tibetan Studies

    By Shana Melnysyn Dr. Alex Gardner is the Executive Director and Chief Editor for The Treasury of Lives, a digital humanities project that comprises “a biographical encyclopedia of Tibet, Inner Asia, and the Himalayan region.” Dr. Gardner received his PhD in Asian Languages and Cultures from University of Michigan in 2007. Dr. Alex Gardner began his post-PhD career path with a stroke of luck. After finishing his doctorate in Buddhist Studies at University of Michigan, …
  • Bringing Humanities Training to Professional Storytelling and Public Engagement

    Bringing Humanities Training to Professional Storytelling and Public Engagement

    By Estevan Rael-Gálvez, PhD. Former State Historian of New Mexico, Executive Director at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Sr. VP of Sites at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Dr. Rael-Gálvez, writer, strategist, and principal of the consulting firm Creative Strategies 360°, received his PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 2000. Along with my upbringing in a mountain village of northern New Mexico, where I formed my core values and …
  • A Linguistics PhD in Instructional Consulting

    A Linguistics PhD in Instructional Consulting

    By Shana Melnysyn Dr. Chris Odato, an Instructional Consultant at Keene State College, received his PhD in Linguistics at the University of Michigan in 2010. Dr. Chris Odato is an Instructional Consultant at Keene State College in New Hampshire, where he works closely with faculty on course design and professional development. After a few years on the academic job market, he decided a tenure track position wasn’t the right path for him. So he started …
  • Bringing PhD Training to Academic Innovation Projects

    Bringing PhD Training to Academic Innovation Projects

    By Shana Melnysyn Dr. Sarah Moncada is a Project Coordinator for the Academic Innovation Initiative in U of M’s Office of Academic Innovation. She graduated from U of M with a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures in December 2016. Dr. Sarah Moncada helps facilitate the Academic Innovation Initiative, a year-long effort launched by the University of Michigan President’s and Provost’s Offices in September 2016. The Initiative aims to generate conversations and experiments to improve …
  • A Political Philosopher in a Taxpayer Watchdog Agency

    A Political Philosopher in a Taxpayer Watchdog Agency

    By Eleni Manis, senior research analyst in the office of an elected official in the New York metropolitan area. Dr. Manis completed her PhD in Philosophy at the University of Michigan in 2009. Not so long ago, I was a philosopher specializing in political philosophy. Today, I work in the political arena, serving as a researcher and communications staffer in the office of an elected official. Then and now, I’ve been motivated by an interest …
  • How I (Unknowingly) Prepared for My Museum Career

    How I (Unknowingly) Prepared for My Museum Career

    By Matthew Jaber Stiffler, Researcher at the Arab American National Museum and Lecturer at the University of Michigan. Dr. Stiffler received his PhD in American Culture from U of M in 2010. My transition from academia to the world of cultural museums was, initially, supposed to be a temporary exile. My graduate career, eight years in all, was intended to be the prelude to a long and fruitful career as a tenure-track professor. I was attracted …
  • Developing and Applying Humanities Skills: From Museums to Financial Services

    Developing and Applying Humanities Skills: From Museums to Financial Services

    By Heloise Finch-Boyer, Senior Grants Specialist at Leyton UK. Dr. Finch-Boyer finished her PhD in Anthropology and History at University of Michigan in 2009. Internships aren’t just for undergrads. But when I entered the doctoral program in anthropology & history I was obsessed with other things: my field site, papers, prelims, my PhD “question”, the exciting intellectual atmosphere at the University of Michigan. One day in my 1st year, my friend had a good idea: …
  • Using Humanities Training for Technical Writing

    Using Humanities Training for Technical Writing

    By Asynith Palmer, Technical Writer in Residence at University of Maryland Baltimore County and Information Developer at AMP Systems, LLC. Dr Palmer received her PhD in English from the University of Michigan in 2014. I have been a full time consultant since earning my PhD in English Language & Literature in 2014. I carry two business cards. One reads, “Technical Writer in Residence – University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)” and the other, “Information Developer – …
  • From PhD to Public Humanities

    From PhD to Public Humanities

    By Joe Cialdella, Program Officer at the Michigan Humanities Council. Dr. Cialdella received his PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 2015. Unlike many of my peers, I didn’t enter graduate school with the single goal of becoming a tenure track professor. It was not only the scarcity of academic jobs that led me to pursue a nonacademic position, but also a strong affinity for the public dimensions of scholarship and humanities …
  • Humanities Training, Leadership Skills, and International Development Work

    Humanities Training, Leadership Skills, and International Development Work

    By Meg Ahern, gender specialist at the Global Partnership for Education at the World Bank. Dr. Ahern completed her joint PhD in Women’s Studies & English in 2012. When I was at Rackham, I never attended any alternative career panels – I was in full academia-or-bust mode.  Upon graduating, I had the incredible luck to get the research-only postdoc of my dreams at the University of Chicago, working with a team of amazing scholars on the exact …
  • What’s the right job for bringing historical perspectives into public life?

    What’s the right job for bringing historical perspectives into public life?

    By Amanda Moniz, PhD, Associate Director of the National History Center and Program Coordinator at the American Historical Association. Dr. Moniz received her PhD in History from the University of Michigan in 2008. If you had asked me several years ago what public history is, I would have talked about museums.  Indeed, museums are leading sites for the work of public historians.  Working at the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the …