Fellowship Calls and Grad Student Professional Development

I want to share several developments from the grad programs side of the Lab this semester. It’s been a busy fall, and I’m pleased with all the work the team has put into our programs!

For one, the CFPs for two of our fellowship programs are now live. The Praxis Program, which will welcome its eighth cohort next year, will have a deadline of February 15th for applications from PhD students at UVA. This flagship program is in many ways the core of our graduate community, and we’re very excited that it continues to thrive. I am also very pleased to announce that the Digital Humanities Prototyping fellowships, piloted this past year with a cohort of four students, will continue next year with its own application deadline of February 15th. Open to PhD *and* MA students at UVA, these fellowships are meant to shore up our support of students in the intermediate years of their graduate work, to provide collaborative projects a space in our fellowship portfolio, and to give young scholars a chance to craft a spark that might catch further down the line with applications for further funding here or elsewhere. Please tell your students and colleagues! I always strongly encourage students to get in touch with me if they are planning to apply – that way they will be on our radar for other opportunities down the line regardless of how this particular application shakes out. Along with our newly restructured DH Fellows program, these three fellowship programs provide support and experience for more stages of the graduate student timeline than was previously possible.

In addition to the fellowship announcements, I also wanted to draw attention to a revamping of what was formerly known as the “graduate fellowships” page. Our programs have grown a lot since this page was last revised, and the new “graduate fellowships and opportunities” page now better represents the wealth of offerings in the Scholars’ Lab. This new, catch-all page offers a space where students can see all of our opportunities beyond our annual fellowship programs. We regularly employ graduate students as Makerspace Technologists to assist in 3D printing and experimental computing in our makerspace (and we just released a call with multiple openings for spring 2018!). Cultural Heritage Informatics Interns each semester work with Will and Arin to 3D scan, process, and print artifacts all while getting course credit. Chris and Drew regularly work with student GIS Technicians who assist in the uploading of GIS datasets and creating applications on our GIS portal, all while getting valuable experience in spatial humanities. And, finally, a Mellon-funded collaboration with Washington and Lee University allows us to send students to their campus to give workshops on digital humanities to undergraduate courses. The amount of experience required for all these opportunities is quite variable, so be sure to read closely – in many cases we are more than happy to have you learn on the job. We’ve been doing all these things for quite a while, but hopefully now students can find easier access to information about our programs and how to get involved.

Finally, I’m especially pleased to share that we have a new section in this page on professional development for graduate students. The Scholars’ Lab programs give students valuable experiences and training, but we’ve also historically gone further than these official offerings. As UVA students apply to alt-ac and DH careers, we regularly give advice on the whole process, from finding a job to producing materials to interviewing. These offerings have long been ad hoc and by request, but I worried over the last several months that some potential students might get left out of such arrangements. A student might not know, for example, that we’d be willing to mock interview them in the happy event that they’re invited to campus for that digital humanities developer position. Or a student putting together their first job talk for a post-doc in digital humanities might not realize that we’re happy to lend a friendly ear and also share our *own* job talks.

This section is not perfect, and it by no means represents the sum of what any program can do to support graduate students. If you see something missing, drop me a line to let me know. But hopefully the statement of services there will serve as nice counterpoint to the values that we lay out in our group charter; hopefully the page’s presence will help someone find their way to us who might not otherwise have done so. After all, tacit assumptions about how others perceive our services can lead to people falling through the cracks, feeling like they’re going through a job search alone. Best that we be explicit, and best that we match our values with public statements of what we will do to back them up.

So in short – we’re here for you. If you’re part of the UVA community and looking for help with your DH or alt-ac job search, swing on by and let me know how we can help!

Brandon is Head of Graduate Programs in the Scholars' Lab. His research focuses on modern and contemporary fiction, especially on Anglophone modernisms and the novel in relation to sound studies and musicology. Before coming to the Scholars' Lab, he was Mellon Digital Humanities Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of English in the Washington and Lee University…

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