Dear Academy Members,
There is a lot of good work going on in our community, and graduate students are doing a lot of it. The Academy’s Graduate Student Committee, moreover, is leading the way in building community.
A good example is how the GSC has developed its newsletter, the GSC News. The current committee’s chair, Reed O’Mara, describes it as providing early career medievalists “with a space to connect with their peers and colleagues.” I was particularly struck by this goal of connectivity. How is it accomplished? She and recent editor Logan Quigley drew my attention to pieces written by members relating their experiences. Shavauna Munster, for example, wrote movingly in the Winter 2019 issue about her experience of Saint Louis University’s Celebrating Belle da Costa Greene conference. As someone who has labored to put on medieval studies events and sometimes wondered “why the hell bother?,” I felt incredibly uplifted in reading her account: what you put into organizing does make a difference to individuals.
Amplifying the voices of others is central to the newsletter’s goal of community building. These voices have related ideas to consider as well as practical tips on the creative process. Sarah Luginbill, for example, shared how she made her dissertation research on portable altars available to the public through a website. Pedagogical successes have also been shared: Jake Coen offered his experience using the case of Saint Maurice to engage students in critical analysis of White Nationalist medievalism and Alexa Sand provided a guide to using STEM models for group work in the humanities classroom. Mimi Zhou’s tips for getting the most out of attending Leeds taught this long-time conference attendee a few things too!
GSC News editors have been particularly agile in addressing the needs of their community via new series and spin-off projects. Their series on Career Alternatives to Academia and the Tenure Track has featured public historian Danielle Griego describing how she got her fulltime job in a state historical society, and Q&As with the owner/executive producer of a podcast company (Hannah Hethmon) and a program manager at the Newberry Library (Rebecca Fall). A new series on Professionalization in a Virtualizing World has yielded a piece by Rebecca Kilgore on lessons learned from planning online conferences and a particularly revelatory contribution by Gregory J. Tolliver on working with his university’s “Graduate Career Coach.” GSC members are also taking this valuable storytelling project into the podcast medium.
I encourage all members of the Academy to check out the online archive of the GSC News (link below). To facilitate your browsing and acknowledge the generous authors, I’ve provided an index below to the articles published. And if you are an independent or early career scholar willing to share your stories, ideas, projects, and experiences, please reach out to the current editors Reed O’Mara (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and Will Beattie (email@example.com).
In closing, I thank the recent GSC chairs—Theodore Chelis, Jillian Bjerke, Christine Bachman, and Jonathan Correa Reyes—who have nurtured the newsletter’s evolution, and all the members of this vibrant MAA committee. Your efforts are really making a difference.
Maureen C. Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org), President of the Medieval Academy of America
INDEX TO BACK-ISSUES OF THE GSC NEWS (available here)
11.1 Winter 2019
Caroline Gruenbaum, “GSC Mentoring Program: A Success Story”
Shavauna Munster, “Conference Spotlight: Celebrating Belle da Costa Greene at Saint Louis University”
11.2 Summer 2019
Mimi Zhou, “Conference Spotlight: Tips for the International Medieval Congress at Leeds”
11.3 Fall 2019
Rachael Vause, “But That’s Another Story: Experiences in Teaching and Learning ‘Difference'”
12.1 Spring 2020
Hannah Weaver, “GSC Mentoring Program: A Reflection”
Alexa Sand, “Teaching Mentorship through Group Work: Applying STEM Practices in the Humanities Classroom”
12.2 Summer 2020
Jake Coen, “Medievalist Pedagogy Against White Nationalism: The Case of Saint Maurice”
Chris Humphrey, “As a medievalist, you are good at solving problems”
Aidan Holtan, “Finding a Routine: The Trials and Errors of Developing a Work/Life Balance”
12.3 (Fall 2020)
Dot Porter, “Creative Medievalism as a Digital Humanist”
Emilee Ruhland, “Juggling Glass Balls: Three Tips for Working at Home”
13.1 (Spring 2021)
Joseph Williams, “Applying to Opportunities: The ‘Fit Strategy’ vs. the ‘Crapshoot'”
Danièle Cybulski, “For Indies, This Above All: To Thine Own Self be True”
Konrad Hughes, “Unintentional Blessings”
13.2 (Summer 2021)
Sarah Luginbill, “Spread the Love: Sharing Your Dissertation Research with the General Public via Websites” (Series on Innovations in Dissertation Research)
Q&A with Hannah Hethmon [Owner and Executive Producer of Better Lemon Creative Audio] (Series on Career Alternatives to Academia and the Tenure Track)
13.3 (Fall 2021)
Angelica Verduci, “Writing a Dissertation on the Triumph of Death in a Time of ‘Plague'” (Series on Innovations in Dissertation Research)
Danielle Griego, “Medievalists and Careers Outside of Academia” (Series on Career Alternatives to Academia and the Tenure Track)
Gregory J. Tolliver, “‘You’re Gonna Make It After All’: Finding Confidence and Community through Nonacademic Professionalization” (Series on Professionalization in a Virtualizing World)
14.1 (Spring 2022)
Gennifer Dorgon, “Is the future of Latin medieval”
Q&A with Rebecca Fall [Program Manager, Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library] (Series on Career Alternatives to Academia and the Tenure Track)
Claire Kilgore, “Planning an Online Conference During a Global Pandemic: Lessons Learned During My Time on the Vagantes Board of Directors”