June: Mellon/ACLS Public Fellowship

Earlier this month, the ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies) announced their  2019-21 cohort of Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows…a group that includes me! What a tremendous and exciting honor- weeks have passed by and I’m still feeling overjoyed. What does it mean for me? Starting in September, I’ll be working in a two year position as Outreach Programs Manager at Library of America in NYC.

The position is particularly exciting because it builds on so many extracurricular aspects of my graduate and professional career thus far…projects and experiences that were initially outside of my comfort zone but ended up being the most engaging and meaningful: an internship based in philanthropy at the Rockefeller Foundation; an open access Anthology of Early African-American Literature; writing for non-profits and websites; developing university partnerships with cultural organizations and institutions; my experiences as an MLA Connected Academics Fellow; and my leadership experiences as a non-profit board member. And it draws on my work as a Digital and Applied Learning Specialist in Stony Brook’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching as well: conducting outreach to faculty, staff, students, and partner institutions; using different technologies to connect with students and public audiences; developing educational programs, etc. All this is simply to say that I’m thrilled to have a fellowship that gives me the opportunity to put my established skills to meaningful use, to develop them further, to learn new ones, and to do it in such a public-oriented position.

I’ll also add in an unsolicited thought to current grad students: go beyond your comfort zone and usual bubble (we all have bubbles!), and take on a challenge in a new area of research, service, leadership, etc. It’s those experiences that kept me excited about my work and opened up doors that I didn’t even know existed.

I’m sure I’ll be posting more about this in future issues, so for now I’ll just post my position description below. Thanks for reading!

Library of America (LOA) is a nonprofit organization that champions the nation’s cultural heritage by publishing America’s greatest writing in authoritative new editions and providing resources and public programs that enable people to explore this rich, living legacy. In addition to its publishing mission, LOA engages readers with live and digital programs, places volumes in public libraries and schools, serves a national membership passionate about American history and literature, and partners with other nonprofit organizations to transform the lives of readers worldwide with the writings that capture America’s uniquely democratic culture and spirit. The Outreach Programs Manager will lead project management for new programs to amplify the impact of the organization’s mission and broaden its audience. S/he will also manage the development of project websites, conceive and implement public and educational programs, conduct donor and prospect research, assist with grant writing, and identify and cultivate partnerships.

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