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Michael Vazquez, PhD student, Philosophy (Faculty Advisor: Karen Detlefsen)
I applied for the Provost’s Graduate Academic Engagement Fellowship at the Netter Center because I think public engagement is a vital aspect of the university's mission and of my work as an aspiring professional philosopher. The creation of this fellowship signaled to me that Penn is committed to supporting graduate students in their efforts to overcome the institutional and disciplinary barriers to a culture of engagement in the academy. While my dissertation research is in the history of ancient philosophy, this fellowship has allowed me to expand my research profile by giving me the opportunity to reflect on the nature of public philosophy (and philosophical practice more broadly), as well as the various ways in which public philosophy and professional philosophy can enrich one another. From the beginning I was amazed at the robust network of faculty and administrators who are eager to support outreach efforts and to mentor graduate students. The fellowship has helped me to see that rigorous scholarship, innovative teaching, and community outreach can be integrated in meaningful ways.
Paul Wolff Mitchell, PhD student, Anthropology (Faculty Advisor: Deborah Thomas)
I applied to the Provost’s Graduate Academic Engagement Fellowship because it represents a singular opportunity for a graduate student to creatively shape both the social and intellectual impact of their academic work. As a chance to design an Academically-Based Community Service (ABCS) course and teach with and learn from diverse audiences, this fellowship provides an invaluable experience in the development of a curriculum, and the development of one’s own intellectual agenda. My dissertation has grown in exciting ways as a result of this fellowship, as I have been able to integrate my research in Philadelphia archives and museum collections into my ABCS course. Moreover, this fellowship has put me in contact with Penn faculty members engaged in similar projects, giving me a template for how this kind of socially engaged work can - and should - fit into my own future scholarship.