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What is public humanities?

Public humanities is a field of inquiry that creates opportunities for the collaborative production of knowledge among, for, and with communities, scholars, and humanities practitioners. Through museum exhibitions, oral history projects, documentary filmmaking, walking tours, lectures, recitals, murals, interactive apps, and more, the field catalyzes academic engagement with broad audiences to facilitate horizontal and circular knowledge exchange, bringing the expertise of communities into the academy. Public humanities brings people together to reflect and act on our histories, values, cultures, and beliefs, through modes of engagement that are collaborative, interdisciplinary, creative, and dialogic. 


About the Public Humanities Graduate Certificate

This certificate program offers Rutgers graduate students cross-departmental and interdisciplinary learning experiences in publicly engaged humanities scholarship and methods.

The certificate program aims to train students to engage diverse publics in reflecting on community engagement, collaborative knowledge production, digital literacy, history, memory, and culture, and the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of civic life. Along the way, students will develop the necessary skills for doing publicly engaged scholarship, for teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the publicly engaged humanities related to their disciplines, and to broaden their career pathways inside or outside academia as they complete their degrees.

This certificate will provide graduate students with the option to pursue a set of graduate courses that emphasize the public humanities across departments at Rutgers, as well as practicum components that foster independent skill-building in related fields. These courses focus on interdisciplinary learning and creating connections across different humanities fields and methods on campus and the world outside of the academy. It offers students a unique opportunity to consider the synergies between and among their intellectual work, program-based and independent projects, community and civic engagement, and future career options. It also serves Rutgers’ public service mission as a state university, facilitating deeper engagement with the peoples who surround and populate the university community.

Graduate Public Humanities Internship Program - Summer 2024

Call for Applications – Deadline November 10, 2023

The SAS Dean of Humanities Office has established partnerships with several leading public humanities organizations across the region to offer internships to graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences in Summer 2024. Selected students will receive a stipend of $3,000 to participate in the projects and serve the missions of these organizations, while drawing on their own academic, personal, and professional backgrounds. These organizations’ work spans education, creative arts, digital humanities, preservation, public programming, and beyond. Placements will be thoughtfully calibrated to meet the interests and needs of both the student and the host organization. Through this program, students will receive training in public humanities methodologies, gain hands-on experience in public engagement around humanities themes and methods, and develop a network of mentors throughout the region.  Students will be matched by a faculty committee in consultation with the host institutions’ representatives.

This program is internally supported by the SAS Dean of Humanities and the Rutgers Initiative for the Book.

Graduate students may consider proposing an internship with a public humanities organization or public facing scholarly project related to their research that is not on the list of established partners, including international partners, which may then be considered for approval for the program. If you are interested in discussing this possibility, please contact the program coordinator, Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan. 

Internships will run from June through August 2024. Remote placements are available. Students are expected to work approximately 120 hours during their internship, to maintain close contact with their advisor and supervisor, and to produce a report or other synthetic project at the end of the internship, documenting how the experience contributed to their professional development.  The program coordinator will be in regular contact with interns in the program to ensure they’re receiving a high impact experience.   

Past internship placements: 

 2023 Interns

  • Ariel Mond, History, Rikers Public Memory Project

  • Aries Li, History, Harvard University Press

  • Ashley Codner, English, New Jersey Folk Festival

  • Diana Molina, English, Monument Lab

  • Eagan Dean, English, coLAB Arts

  • Isabel Guzzardo Tamargo, English, Rutgers University Press

  • Kelly Roberts, English, Fence Magazine

  • Laura de Moya Guerra, History, Fundación Puerto Colombia

  • Lisette Varon-Carvajal, History, Neogranadina

  • Salvador Ayala Camarillo, English, coLAB Arts

  • Sarah Roth, History, Humanities Action Lab

  • Shirley Paxton Fofang, History, Morven Museum

  • Xingming Wang, Comparative Literature, NJ Council for the Humanities

2022 Interns

  • Jennie Jiang, Women & Gender Studies, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History & New Media

  • Katia Yoza Mitsuishi, Spanish Department, coLAB Arts

  • Mitchell Edwards, English Department, Princeton University Press

  • Sam Hege, History, New Jersey Council for the Humanities
    Elissa Branum, History, Rutgers University Press

  • Leo Valdes, History, Rikers Public Memory Project

  • Sarah Coffman, History, Regional Plan Association

2021 Interns

  • Bria Paige, English Department, Center for Digital Scholarship at the American Philosophical Society

  • Carolina Sanchez, Spanish/Portuguese Department, coLAB Arts

  • Paulina Barrios, Comparative Literature Department, coLAB Arts

  • Angel Dye, English Department, New Jersey Council for the Humanities

  • Mary Gently, History Department, Rikers Public Memory Project

  • Andrew Robbins, Italian Department, Rutgers University Press

  • Laurena Tsudama, English Department, Princeton University Press

Interested students should submit the following materials via email to Kristin O'Brassill-Kulfan at RegularLabs.EmailProtector.unCloak("ep_d91920b6", true);RegularLabs.EmailProtector.unCloak("ep_1cbae3a6");RegularLabs.EmailProtector.unCloak("ep_c28cf9dd", true); by November 10, 2023:
  • curriculum vitae  

  • brief cover letter (outlining your research areas, interest in the program, relevant experience, etc.)  

  • 250 word public humanities research/methodologies statement (outlining specific public humanities skills or experience you’d like to cultivate, and/or how your work uses public humanities methods or explores public humanities themes, and/or how you would hope to apply your relevant interests/expertise in public humanities)  

  • a brief statement of support (< 1 paragraph) from your doctoral advisor, graduate program director, or other faculty mentor in your department

    Decisions will be reached by December 15.

In 2023, this program was supported by an ACLS Sustaining Public Engagement Grant from the American Council for Learned Societies made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) initiative. 

Past Intern Experiences

Carolina Sánchez

Latin American Literatures and Cultures, 3rd year Phd Student

coLAB Arts (Summer 2021)Sanchez Photo

During the summer of 2021, I worked with coLAB Arts. One of the main professional skills relevant for public humanities and for humanities in general I learned during my internship was the importance of communicating and collaborating with different community stakeholders. I worked on two projects. The first was a mural to welcome refugees and asylum seekers in Highland Park that was painted at 75 Raritan Avenue. I participated in the following three stages of the project: the stakeholders’ meetings, the implementation of different methodologies for finding research materials that involved community members, and the research of conceptual problems that have practical impact in the communities. The work of this organization made me reflect on migration and how to rebuild a community after political displacements, a problem central to my dissertation. I also collaborated in the research for a Comic Book about Unity Square's community gardeners in New Brunswick. During the internship, my supervisor from coLAB Arts, Dan Swern, invited me to different community meetings and directed me to produce research useful for the art projects. I also worked very closely with another graduate student, Paulina Barrios, and together we produced the fanzine Painted Walls as a result of the internship. This zine as well as the community work we did during the internship were generously supported by Kristin O'Brassill-Kulfan. 

coLAB Arts page:

Photo Caption: The cover of the zine, Painted Walls, co-produced by Carolina Sánchez and Paulina Barrios.


Sarah Coffman

History, 1st year PhD student

Regional Plan Association (Summer 2022)

I worked with the Regional Plan Association, an urban planning non-profit in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. My duties at the internship were split into three separate oral history projects. One was for Regional Plan, and the other two projects were for their partner organizations: United Parks as One, a non-profit operating in Newark committed to providing open space and park access to communities of color in Newark. The other organization was Hackensack Riverkeeper, a non-profit concerned with conservation of the Hackensack River watershed. I worked with staff at each organization to identify the goals of the project, write the interview questions, and identify relevant people to conduct interviews with. At Regional Plan, I completed 26 oral histories with current and former staff in honor of the organization’s centennial founding anniversary. They are still working on publishing these interviews on the website as part of their founding centennial anniversary webpage. United Parks as One was interested in recording interviews with community members involved with the formation of Nat Turner Park, a city park founded by and for Black residents in the Central Ward of Newark. For United Parks as One, I completed eight oral histories with people who were involved in different aspects of the park’s creation, including community engagement and art. Hackensack Riverkeeper lost a majority of their files and documents in an office fire around three months into the COVID-19 pandemic. I completed a joint interview with the founder of the organization and another long-term employee, to talk through the highlights of the organization’s twenty-five-year history and conservation efforts.

This opportunity was extremely significant to me because it showed me that the research and writing skills I am developing as a PhD student are valuable outside of the academy. For graduate students who are considering public humanities opportunities, they should go for it! Such work reinforces that we have specialist skills that we can use outside of the classroom, the archive, and our own offices, and ultimately play our role in the maintenance and uplift of the humanities in a precarious era.

Relevant URL: (Transcript of Sarah’s oral history with Peter Herman, former long-term RPA board member published on RPA’s website after his passing in February 2023) 

Ariel Mond

History, 6th year PhD Candidate

Rikers Public Memory Project  (Summer 2023)

During my summer as a Public Humanities Intern, I worked with the Rikers Public Memory Project (RPMP) to create a comprehensive oral history database. RPMP’s mission is to collect oral histories to document life under incarceration on Rikers Island and its impact on communities in New York City in order to advocate for its closure. Since 2018, RPMP has conducted over 100 oral histories. My role with the organization was to create an internal database of these oral histories, categorizing them into themes important to the organization’s mission, such as closure and remembrance, community impact, and prison health conditions during Covid-19. This database will be used in the future to help RPMP more easily source text and audio clips for their mobile exhibits and digital stories. In this internship, I utilized skills of textual analysis and data management that are central to my work as a historian. This internship taught me that skills and methodologies that are integral to my dissertation research are also essential to the work of public history initiatives and nonprofit management. My work as a Public Humanities Intern has been extremely valuable to my professional development and I would highly recommend this experience to other graduate students.


Mitchell Edwards

English, 1st year PhD Student

Princeton University Press, Production department (Summer 2022)

Something you learn quickly as a scholar interested in the history of the book is that firsthand experience in the production process can be essential. My internship at Princeton University Press introduced me to the entire process of the making of a modern book, from manuscript to distribution and later editions. In the Production department, I had the opportunity to reverse-engineer the kinds of logic I try to dissect in my scholarship: why was a book printed at a particular trim size, or in a stamped case binding rather than in plain boards with a dust jacket, or printed digitally rather than the more conventional offset printing process? Seeing the Manufacturing team make those decisions—balancing cost, design integrity, and suppliers’ stock—helped me understand the current state of the academic publishing industry, and my own research methodology, better. While these aspects of working at a contemporary press engaged my typical approaches to thinking about how books come into being, my day-to-day work was more focused on contributing to the ongoing projects of the Production Editorial team. Most of these tasks involved making sure those design choices are rigorously and consistently executed in the actual print product. I learned a dozen new ways to use Adobe Acrobat, for example, measuring in precise detail the margins and type size of page proofs to make sure they fit the design specs. Like my work with the Manufacturing team, this led to a feeling that I could immediately contribute in these kinds of roles at academic publishers if I were to go that route professionally, and that the work I was doing—even the most detail-obsessed task—led to some insights on the nature of the books whose material features I study as a grad student.



Sam Hege

History Department, 6th year PhD Candidate  

New Jersey Council for the Humanities (Summer 2022)

As a capacity building institution, the New Jersey Council of Humanities was able to provide me with a unique perspective on the needs and breadth of public humanities work within New Jersey. This knowledge was built via participating in the grant review process for both their incubation and action grant competitions, collaborating on the development of a new digitally driven community conversations program, and providing support within their community history program. Through these different tasks, I was able to develop a clear sense of how public humanities projects are conceptualized, built, and put into action. These experiences have also revealed the critical importance of capacity-building at multiple scales, ranging from work performed through smaller historical societies and community-driven efforts to projects housed at larger and better funded universities and museums. Institutions such as the New Jersey Council for the Humanities play a vital role in promoting publicly engaged and reciprocal work in both settings.

Sarah Roth

History, 2nd year PhD Student

Humanities Action Lab  (Summer 2023)

During my time with the Humanities Action Lab, I gained first-hand experience into the methods and practices employed by a public humanities organization as well as the behind-the-scenes work that goes into bringing public humanities exhibitions to life. Building upon the success of Humanities Action Lab’s two traveling national exhibitions, Climates of Inequality and States of Incarceration, I spent much of my internship exploring the impact of these projects on local communities which contributed to their creation. For Climates of Inequality, my work focused on addressing the strengths and weaknesses of both the physical and informational components of the exhibition and identifying new storytelling practices we can employ in raising awareness about the impact of climate change through creative storytelling methods. I also examined the long-term impact of the States of Incarceration traveling exhibition and how the work being done by university students, criminal justice advocates and community leaders has shaped local activism in the last few years. I also helped the Humanities Action Lab prepare for their annual convening for their national team of students, professors, activists and community leaders.

During my internship with the Humanities Action Lab, I began to develop a more comprehensive and holistic understanding of the process of creating a public humanities project – not merely the research, writing and design components but the “behind the scenes” work that goes into obtaining funding, resources, and materials to ensure that these projects are successful. My experience with the Humanities Action Lab has helped me think much more expansively about what constitutes “public humanities” – not merely museum exhibitions or walking tours, but TikTok videos, knitting projects, stand-up comedy shows, gardening and even cooking. I was, and am, constantly astounded by the creativity and ingenuity demonstrated both by my peers at the Humanities Action Lab as well as the projects I came across in my research.



Ashley Codner

English, 2nd year PhD Student

New Jersey Folk Festival (Summer 2023)

Ashley Codner Photo

I spent the summer working as an intern for the New Jersey Folk Festival, where I researched and produced a portfolio of resources that might support their efforts to expand their African American cultural programming. Most of my time was spent researching and creating a proposal for my own program which will take place sometime between 2024 and 2027. My program, titled “Black Gathering,” will be a three-part series, each directed at highlighting new and familiar directions for imagining Black gathering—past, present, and future. My research interests lie at the intersection of 20th and 21st century Black literary, feminist, and ecological studies. I appreciated this placement because I was able to draw from scholarship that I engage with regularly and translate it into a community-facing project. While I drew a lot from my previous knowledge, I also sought out new avenues such as oral history interviews with local community workers and archival work at the Institute of Jazz Studies. It was a very rewarding experience, both personally and intellectually. I encourage future grad students interested in the public humanities to really push themselves to consider all the ways they can leverage their research in new ways.  

Photo Caption: A photo taken during Ashley’s archival work at the Institute of Jazz Studies.


Kelly Roberts

English, PhD Graduate

Fence Magazine  (Summer 2023)

Kelly Roberts PhotoI worked with the team at Fence—the co-editors, other interns, and volunteers—to evaluate submissions, ship journals and t-shirts to subscribers, reflect on the journal's history, and discuss upcoming goals for the journal. One of our major projects for the summer was reading for the Ottoline Prize. I also worked with the distribution and promotion team at Exact Editions, which hosts Fence's digital subscription platform. With both Fence and Exact Editions, I developed an outreach plan to help increase digital subscriptions at college and university libraries. In addition to working to increase Fence's institutional subscriptions, I also worked with my supervisor to help get Fence to audiences that did not have institutional affiliation as well. We mapped out Little Free Libraries and delivered editions of the journal across New York City.

In its movement across academic institutions and informal, free networks of exchange, Fence follows a tradition of contemporary queer, feminist, and avant-garde publishing that I explore in my dissertation. In these networks, friendships and chance encounters can have a large influence on the development of literary style and form, as writers collaborate with and learn from one another. Money, professional standing, and prestige receive disproportionate attention in our accounts of contemporary publishing, but avant-garde journals continue to be among the most important influences for writers. I was inspired by the Fence team's commitment to its writers and to getting experimental literature out to wider audiences. Through my work with Fence, I gained a more thorough understanding of the production and circulation processes. In this work, I was exposed to roles and organizations that are crucial for producing educational and cultural materials outside of traditional academic institutions, which has been indispensable in my own professional development as I pursue a career in educational technology and advocacy.


Photo Caption: A photo of Fence Magazine at a Little Free Library.


Shirley Paxton Fofang

History, 1st year PhD Student

Morven Museum and Gardens (Summer 2023)

Working with curators Elizabeth Allan and Jesse Gordon Simons, my internship at Morven Museum has consisted of a mixture of independent research and shadowing the curation process. Because of historic resident Richard Stockton’s role as one of New Jersey’s signers to the Declaration of Independence, much of my internship has been geared towards the planned 2026 commemoration of the Declaration signing. The focus of my research this summer has been to investigate the lives of the three less prominent New Jersey signers—particularly their connections to slavery—and the life of Marcus Marsh, born enslaved at Morven in 1765 and later manumitted. Interning at Morven has provided a useful counterpoint to my past experiences in historical museums, which was more public-facing work in education. At Morven, I saw the process of preparing for a new exhibition: contacting other museums’ curators, researching provenance of potential loans, reaching out to the local community, and talking through goals, concerns, and process.


Laura De Moya-GuerraDe Moya Guerra Photo 1

History, 3rd year PhD Student

Fundación Puerto Colombia  (Summer 2023)

As an intern at Fundación Puerto Colombia, I worked as a researcher to create a historical script about the migrants who arrived at Puerto Colombia’s dock between 1888 and 1936. Using naturalization letters as primary sources contained in the General Archive of the Nation in Bogotá, profiles were created that reconstructed the route of each immigrant. This script will be presented to local and national authorities interested in building a migration museum in Puerto Colombia. In addition to putting my knowledge and skills as a historian into practice, the internship at Fundación Puerto Colombia showed me first-hand the administrative challenges this type of institution faces in a country like Colombia – limited budget and lack of staff, among others. Similarly, I had the opportunity to witness the relationship between the Fundación Puerto Colombia and the local community, which made valuable contributions to the construction of the historical script.

Relevant URL:  (Reel for Instagram made by Fundación Puerto Colombia)

Photo Caption: De Moya-Guerra inside the Archivo General de la Nación in Bogotá.


Daniela Valdes

History Department, 4th year PhD Student

Rikers Public Memory Project (Summer 2022)

The Rikers Public Memory Project is committed to collecting and preserving the oral history testimonies of people directly impacted by the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City. They have conducted over one-hundred oral histories and created several mobile and digital exhibits. My internship with the RPMP involved creating an educational documentary about the project. In short, I was tasked with making a documentary that told the history of the Rikers Public Memory Project – its founding, development, and future. Along with the co-director of the project, Regina Campbell, we produced a 30-minute film “Story by Story: Building a People’s History of Rikers Island” based on oral histories with the project founders, staff, volunteers, and people directly impacted by Rikers. This internship was a wonderful opportunity and addition to my PhD. It showed me how public history projects can help sustain and expand ideas generated by social movements, in this case the successful “Close Rikers” grassroots campaign. It also gave me valuable experience with working in a team setting, new digital skills through learning Adobe Premiere, and unique insight into how research can be made accessible and serve the common good.Valdes_Photo.jpg

Relevant URLs:  (Rikers Public Memory Project Website) & (Story by Story: Building a People’s History of Rikers Island)

Photo Caption: A black and white photo of protestors.


Salvador I. Ayala Camarillo

English, 6th year PhD Candidate

coLAB Arts (Summer 2023)

This summer, I worked with Daniel Swern, co-founder and producing director of coLAB Arts, on putting together data and informational reports on several boroughs in Monmouth County, NJ. In preparation for the centennial of the Count Basie Center in Red Bank, coLAB Arts wants to work with the theater, local stakeholders, and activists to consider how the theater can be a better, stronger force for the community. To those ends, I researched the demographics, school district information, availability of arts venues, distribution of public spaces, and other information for Red Bank and other surrounding boroughs. I worked to synthesize my findings into digestible reports that could be helpful for coLAB’s collaborators in the coming months. This kind of work was helpful for my own professionalization in several ways. The first is that it broadened my research skills as I had to delve deeper into the concrete ways that cities are run and serve their populations. I also honed my ability to write for a non-academic audience, and I was able to attend several coLAB Arts events during which I got to see firsthand how to engage with the community in productive, enthusiastic ways.


Rong (Aries) Li

History, PhD Candidate

Harvard University Press (Summer 2023)

During the summer of 2023, I did a remote internship for Harvard University Press (HUP) via Rutgers Graduate Public Humanities Internship Program. I learned how academicpress works in general and what is unique in HUP’s publishing process. I assisted authors in obtaining licenses for images to use in their books. I located more leads and pathways for HUP to expand its pool of freelancer copyeditors and proofreaders with experience in literary translations and academic publishing for their Murty Classical Library of India (MCLI) translation series. Two of my other assignments at HUP were to resolve certain accessibility issues of their MCLI website and the upcoming new HUP website. Accessibility is essential, if we seek to make the outcome of public humanities inclusive and accessible to all, especially people who have visual impairment. The importance of accessibility is often overlooked in many of public humanity projects. Before this internship, I only had experience handling accessibility issue in classroom setting to accommodate the special needs raised by my students. Through this assignment at HUP, I expanded my skills in resolving accessibility problems on websites that are for the broader public.


Diana Farin Molina

English, 5th year PhD Student

Monument Lab (Summer 2023)

My summer internship at Monument Lab gave me an insider view into the inner workings of an arts-based nonprofit organization. Since I assisted the Managing Director, my experience ran the gamut from fundraising outreach, contract development, curriculum development, and special communications assignments. The most exciting assignment was joining their “Beyond Granite: Pulling Together” project as a member of the curatorial programming team. “Pulling Together” is an exhibition from the Beyond Granite initiative, which seeks to diversify the voices commemorated at the National Mall in Washington, DC. Monument Lab was selected to curate the six art installations and artist programs for the project. In addition to providing administrative support, I will travel to DC during the exhibition to support coordination of several of the artist programs. Monument Lab’s fine-tuning of scholarly approaches for the facilitation of critical conversations with public audiences has led me to reflect on the unanticipated ways my research and skills can be applied beyond academia. Using what I have learned in graduate school to create content for public audiences has been intellectually invigorating and personally edifying. My advice to graduate students interested in public humanities is to become curious about the humanities engagement opportunities happening in their communities because they might be surprised at the exciting ways these programs intersect with their research questions and interests.


Angel C. Dye

English, 5th Year PhD Candidate

New Jersey Council for the Humanities (Summer 2021)

During my internship summer with NJCH, I was tasked with researching monument and memorial projects in New Jersey and across the country. I created a digital database for cataloging past, present, and ongoing monument and memorial projects in the state. I also fulfilled administrative duties and evaluated grant applications for their National Endowment for the Humanities-funded Incubation and Action Grants under the direction of Gigi Naglak, NJCH's Director of Programs. I went on a wonderful site visit to Lake Hopatcong to see the work that one of the organization's grant recipients is doing with their Floating Classroom project. I really enjoyed my time working with this small but mighty staff because it gave me some great experience working in the public humanities and working with grants. I have stayed on as grant evaluator with NJCH in the years since my internship, and I remain connected to the staff and organization. It was an amazing experience and it really opened up a possibility for me with my Ph.D. after graduation.


Lisette Varón-Carvajal

History, 7th year PhD Candidate

Neogranadina (Summer 2023)

Varon Carvajal Photo

With Neogranadina I worked in the design and production of a high-school level podcast of colonial Colombian history. I worked alongside my supervisor historian Santiago Muñoz (UT Austin) and another Colombian scholar named Antonio Jaramillo who works at Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia. We met weekly during the internship and designed the structure of the podcast: name (Zona Colonial), number of episodes (12), duration each episode (20 to 30 minutes), style, content, and major themes. I was in charge of contacting two major podcast production companies in Colombia :  "La no ficción”  and “070 podcasts.” As a team, we are still in the process of securing more resources for the podcast and we are deciding which production company best serves our needs. For now we are inclined to choose “070 podcasts” because of their experience in the world of academic podcasts.

Additionally, I was in charge of the design of my own episode, and I decided to focus on “abortion and reproduction control in the colonial period.” I based this episode on my own dissertation research and I have produced a script for the episode that I have shared with the team and I received feedback from Santiago and Antonio. The purpose is to start with the production of the podcast in the academic year of 2023-2024.  This internship has been tremendously helpful for my work as a scholar because it has taught me how to communicate and talk about my doctoral dissertation to a general audience, particularly to a young and unspecialized audience. Lastly, I have learned to work collaboratively with scholars situated in different institutions and contexts, scholars that do not necessarily share the same background of theoretical interests but that nonetheless come together to talk about their shared interests.

Photo Caption: A photo of the sign that inspired the name of the podcast, Zona Colonial.


Laurena Tsudama

English, 2nd year PhD Student

Princeton University Press (Summer 2021)

As a scholar and teacher working in higher education and the humanities specifically, my placement with Princeton University Press (PUP) was especially fortuitous because I could learn about scholarly publishing not only in my own discipline, literary studies, but also in a variety of disciplines in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and STEM. In addition to working for my home department at PUP, I took advantage of the opportunity to participate in a press-wide internship program that introduced all of the summer interns to the work of each major department at the press. As an intern for the Promotions team in PUP's Publicity department, I was able to experience some of the most public aspects of the press’s operations. My training for this position was thorough and very helpful in familiarizing me not only with PUP's daily, monthly, and yearly operations but also with several important databases and software that are crucial to the publishing industry in general, including Biblio Live, Ingram ipage, and Salesforce. On a day-to-day and weekly basis, I completed a lot of clerical and administrative work: I wrote and replied to countless emails, attended numerous Publicity department meetings, fulfilled over 200 review copy requests, submitted work orders to the press’s warehouse, contributed to the press’s weekly media and events newsletter, and assisted members of the Promotions team with a variety of tasks. I also got the opportunity to flex my more creative skills by regularly constructing and circulating galley, or preview, copies of books from the press’s fall 2021 catalog. Finally, the most significant project I led while interning at PUP was an overhaul of the Promotions team’s communications with 225 academic journals. For this project, I corresponded with hundreds of journal editors, updated contact information for each journal, determined each journal’s preferences for review copy distribution, and standardized the presentation of this information for the use of the team’s publicists. These experiences gave me a rare view from the inside and the practical knowledge that comes only from working on the ground in publishing, and I am so glad that I had this opportunity thanks to the Rutgers Graduate Public Humanities Internship Program.


Xingming Wang

Comparative Literature, 4th year PhD Candidate

NJ Council for the Humanities (Summer 2023)

My summer internship at the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH) centered on three interlinked projects around the theme of environmental humanities: conducting landscape research on environmental initiatives at other state humanities councils, compiling a list of environmental humanities experts based in New Jersey, and making site visits to NJCH partner organizations. These activities introduced me to public humanities scholars and programs dedicated to addressing environmental issues, providing me an opportunity to engage with local communities facing the impact of climate change. Under the supervision of Dr. Valerie Popp, I cultivated staff competencies and honed the writing and communication skills required to become a scholar in public humanities. This learning experience furthers the advancement of my current research on global energy transition and Asian invasive species. Building connections with non-profit organizations and local stakeholders, I aspire to attend more environmentally-themed events and contribute to the development of community-engaged projects.

Graduate Public Humanities Experiential Learning Symposium, Sept 11, 2pm

 Graduate Public Humanities
Experiential Learning Symposium

This event will feature presentations from the cohort of students who participated in the Graduate Public Humanities Internship sponsored by the SAS Dean of the Humanities in Summer 2023, and roundtable discussion about opportunities for training and exploration of public humanities methods, scholarship, and careers.

September 11, 2pm-3:30pm

AB 6051 (West) RCHA/CCA Seminar Room

Join us for a conversation
& presentations with this year’s interns:

Ariel Mond, History, Rikers Public Memory Project

Aries Li, History, Harvard University Press

Ashley Codner, English, New Jersey Folk Festival

Diana Molina, English, Monument Lab

Eagan Dean, English, coLAB Arts

Isabel Guzzardo Tamargo, English, Rutgers University Press

Kelly Roberts, English, Fence Magazine

Laura de Moya Guerra, History, Fundación Puerto Colombia

Lisette Varon-Carvajal, History, Neogranadina

Salvador Ayala Camarillo, English, coLAB Arts

Sarah Roth, History, Humanities Action Lab

Shirley Paxton Fofang, History, Morven Museum

Xingming Wang, Comparative Literature, NJ Council for the Humanities


This year’s internship program was supported by an ACLS Sustaining Public Engagement Grant from the American Council for Learned Societies made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) initiative. 

Program Directors and Advisory Committee

Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan, Ph.D.
Public Humanities Graduate Certificate Coordinator
Assistant Teaching Professor and Coordinator of Public History, History Department

Jorge Marcone, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Humanities
Professor, Spanish and Portuguese/Comparative Literature

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Advisory Committee:

  • Maria Kennedy -  American Studies
  • Jorge Marcone -  Spanish and Portuguese/Comparative Literature
  • Meredith McGill -  English
  • Jim McGlew -  Classics
  • Leah Price -  English
  • Lorraine Piroux -  French
  • Marcy Schwartz -  Spanish and Portuguese
  • Tamara Sears -  Art History
  • Andrew Urban -  American Studies/History

Eligibility and Registration

The Public Humanities Graduate Certificate will be open to currently enrolled master’s-level and doctoral students. The certificate will only be awarded upon completion of a master’s or doctoral degree.

Students interested in pursuing the graduate certificate or participating in its courses/program elements should email the Program Coordinator.

Program Requirements

The Public Humanities Graduate Certificate is a 9-credit program comprised of three courses, distributed as follows:

  • Introduction to Public Humanities, 16:534:587
  • One graduate elective in Public Humanities, from approved list below
  • Practicum, consisting of an approved internship or public-facing independent project

See below for more detail about each program component.

Introduction to Public Humanities (3 credits, 16:534:587)

Students must complete this course in order to be awarded the Public Humanities Graduate Certificate. In the course, students will receive an orientation to the field and to diverse public humanities methodologies. This course is designed to give students a "Public Humanities practice toolkit" including learning about project management, community engagement, and reaching a wide variety of audiences in public writing. Crucially, this course includes experiential learning in Digital Humanities and Oral History methods, instructive site visits, and critical networking opportunities with guest speakers and local practitioners. This course will prepare students to pursue independent and project-based work in public humanities and to network with professionals in the field. Students will be invited to continue their conversations in a Working Group in Public Humanities at the Center for Cultural Analysis (established in 2019).

One graduate elective in Public Humanities (3 credits)

Courses that fulfill this requirement include but are not limited to the list below. Additional courses may be added on a semester-by-semester basis. If you are interested in using a course not listed here to fulfill this requirement, please contact one of the program directors.

  • 16:082:593 Foundations in Cultural Heritage
  • 16:082:605 Methods in Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies
  • 16:082:593 Museums, Collecting, and Preserving
  • 082.563 Curatorial Training Seminar
  • 082.698 Exhibition Seminar
  • 01:350:513 Literature and New Media
  • 01:350:514 Cultural Studies and Planetary Change
  • 08:206:559 Dance Studies and Oral Performance
  • 08:206:523 Dance Externship
  • 08:206:522 History of Creative Engagement
  • 16:510:631 Colloquium in Latin American History
  • 16:510:521 Colloquium in Labor History
  • 16:510:509 Teaching of History
  • (new proposed course, History Department) Law and History
  • (new proposed course, Italian Department) Digital Editing: Theories and Practices
  • 16:940:540. Environmental Humanities: Inter- and Transdisciplinary Issues
  • 16:940:604. Public Culture in Latin America

Practicum, consisting of an approved internship or public-facing independent project ( 3 credits; Students enroll in independent study courses in their own departments to fulfill this requirement)

  • Students register for an Independent Study course, or any other appropriate course number, in their own department (3 credits)
  • In order to fulfill the Practicum requirement, students may:
    • Choose to pursue an internship through the Graduate Public Humanities Summer Internship program supported by the Dean of Humanities Office, or a different supervised public humanities internship approved by the certificate coordinator/Advisory Committee members.
    • Or choose to create a public-facing independent project that will be supervised by a member of the Advisory Committee or an Affiliated Faculty Member.

In either case, students work with the certificate coordinator and/or a member of the Advisory Committee with expertise relevant to their interests to make arrangements to either complete an internship (possibly within the Public Humanities Summer Internship program referenced above) with a public humanities agency/institution or complete an independent public-facing project.  If the student completes an internship to fulfill this requirement, that faculty member will act as the student’s academic advisor for the placement. If the student chooses to create a public-facing project to complete the requirement, a faculty member from the Advisory Committee will advise and evaluate the project.

Through this course, students will make valuable contributions to the field of public humanities in their independent projects and/or in collaborations with the sites/agencies where they complete their internships.


Public Humanities Initiative

The Public Humanities Initiative supports a Public Humanities Graduate Certificate, and a Public Humanities Graduate Summer Experiential Learning Program, among other projects. Our programming, often in coordination with other SAS departments, programs, and centers, includes a schedule of conferences, lectures, and workshops.