English major Jordan Traut was selected as the first fellow for the 2019-2020 College of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Fellowship. Read more below about what her job includes, her personal motivation for taking the fellowship, and how she hopes to impact English.
It is really an honor to be selected as the first fellow for the 2019-2020 College of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Fellowship. I have a lot of people to thank for that, especially the professors who took time out of their busy schedules to write me letters of recommendations— Dr. Timothy Miller, Dr. Katarzyna Jakubiak, and Dr. Carla Rineer.
One thing I strongly believe in is that our College needs and deserves more funding opportunities for students, whose work in the humanities provides the bedrock for cross-cultural academic pursuits. I have had several meetings with the AHSS Dean, Dr. Ieva Zake, about the direction and purpose of the fellowship. Part of my responsibility as the AHSS fellow is to attend important meetings with university alumni and potential donors and share my undergraduate research work. It is my intention and hope that I represent the College and the English Department, especially, in a way that demonstrates the merit of the humanities and awards us more funding opportunities.
Over the summer, I did research on traditional oral stories of Native Americans. I was looking for culturally responsible literary sources for my thesis project (original sources in native languages from people within the culture), and ultimately was invited to attend the 2019 Annual Anishinaabe Family Language and Culture Camp on a reservation in Michigan to hear an elder tell their creation teaching using the Anishinaabemowin language. This trip was extremely important to me personally, and it was imperative for my academic ambitions, but also an extremely expensive undertaking for a broke college student struggling to pay tuition. I was unable to secure any funding from the College, which ultimately impacted my time at the reservation and my research.
AHSS just does not have the same kind of funding available to support student research efforts as other Colleges. This is true across the higher education system in the United States, not just at Millersville. Science and Technology is simply better funded. But…imagine the quality of original work Millersville arts, humanities, and social science students could produce if given access to the necessary funding. We should be able to participate in high-impact educational opportunities and secure funding for them in the same way students of other colleges can. For these reasons and in this way, I would like to use this fellowship opportunity to positively impact the departments in our College.