Graduate Students

Humanities Graduate Students Are Pivotal to the Success of Transcending Boundaries Symposium

Springtime on the UChicago Hyde Park campus

Since elementary school, Rachel Chery has been a leader in diversity work. This spring, the Humanities Division doctoral candidate in Music spearheaded the virtual Transcending Boundaries Fourth Annual Research Symposium, April 8–9, with the theme of Disruption and Discovery Preparing for a New Generation of Scholars.

To her surprise, Chery recently received the Departmental Diversity Award for the Humanities Division for her leadership in the realm of furthering diversity on the UChicago campus.

“First and foremost, she was foundational to the organization and success of the Transcending Boundaries Symposium, which was an incredible space for so many beautiful presentations and the building of community,” said Frania Mendoza Lua, doctoral candidate at the Crown Family Center and Chair of UChicagoGRAD Diversity Advisory Board. “I hope everyone who attended realizes how radical and powerful this conference really was at a school like UChicago. Outside of the Diversity Advisory Board, Rachel continues to decolonize music theory syllabi. She starts the classes that she teaches with Nina Simone and that is so important! Her dissertation is also looking to her identity in a field where it is still not common to do so.”

While Chery describes the award as the capstone of what she’s been doing all her life, she was quick to praise the UChicago students who presented intriguing topics during the Transcending Boundaries Symposium.

Three Humanities Division graduate students explored race and the occult, indigenous Mexican language in hip-hop, and Hegel and romantic quest of self in art in their presentations. Jonah Francese, Bre’Anna Girdy, and Manjing Wuang gave their virtual sessions on topics relevant to their UChicago studies as well as to their personal interests.

“My grandmother spoke the Hñähñu language, and I looked at several hip-hop groups that use this language in their lyrics,” said Francese, a PhD candidate in ethno-musicology, who presented Hñähñu Language Revitalization through Indigenous Mexican Hip Hop: Building Towards an Indigenous Hip Hop Futurism. “Using this indigenous language in hip-hop lyrics is an opportunity to teach the language and increase the percentage and number of speakers.”

Graduate Student Council Reconnects Community Amid the Pandemic

HDGSC welcomed students back to campus with gift bags of essentials.

The pandemic didn’t just disrupt in-person classes. It interrupted many social activities that help friendships develop and flourish for graduate students in the Division of the Humanities.

To remedy the dearth of social activities for more than a year, the Humanities Division Graduate Student Council (HDGSC) wanted to give a proper welcome to the graduate students who joined the Division in 2020 and 2021, as well as welcome back their fellow graduate students through thoughtfully selected items in gift bags.

“We are thrilled that we could reach as many students in the Chicagoland area as we did,” said Catie Witt, President of HDGSC. “We wanted to welcome graduate students back to campus and to help rebuild a sense of community. Many students told us how thrilled they were with the surprise.”

Witt, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and Vice President, Naomi Harris (NELC), planned the list of supplies, collected several volunteers, and distributed more than 300 bags during November from the Humanities Division headquarters in the Walker Art Museum. The gift bags were stocked with useful items such as notebooks, mini-first aid kits, gift cards, tumblers, and hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes—now staples in the pandemic-world.

Division of the Humanities Recognizes the Scholarship and Teaching of Students and Faculty at the 533rd Virtual Convocation

Graduate students at the Division of Humanities Convocation in 2018

During this unprecedented time of the coronavirus, the Division of the Humanities at UChicago conducted a virtual Convocation—not out of choice but of necessity. The importance of commemorating its students’ and faculty’s achievements is captured on film and is available starting at 4:30 p.m. on June 12.

In addition to celebrating the achievements of more than 200 graduating students with master’s and doctoral degrees on June 12, Dean Anne Walters Robertson and Dean of Students Shea Wolfe honored several Division of Humanities students and faculty members during the Graduation Ceremony—Zoe Hughes, Lester (Zhuqing) Hu, Olga Sánchez-Kiselewska, Elizabeth Asmis, and Jason Riggle.

Four Graduate Students Honored for Exceptional Teaching of Undergraduates

University of Chicago campus view

Adam Antoszewski, Anna Band, Bastien Craipain and Shreya Ramachandran have been named the 2020 winners of the Wayne C. Booth Prize for Excellence in Teaching, awarded annually to graduate students for outstanding instruction of undergraduates. A doctoral candidate in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Craipain has received the Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowship and will continue to teach at UChicago as a Humanities Teaching Fellow

Students and faculty in the College nominated the recipients for the prize, which was established in 1991 in honor of Booth, PhD’50, the late UChicago faculty member who was one of the 20th century’s most influential literary critics.