Doctoral student awarded interdisciplinary fellowship promoting community engagement

May 2, 2005

AUSTIN, Texas—Jodi Skipper, a doctoral student in anthropology at The University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded the second of three Scholar-in-Residence Fellowships, part of the Project in Interpreting the Texas Past, to promote community engagement. She will work with the Women’s Museum in Dallas.

The fellowship—sponsored by the Project in Interpreting the Texas Past, the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program (IE) of The University of Texas at Austin, the Houston Endowment and the Summerlee Foundation—symbolizes the importance of interdisciplinary research and citizen-scholarship to the university’s mission.

Valued at more than $30,000, the fellowship includes a year’s salary, benefits, a travel and supply allowance, and access to professional audio, video and multimedia production equipment to conduct community outreach, and to help make the Women’s Museum’s exhibits and programs more accessible to a diverse audience on a local and a national level.

Skipper’s research at the museum will focus on developing new exhibits, engaging school groups with the museum, creating a series of public programs and expanding the Web site. Most important, she will engage with Dallas community groups to position the museum as a vital resource for women of all backgrounds and social classes.

About the Project in Interpreting the Texas Past

The Scholar-in-Residence Program is part of the Project in Interpreting the Texas Past, developed by Dr. Martha Norkunas, in which interdisciplinary teams of graduate students work at case study sites across Texas, such as the Women’s Museum and the Varner-Hogg Plantation state historic site, among others, and think critically about how the past is represented and interpreted.

Combining graduate seminars with internships, the program allows graduate students in a variety of fields to do projects in Texas communities, and develop professional skills such as proposal development, organizing community-based oral history projects, and creating documentary films and exhibits. Students then produce new and engaging interpretive programs for historic sites all over Texas, ultimately improving the public’s understanding of the past.

About the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program

The University of Texas' Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) program is a nationally acclaimed initiative, founded and directed by Dr. Richard Cherwitz, promoting interdisciplinary education and academic engagement; its goal is to create greater synergies among academic disciplines and between the university and community.

For more information contact: Richard Cherwitz, 512-471-1939, or Martha Norkunas.