KHS Graduate Student Day to Enhance Student Experience

By Amanda Higgins, associate editor, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, and KHS research fellowship coordinator

Sessions will include one on interview skills.
Sessions will include a mock interview.

Kentucky Historical Staff come from a variety of universities. As history professionals, we benefitted from the opportunities we had in graduate school not just to learn content but also to develop our professional skills. We know that the interactions we had with historians off campus also helped us think about our future careers in new and different ways.

The experiences we had inform our conceptualization of the KHS Graduate Student Day. This single-day event will be Jan. 22, 2016, in Frankfort, Kentucky. It is designed to enhance graduate students’ experiences, help prepare them for their future and help grow their institutions’ regional connections in the academic world.

Early career graduate students at area universities are invited to a morning session to showcase their works-in-progress, hone critical skills for post-graduate success and grow their scholarly network.

Students participating in the works-in-progress sessions will not simply read their papers (as they would at a conference panel); instead, they will submit papers beforehand so they can be pre-circulated. A faculty member from a regional institution will chair each panel, which also will include a KHS staff member. The group will work through each paper, discussing ways to strengthen analysis, how to use evidence effectively and the piece’s contribution to the topic’s historiography.

We purposely limited the morning session to early career graduate students (MA and pre-qualifying exam PhD students), because we know how tough graduate school can be, especially at the beginning.  As former graduate students, we also know that growing a network and finding opportunities to showcase work outside the confines of our home departments can be difficult for early career students. We want to provide participating students a productive and inviting day that benefits their intellectual development and social circles.

All students (regardless of stage of matriculation) are invited to lunch and afternoon professionalization workshops.  As the humanities continue to deal with a stagnant job market, we believe it is important to help history graduate students build the necessary skills to secure employment inside and outside the academy. Participants will workshop their curriculum vitas, participate in mock interviews and learn how to maximize their time at academic conferences.

KHS also will take participants behind-the-scenes and offer the chance to see public history in action. Showcasing the myriad ways historians work outside the academy opens new avenues for history graduate students to consider as they continue their education.

To submit a proposal for the morning session, please email Dr. Amanda Higgins (Amanda.higgins@ky.gov) by Dec. 1, 2015. Faculty interested in refereeing the workshops should also contact Higgins via email or by phone (502-564-1792 ex. 4440).

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