Congratulations to Aaron Benavidez, IRT ’11, one of the recipients of the 2018 Derek C. Bok Award.
The 2018 Derek C. Bok Award is given to five of the most outstanding teaching fellows, who have been nominated by their departments, throughout Harvard University and includes a monetary prize. Benavidez is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of sociology at Harvard University and an Inequality and Social Policy Doctoral Fellow.
The first national conference of the African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities department at the University of Maryland was held this past fall in October. A few IRT alumni ran into each other at the event!
Dominique Young, IRT ’15, (left) a Ph.D. student in English Literature currently at the University of Maryland, Aria Halliday, IRT ’11, (center) Assistant Professor of Africana Feminisms in Women’s Studies at the University of New Hampshire and Hazim Abdullah-Smith, IRT ’15 (far right) a Ph.D. student in American Studies also at the University of Maryland.
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
University of California, San Diego
This fall I started my first year as a tenure track assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. As I reflect back on my path, I am grateful for many things I learned through IRT. In addition to the obvious fee waivers and assistance with the application for graduate school, my participation in IRT taught me the enduring skill of creating a coherent narrative out of my broad interests and accomplishments.
I have taken a somewhat windy path to arrive at this point in my career. My exposure to IRT began with a presentation to my Mellon Mays cohort at Rice University. During my junior and senior year of college I was really unsure about what direction I wanted to take my future. I had started college as a Biochemistry major, interested in medical or pharmacy school, and changed my focus to medical anthropology after studying abroad in Chile during my junior year. In Chile I learned about Latin American socialism and redistributive justice. I had always been interested in issues of social justice, particularly racial and economic justice, and anthropology was a logical fit. The short span of time between discovering Anthropology and the deadlines for graduate school left me spinning with uncertainty, but excited about my very diverse research interests. I was torn between applying for Ph.D. programs and Master of Public Health programs, but in the end chose to pursue an MPH because I was unsure of what I would study in a Ph.D. However, shortly after starting my M.P.H. program, although I knew that I wanted to do work that would help alleviate or shed light on inequalities, it was clear to me that I wanted to pursue a more theoretical approach by way of a research career that was heavily ethnographic.
Once I was finally ready to apply for Ph.D. programs, I turned to IRT for guidance on the best way to frame my broad interests. How could I make my experience working in a drosophila lab, a volunteer trip to Haiti, and desire to better understand Marx into a story that made sense? It was through my experience with IRT that I first practiced the skill of building a narrative out of my broad range of interests and accomplishments. Although I still had not honed the skill of crafting a narrative in the short form of a cover letter and personal statement, I was able to connect my interests in social justice, structural violence and theoretical frameworks commonly used in anthropology. Later, once I was actually in graduate school I was able to merge my personal interest in food with my previous experiences and develop a dissertation project on food access in post-Soviet Cuba. Ultimately my doctoral work drew upon most of my previous work and both my scholarly and personal interests.
My graduate school applications were my first attempt to create a coherent narrative out of my previous experiences that made sense for a future research trajectory. What I did not realize then was that this skill of creating a narrative out of your experience is an enduring part of our work in academia; if the skill is well crafted it can be beneficial for many parts of academic life. Over the years, I would further hone my skills in crafting a story of my work in funding applications, in my proposal defense, and in postdoctoral and tenure track job applications. The craft of writing one page and two-page statements is a central element of academic life. I now see that this skill that I learned 10 years ago through IRT will be an essential asset as I move forward along the tenure track.
The IRT visited 32 institutions this past fall and will be visiting another seven in the spring in an effort to continue to recruit outstanding students of color looking to become educators. Within just a month of the application opening on November 15, we topped 150 applications.
To date, the top five institutions (listed below) with the most prospective students are minority serving and historically black colleges and universities.
Brooklyn College, NY
City College, NY
Langston University, OK
Spelman College, GA
University of California, Los Angeles
Did you refer a student to the IRT?
Alumni word of mouth is our biggest source for referrals. Please let your students know about the IRT! The application is live, and we are accepting completed applications through March 1.
If you have a student referral, please email Admissions and Recruitment Program Specialist Monica Reum.
Changes to the application
Application is now due March 1!
Unofficial transcripts can be submitted with your IRT application. Official transcripts are required upon matriculation to the program.
Recommenders will be asked to submit a form instead of writing a letter on behalf of the applicant.
Andover now accepting applications for Summer Session and 2019-2020 academic school year
If you are considering a career at Philips Academy, please visit for a full list of current faculty, administrator, and staff positions and teaching fellow opportunities for the upcoming academic year.
Phillips Academy’s Summer Session Overview Summer Session is an innovative five-week program, conducted on its picturesque campus just 21 miles north of Boston. More than 60 courses are offered, ranging from computer science to marine biology, from ethics and philosophy to economics. Summer Session students bring the world into the classroom by virtue of their enormous diversity of geographic origin, religion, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background. With strong academic records and a serious desire to spend the summer in a residential community, our students enjoy challenging themselves and one another through disciplined study.
Every summer Phillips Academy hires a number of visiting teachers to teach, coach, and house counsel in its summer program. A Summer Session faculty member’s experience is rigorous and thoroughly challenging, for Phillips Academy requires superior classroom performance of its teachers, TAs, house counselors, and students alike. The Summer Session is short, intense, and strongly academic.
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