2023 Interns

One of the cornerstones of the Humanities for the Public Good Program is experiential learning. With the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of Iowa Graduate College along with the help of our Graduate Summer Intern Fellows and our internship hosts, we’re asking what the “applied humanities” might look like. Students spend two summer months working with and for a campus or community partner on a thoughtfully designed project. Following orientation, the students attend weekly cohort gatherings over the summer to share their experiences. Together, they discuss what the humanities mean in their workplace, how concepts and methods from their disciplines translate into their workplace, and they are reimagining their own research and writing in their scholarly work in light of their internship experience. We are also deeply grateful for the patient, creative, resourceful mentors in the internship sites who are not only working closely with the students but also teaching and learning with us.

Uche Anomnachi — Public Space One

Uche Anomnachi is a PhD Candidate in American Studies whose research centers on graphic blackness in postmodern culture. As an intern with the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, Uche will work to chronicle the visits of residents, and draw scholars, artists, and the public into conversation about the afrofuture. His current scholarship concerns digital art and visual codes for representing Blackness, their legacies, uses, and potentials.

Jin Chang — Coralville Public Library

Jin Chang (they/them) Is a PhD student and oral historian in the history of education at the University of Iowa. They study the history of Asian American university students’ political activism in the cornfields. When they are not researching, they can be found playing tennis or walking their dog, Crouton.

Rajorshi Das — Public Space One

Rajorshi Das is a Ph.D. candidate in English with a certificate in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS). They study contemporary liberal queer narratives emerging out of India across print and digital platforms. As a commitment towards public engagement and scholarship, they interview activists and artists for their podcast, Queerness and Storytelling in India. Rajorshi’s dissertation will rely decolonial methodologies and archival research to unpack the messiness of queer storytelling in India, and its impact on neighboring countries like Bangladesh.

Priyanka Dubey — Diversity Market

Priyanka is a PhD candidate in the Community and Behavioral Health Department at University of Iowa where her dissertation focuses on understanding lived experiences of menstrual hygiene management among transgender and non-binary population groups. Topically, her overall research focuses on maternal and child health, reproductive health, adolescent health, menstrual health and hygiene, gender and sanitation, and improving the lives of women by enhancing livelihood opportunities. She is interested in listening to people’s experiences, understanding their behavior and attitudes and use the research to amplify their voices. Her research spans in low-resource settings and communities. Methodologically, she employs qualitative research methods that include in-depth interviews, focused group discussions, and observations, keeping the community at the center of research.

Keegan Hockett — United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties

Keegan Hockett is a doctoral candidate in the School of Music’s Bassoon Performance and Pedagogy program and a graduate assistant with the Office of Community Engagement. He is an active performer with orchestras around the state and enjoys working with young musicians through his positions with the Clear Creek Amana CSD and Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles program. As the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties intern, Keegan is excited to be assisting Jennifer Banta with the research, writing, and coordination of the Better Together 2030 Pillar 5 project, “Re-imagined Human and Social Services.”

John Jepsen — University of Iowa Labor Center

John W. Jepsen is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Iowa, with research interests in Native American, energy, and public policy history. He is researching the development of federal Indian policy and mineral rights law in order to understand the relationship between regimes of economic and resource development and the effective exercise of sovereignty and self-determination by tribal governments. A former laborer in the oilfields of the Intermountain West, he is concerned with the toll extractive industries take on the rural and indigenous communities that are often the sites of intensive extraction. 

Susan Santee — University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist

Susan Santee is a first-generation Ph.D. student in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the Literacy, Culture, and Language Education program. Her research interests focus on arts integration in literacy learning and teaching contexts and practices in Teacher Education programs to develop embodied, vital pedagogies with preservice teachers. Santee is excited to work in the Office of the State Archaeologist and looks forward to connecting with diverse stakeholders to build academic and community-based partnerships that will result in achieving revitalization goals through the development of eLearning educational programming and materials for the Iowa Archaeological Certification Program.

Jennie Sekanics — Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation

Jennie Sekanics is a doctoral student in the English department whose research is heavily influenced by cultural studies and feminist theory and is at the intersection of trauma studies, digital culture, and materialisms. Researching depictions of sexual violence and bodily autonomy, she complicates the relationship between trauma, narrative form, and collectivity to reveal new forms of agency. She is incredibly excited to work with the Iowa City Public Library Friends Foundation and develop innovative strategies for sustaining and redistributing donated materials.