The National Endowment for the Humanities will help me go back to school tuition-free for the Summer. I was selected as a Summer Scholar - which means I will join a small cohort of educators for a month of study at Amherst College in Massachusetts to study the ethics of punishment and reward.
NEH Summer Scholars
Every year the National Endowment for the Humanities offers dozens of humanities-based programs for primary and secondary school teachers and higher education professionals. Teachers apply for the programs they want, and if selected from a national pool, are able to participate in an NEH summer seminar, landmark, or institute. The aim of the program is to put educators in an institution with great teachers, colleagues, and set with a topic - so when we return in the Fall we are hopefully enlightened, inspired, and equipped with new ideas, tools and curriculum to share with our home schools.
"Punishment, Politics, and Culture"
I was selected to participate in a four-week Summer Seminar hosted by Professor Austin Sarat from Amherst College entitled "Punishment, Politics, and Culture". Here is a link to what we will be reading and discussing. I will come away from the seminar enriched because we'll dive into important texts (e.g., Beloved by Toni Morrison and The Book of Job from the Bible) that have shaped culture, history, and literature. The essential question of our seminar is why do we (as a society) punish - or reward - the way that we do and what does this say about our moral values?
A community of Educators in Queens
I teach at a private, independent school in Queens. We're called Garden School and we've been in the Jackson Heights neighborhood since 1923. A few of my colleagues, James Pigman, Marcia Elkind, and Nancy Massand have participated in NEH Summer programs and they inspired me to apply. The cool thing about the NEH Summer Scholar program is that it creates a mini-community of educators who have done one or two programs and you become committed to sharing what you have learned.
Mr. Jim Pigman, an Emeritus Educator Inspired Me to be of the Hot Sauce Variety at Amherst
Mr. Pigman, who is now retired (but still very active), told me that "I am of the hot sauce variety". That's because I ate a dish of spicy crawfish in Suzhou, China (on a school trip we did together with students and other teachers back in 2017). I think he admired my spunk so I hope to bring that same zest to the Summer I'll be attending at Amherst. All of us in the program are all already linked together on an email chain and participants I will be working with have sent emails discussing what cool things we can do in an around the Amherst and Western Massachusetts region. I am looking forward to seeing the Emily Dickinson Museum.Fun Facts:
The National Endowment for the Humanities provides opportunities like the one I am attending this Summer every year. Educators can apply for next year's programs in the Fall. Stipends of $1,200-$3,300 help cover expenses for the one- to four-week programs. I am staying on campus at Amherst. The stipend will help cover my dorm and meal expenses while I am at the college. I am grateful for this opportunity and I cannot wait to dive into the texts and meet our 2019 cohort.
What Do You Think?
Have you ever done an NEH Summer Landmark, Seminar, or Institue? I'd love to hear about your experience. Let me know in the comments.
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