The Delaware Public Humanities Institute: Scholars in the Public Eye

Ladies and gentlemen, DelPHI 2016 is underway!

13344575_925265420905048_5479550234822944734_nDelPHI Class of 2016 with advisors Dr. Erik P. Rau, Director of Library Services at the Hagley Museum (top left) and Dr. Arwen Mohun, University of Delaware History Department Chair (top right)

Every summer the University of Delaware’s Center for Material Culture Studies awards research grants to fourteen lucky graduate students in humanities disciplines, including the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture.  Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, DelPHI’s  two week institute at UD’s Newark campus helps young humanitarians strengthen professional skills typically overlooked by graduate curriculums. This year, students work with other humanitarians, reporters, lawyers, news and radio writers, as well as experts across a variety of fields to learn how to write grants and press releases,  give better interviews, and engage audiences with their research topics.


Dr. Matt Kinservik, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (center right) and Mike Chalmers, Director of Leadership Communications (center left) explain how to write great opinion editorials

For award recipients, honing public engagement skills is an important, yet often elusive aspect of professional development. Learning how to market yourself to general audiences and navigate the media with poise are situations many academics don’t encounter until after they enter the work force. By connecting students with communication experts, DelPHI helps the next generation of humanitarians bring their ideas and talents to the world.

Radio Writer Sue Spolan of NPR's "Fresh Air" interviews fellow Kristen Semento.

Radio writer Sue Spolan of NPR’s “Fresh Air” (right) interviews DelPHI fellow Kristen Semento (left)

Although DelPHI is organized by the Center For Material Culture Studies, the program is enriched by collaborations with other UD departments and organizations across the region. During their first week, fellows enjoyed sessions on grant writing with Marilyn Whittington, Executive Director of the Delaware Humanities Forum, and marketing with radio writer Sue Spolan from NPR talk show “Fresh Air”. Veteran reporter Erickson Blakney, Program Officer of the Pinkerton Foundation also helped fellows to develop their on-camera interview skills.

former ABC and CBS reporter Erickson Blackney, of the Pinkerton Foundation waits to interview DelPHI Fellow Maribel Beas as she is wired for her mic.

ABC and CBS reporter Erickson Blakney of the Pinkerton Foundation prepares to interview DelPHI fellow Maribel Beas while she is wired for her mic.

If you would like to know more about DelPHI, you can follow the fellows at Here you will find updates, contact info, photos, and general program information!

By Kristen Semento, WPAMC Class of 2017 and DelPHI fellow 2016

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