New Social Change Fellowship Launches at NSSR During Spring 2023
Mariam Matar, Krishna Boddapati, Zachary Leamy, and Eduardo Mora Zuniga have received the NSSR Social Change Fellowship for the Spring 2023 semester.
In its first year, this selective fellowship program offers graduate students from The New School for Social Research paid internships at organizations committed to social justice. It provides fellows with “opportunities to use the skills acquired as a result of their degree but may be unaware of how to apply them in non-academic areas and settings,” says Jennifer MacDonald, Director of The New School’s Center for Graduate Career and Professional Development.
A collaborative effort, the fellowship was created by MacDonald; Jane McNamara, Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives and Civic Partnerships at Lang College; and Ryan Gustafson, Director of Academic Affairs at NSSR to help NSSR students navigate a changing academic job market and fewer full-time faculty opportunities. The fellowship helps answer the question, “What does it mean to be a PhD student today?” and introduces students to non-academic job fields, helps them to recognize the skills they have acquired, and teaches them how to communicate their skills and expertise in different professional settings. For its pilot run, the fellowship is open only to students in the Philosophy, Politics, and Sociology departments.
“It is always a challenge when you go through a rigorous process like a doctoral or advanced Master’s study to articulate and communicate the ways those skills are valuable in a different setting,” says MacDonald. According to McNamara, “One of the things we heard while we were interviewing candidates for this position is how many of them are eager to understand how their skills have application in other settings beyond academia and how they can bring their expertise to other settings, whether or not they decide to pursue an academic career.”
For internship placement, the fellowship turned to organizations The New School has a strong institutional relationship with via another program, the Eugene Lang Social Science Fellowship, which pairs undergraduates with semester-long paid internships and NSSR graduate student mentors. The organizations chosen for the pilot program were sought based on their ability to provide fellows with substantive mentorship. The fellowship also includes training and support from the Center for Graduate Career & Professional Development about how to integrate public engagement into academic careers and/or pursue non-faculty careers.
The inaugural fellows are:
Mariam Matar, an Egyptian/British Philosophy PhD candidate who is paired with Mercury Public Affairs. Her research focuses are on critical theory, decolonial theory, feminist theory, social epistemology and abolitionism. Most recently, she has been working on the relationship between experiences of dehumanization and language/testimony. Beyond her academic work, she has been involved with community development through education and counselling via her time at El Nadeem (center for rehabilitation of victims of sexual violence in Cairo, Egypt), Legal Outreach (extra-curricular schooling system in Queens, NYC), and Art and Resistance Through Education.
Krishna Boddapati, a Philosophy PhD student who is paired with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum Collections & Curatorial Department. His work focuses on advancing a positive account of forgetting by tracing the roles that memory and forgetting have played in the history of philosophy, and considering how each force is mobilized and put to use in everyday life, especially in national and political narratives
Zachary Leamy, a Sociology PhD student who is paired with The International Peace Institute. They are the author of Doctors, Death, and Drug Money: A Quantitative Analysis of Direct-to-Physician Pharmaceutical Marketing and Mortality. Zachary has also given lectures in human rights, criminology, political economy, and sociology at the City University of New York, Marymount Manhattan College, and Appalachian State University.
Eduardo Mora Zuniga, a Politics MA student who is paired with International Crisis Group Latin American & Caribbean Group. Eduardo is a Central American activist and researcher and he studies the relationship between the gig economy and plantation work as forms of accumulation by dispossession.