IE Interpreting the Texas Past Project (ITP) Student Testimonials
Information Doctoral Student Pedro Reynoso notes: "When reflecting about my experiences in Dr. Norkunas' graduate courses and the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE)/Interpreting the Texas Past Project (ITP), I think of research in action, an undertaking that required the marriage between academic training and sensitivity to cultural contexts. ITP, and the Intellectual Entrepreneurship philosophy and initiative of which it is a part, involves research activities in and outside the classroom, a public pedagogy, which according to critical theorist, Henry A. Giroux, transforms us into "border crossers." As a "border crosser" acting beyond the traditionally perceived boundaries of my research program, culture, and social location, I learned to be an 'intellectual entrepreneur' in harmony with both theory and practice; classroom and community; and rigorous academic methods and commonsense." Read more.
Middle Eastern Studies and Information Science graduate student Martha Jenks explains how enrolling in the ITP course not only taught her how to conduct oral histories but enabled her to better understand the African American experience. Read more.
Interdisciplinary doctoral student Tony Cherian, the first IE "Intepreting the Texas Past" Scholar-in-Residence, comments on how his work in the IE Program is simultaneously contributing to his intellectual development and his quest to put his knowledge to work in the community.
"The moment I first encountered the people of the Project Interpreting the Texas Past, I knew my voice spoke in harmony with theirs. So I joined in. The IE/ITP project helps convey the importance of sharing our knowledge and resources with those outside the academic circle. And in turn, the support, guidance and stature the project provides help me become a better advocate for the communities I collaborate with."
Tony was awarded the 2002 Zora Neale Hurston Prize for his film, "Truth I Ever Told" - a project undertaken as part of his IE/ITP experience. He also won a Scholar-in-Residence award for his work.
Radio-Television-Film doctoral student Anne Glickman explains how the IE Program's "Interpreting the Texas Past" project allowed her to turn intellectual inquiry into social action.
American Studies doctoral student Kimberly Hamlin notes how a professional internship changed her graduate studies and helped her see what is possible with a doctoral degree.
"Last May, I received an email that changed the scope of my graduate studies, expanded professional aspirations, and enriched my life. This email invited graduate students to apply for a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to work with Professor Martha Norkunas on the Austin Women's Commemorative Project, under the auspices of UT's Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program. I had just completed my first year of graduate school in American Studies and, while I very much enjoyed my classes, was feeling disconnected from the community and wondering how I might connect my intellectual interests in American women's history with my personal and professional interests in community service and involvement. And, eureka, this email appeared. Working on the Austin Women's Commemorative Project (AWCP) has been, and continues to be, the highlight of my graduate career.
For me, the AWCP and the support I have received from Professor Norkunas and from the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program has enabled me to restructure my graduate education in a way that is most meaningful to me, provided me with the opportunity to apply my classroom learning to an actual community project, introduced me to an amazing network of women and mentors, and expanded my notions of what it is possible to do with a graduate degree in American Studies."