Stefanie Wichhart

Stefanie WichhartStefanie's comments on the PFF program appear in ALCALDE

I am a doctoral candidate in History. One of the most valuable aspects of this internship was the opportunity to discuss teaching and history as a discipline with an experienced teacher in a safe setting. Much as I love UT and my department, it was a welcome change to meet with someone in the field who was not on my committee or responsible for giving me evaluations that might determine future funding or appointments. The grad student experience is often like being a goldfish in a fish bowl, always being watched and evaluated. I have received lots of useful advice from my advisers at UT, but I was able to have frank and honest discussions about teaching history with Dr. Heenan that I would not have been comfortable having with my advisers. I felt free to admit and discuss my concerns and weaknesses. Perhaps this sounds like a small thing, but in my opinion the chance to work outside UT, ask questions, and experiment with lecture and teaching styles in a safe setting is one of the most significant benefits of the PFF program. This internship came at a perfect time in my graduate career. I am ABD and will be leaving Austin to do dissertation research in London next semester. While it has been a busy semester, I have had more time to devote to the internship than I would have had at any other time, which allowed me to benefit from and enjoy the internship much more. The positive experience I had with students at St. Edwards and with the small-college environment will serve me well as I prepare to go on the job market in a few years, and I look forward to keeping in touch with my mentor.