Pitch Your Own Summer Immersive

Summer immersive fellowships provide Ph.D. students with the opportunity to gain experiences with host organizations in collaborative, mission-focused project work drawing on their high-level skills as researchers and writers. Co-mentored by the host organization supervisors, the Faculty Mentor for Summer Immersive Fellowship Cohort, and the Senior Director for Graduate Advising and Engagement for the Humanities, they broaden and deepen their academic and professional development in preparation for high-impact careers within and beyond the academy. 

Summer 2022 

Read the Pittwire article on this year's Pitch Your Own Summer Immersive Fellows: Pitt’s Humanities Engage program is re-imagining doctoral education

Josh BrewJosh Brew (Music) will put his research on music sustainability into practice by interviewing the musicians, audiences, and patrons of the Ghanaian Legon Palmwine Band and then creating a workshop and access to music business resources.

Drawing on his research interests, Alex Holguin (Communication) will re-vitalize the communication of the Neighborhood Resilience Project’s work in trauma-informed community development through their website and social media


Summer 2021

See the summer 2021 cohort flyer (PDF).

Courtney Colligan Courtney Colligan (Theatre Arts) will use her doctoral and career interests in the arts and social justice to collaborate with The Women and Girls Foundation on a project informed by the Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) method by crafting a curriculum for GirlGov members and developing a literature review.

Felix HelbingDrawing on his academic work and his experience working in digital advertising, Felix Helbing (Slavic Languages and Literatures) will collaborate with the Federation of Tech Workers and Work Hard Pittsburgh to develop a strategy to gather data and then analyze and organize it into a cohesive narrative about workers in the Pittsburgh tech economy.

Victoria LaFaveUsing her research and curriculum design skills, Victoria LaFave (Theatre Arts) will develop assessments of student engagement for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and a dance cultural history curriculum that highlights the relationship between classical ballet and other prominent dance forms and explores social issues of race and coloniality.

Alison MahoneyFor CO/LAB Theater Group, Alison Mahoney (Theatre Arts) will utilize her professional experience and doctoral research in disability and the arts to create a community-informed program evaluation, reimagine their Actor Log, and complete an accessibility audit of their classroom tools and practices.

Taylor WaitsTaylor Waits (English) will support the research, development, and implementation of trainings related to current curriculum and instruction trends in K-12 education and anti-racism and use her digital storytelling and social media experience to develop educational collateral with Single Seed Enrichment School.

Oscar Zapata GarciaOscar Zapata Garcia (Hispanic Languages and Literatures) will utilize his editorial experience and language skills to work with Casa San Jose by supporting their editorial and communications strategy, developing a social media marketing plan, re-designing and optimizing their newsletter, and translating documents.

Summer 2020

See the summer 2020 cohort flyer (PDF).

Charles AthanasopoulosCharles Athanasopoulos (Communication) is working with Monument Lab to expand an on-going performance art project - Sweet Chariot, an interactive video scavenger hunt of African American history, conceptualized and directed by artist Marisa Williamson - and to expand their archival database of public art works funded by Confederate legacy groups.

Eve Barden

Eve Barden (Film & Media Studies (Slavic concentration))’s Monument Lab project is to produce educational videos on historical topics for Dr. Patricia Eunji Kim’s Queens Who Rule (QWR), an emerging multi-media public history platform that brings life to the art, stories, and political experiences of women throughout history.

Dominique BransonAt the Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth project in UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Dominique Branson (Linguistics) is analyzing and synthesizing data related to Black girls' experiences and involvement with the juvenile justice system in Allegheny County to develop an equity report that informs Pittsburgh stakeholders about ways to better serve at-risk Black girls in the city.

Nelson Felipe Castañeda RojasWith RefocusED, Inc., Nelson Felipe Castañeda Rojas (Hispanic Languages and Literatures) is supporting the Voices Against Violence Summer Camp and building research on trauma-sensitive youth educational models, practices, curriculum, and programs.

Darrelstan FergusonAs a Remote Volunteer Citizenship Class Translator & Teaching Assistant with the Catholic Charities of Los Angeles’ Citizenship Education Program, Darrelstan Ferguson (Hispanic Languages and Literatures) is helping non-English speakers prepare for the English test/interview that is necessary for obtaining permanent U.S. citizenship.

Treviene HarrisTreviene Harris (English) is using her experience in advocacy, research, and community involvement to provide Fresh Spirit Wellness for Women, a domestic violence counseling agency, with administrative assistance in database management, grant research, and grant writing.

Kim HooverKimberly Hoover (English) is supporting the research Awaken Pittsburgh conducts on their mindfulness programming in three areas: Children/Youth Programming (social and emotional regulation); Implicit Bias Awareness and Dismantling; and Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness Practices/Delivery.

Janina LopezAt Monument Lab, Janina Lopez (History of Art and Architecture) is assisting artist Michelle Angela Ortiz with her Hemispheric Latinx Artist Research project; providing research for an in-progress database about monuments along or upon the U.S./Mexico border; and developing projects with the information acquired for the database.

Patoimbasba NikiemaPatoimbasba Nikiema (French) is providing individual and small group support to students at ARYSE, a student-centered organization that supports immigrant and refugee youth in becoming engaged, confident, and celebrated members of the community.

Sean NonnenmacherSean Nonnenmacher (Linguistics) is creating a StoryBank, a database of recorded personal narratives from Phoenix lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth, among others, for GLSEN Phoenix, which will pilot “data” in the form of approximately 25-30 personal narratives.

Brenda SólkezBrenda Sólkez (Hispanic Languages and Literatures) is following the methodology of Teaching Spanish to Heritage Speakers to teach a summer camp for Casa San Jose, a non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh that supports and advocates for the integration and self-sufficiency of Latinx and Hispanic communities.

Christopher StaleyFor the Walpole Children’s Theatre, Christopher Staley (Theatre Arts) is doing archival and historical work to organize the group’s 50-year history in a clear, schematic form; researching grant opportunities; and assisting with their summer shows over Zoom.

Mathew TemboMathew Tembo (Music) is collaborating with the Bloggers of Zambia, a civic organization that explores the use of virtual platforms as alternative spaces in which Zambia’s citizenry can participate in the democratic process of the country, to engage interlocutors (particularly women in the music industry), edit blog posts, enhance content, and facilitate capacity building of the organization.

Taylor Waits In order to help improve Radical Monarchs’ administrative efficiency, Taylor Waits (English) will be working on grant tracking, database management, and communications for the non-profit organization that serves as an alternative to the Scout movement for girls of color, aged 8-13.