HWW Alumni Board Spotlight: Caroline Marris

Meet Caroline Marris, non-tenure track faculty member at Columbia University in the Department of History. 

As a current member of HWW's alumni board, Caroline consults with the HWW PI and staff on future workshop designs and other programming. Caroline attended HWW's Career Diversity Summer Workshop in 2017.

Caroline Marris headshot
Caroline Marris

Describe Humanities Without Walls in 1-2 sentences. 

A place where smart people can feel free - sometimes for the first time - to make plans for the future without restraint; or rather, only with the restraints that you choose and accept.

What is one thing you learned at the HWW workshop that impacted your life?

That we don't have to take the fact that academia, as an industry, is broken as a comment on ourselves. Grad school is not the be-all and end-all of life; for many of us scholarship is, but scholarship can happen all over the world, in every industry, for any purpose. HWW as a workshop prepared me to put this philosophy into action, which takes a lot of detailed work and preparation and - often - public engagement.

What advice do you have for workshop participants?

Keep an open mind, but also feel comfortable saying that a particular opportunity is not what you're looking for. Saying 'no' is just as much of a key skill in confronting our professional futures as is saying 'yes.' Enjoy your time with your cohort; even if you don't cross paths often or at all in future, you have a common goal and (often) a common set of challenges, and can help each other in the moment! And I second the advice of other board members: informational interviews are incredibly helpful, not only to learn about the job in question and make a connection, but also to get a feel for the institution you might want to work for.

What was the most memorable part of the HWW workshop?

It's genuinely difficult to understate the impact that HWW had on my professional and personal life! I best remember the affirming and uplifting process of a group of incredibly talented people realizing and actualizing their goals, their desires, and their hopes. That may sound vague, but the work of telling ourselves that we are not just our degrees, and our life extends beyond grad school - and that we have much to offer to our societies - is hard, and the opportunity to understand all of this is usually not open to us at home institutions. Our first few days of activities that honed our sense of our priorities, our skills, and our values were fantastic.