Summer Bridge Spotlight: Victor A. Ruiz-Divas

Victor Ruiz-Divas headshot
Victor A. Ruiz-Divas 

Meet Victor A. Ruiz-Divas, one of five participants selected for the 2023 Summer Bridge program. A PhD student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization, & Leadership, Victor worked with Krannert Art Museum.

How have you applied your humanistic training to advance the mission of the community organization?

This summer, I received the opportunity to work with the education team at the Krannert Art Museum. While working with this amazing group, I have had opportunities to be involved in a myriad of conversations, strategic planning sessions, and projects. An overarching project that I am involved in is the researching, development, and forthcoming implementation of the Creative Aging: KAM Tour & Memory Café. This is a pilot event and program, cultivated by the education team in collaboration with outside organizations, that is geared towards our older audiences that encompasses opportunities for exploration, collaboration, creating, and community building.

For this project, I have the opportunity of implementing my research and humanistic training to develop a working understanding of creative aging and cultivating a lesson plan for our memory café session, a session that I will also co-facilitate with the education team. I believe this event, among many others, is symbolic of what the education team, and the Krannert Art Museum, is about. This organization is motivated to create spaces and experiences that welcome and engage all audiences, while also providing inclusive and accessible opportunities and experiences for all.

How has this experience contributed to your career development? What skills have you gained or developed?

I find my career development has benefited a great deal during my stint working with the education team and the museum. Having been invited to various conversations that focused on strategic planning, upcoming events, and community engagement, I have had an in-depth look at how a community art-based organization functions, runs, and is maintained. I would say my skills in research, report writing, collaboration, and facilitation have greatly developed. 

What have you learned from working with this community organization?

Through my time working and interacting with the education team, I’ve learned that the successful running of an organization is not a one-person affair. An organization is a program that is composed of multiple moving parts and requires a strong, welcoming, open-minded, and tight-knitted team for it to be fully functional. The education team at the Krannert Art museum is such a team, and it shows in the quality of work they have produced over time. I have learned so much and continue to learn from each of them during every meeting, every conversation, and every laugh that we share. It has been an absolute delight to be work with such an amazing group. I only hope this meaningful connection continues further beyond the end of this summer experience.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your Summer Bridge program experience?

I am very thankful for the opportunity that I have been given this summer. The Humanities Without Walls Summer Bridge Program has opened many doors for me and has given me the opportunity to learn more of the world outside of academia and higher education. Coming into this program I have had thoughts of venturing out and being more involved in communities that could use the assistance of highly trained and skilled humanists. This program, among many other things, has affirmed those thoughts and is encouraging me to continue this work. For that, I am forever grateful.

More about HWW's Summer Bridge Program