Jackson State University student Alexandria M. Drake recently participated in the 2013 Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute in New York.
The program offers a six-week session for 10 rising seniors. Five are selected from colleges and universities in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and five from historically black colleges and universities across the nation.
“The six-week program was intense, but enlightening,” says Drake. “Each day, three-hour seminars were conducted by top scholars in the field of Humanities, who teach at universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Northwestern, and Columbia — just to name a few.”
Drake majors in social science education with a minor in Spanish.
During the seminars, participants of the institute were challenged to think critically about subjects ranging from current racial identities to the global impact of hip hop. In addition to attending the seminars, members also were required to construct a research prospectus on a topic of their choice.
Drake chose to conduct preliminary research on the effects of the first and second Great Migrations on the state of Mississippi. She said she plans to conduct a case study on a rural community known as Unity Springs in Dekalb, Miss.
“The resources at the Schomburg Center were essential to the construction of my literature review– nearly every authoritative literary work on the subject of the African-American experience in 20th century Mississippi,” says Drake.
Besides exposure to scholarship and research, members were also guided through the graduate school application process.
“This experience actually affirmed my decision to attend graduate school,” Drake says.
“As a future Social Studies educator, this experience at the Schomburg Center has created in me a thirst for more exposure to subjects within humanities,” says Drake. “I have decided to pursue a Ph.D. in either history or Africana studies.”
The Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute was created by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to encourage minority students and others with an interest in African-American and African Diasporan Studies to pursue graduate degrees in the humanities.