The “cash rules everything around me” doctrine rings especially true at the university level. Whether tracking down the elusive paid internship, securing funding for a research project, or hunting down spare change for late night chicken nuggets from UniMini, the cash-fueled trials of college life are aplenty. Fortunately, Hopkins is chock-full of potential funding opportunities, making it possible for students to (feasibly) tackle their wildest dreams.
Probably the most well-known source of funding is the Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Freshmen and sophomores can apply to this program and, if successful, receive $10,000 (not joking) to spend on research over their four years at Hopkins. Our very own SAAB alumni JHU_Tess was a Wilson Fellow and completed her study of the London Olympics just last year—read more about her project here.
The Dean’s and Provost’s Undergraduate Research Awards (DURA and PURA, respectively) are even more popular means of bringing in the cash flow (in the name of research). All undergraduates are eligible to apply and projects have ranged from the organization of an exhibition on the aesthetics of touch to a documentary about street art in Baltimore, along with more science-y projects that I won’t attempt to explain.
For me, I’ve been fortunate to receive three grants during my time at Hopkins, each of which has given me the opportunity to do things that would have otherwise been impossible.
For the summer after my sophomore year, I applied for the Robert and Nancy Hall Grant for Museum Internships. Administered by the Program in Museums & Society, the grant is just one of the many funded internship opportunities offered by the program; students can likewise apply for paid internships at the Walters Art Museum, the Evergreen Museum and Library, the JHU Homewood Museum, and more. Upon learning that I had received the Hall Grant, I was able to put funds toward any museum-related internship of my liking. I ended up spending the summer in Washington D.C. at the Phillips Collection where I spent twelve weeks organizing an exhibition and researching programs for the Center for the Study of Modern Art. Also, a lot of Shake Shack was involved.
This last summer, I knew that I once again wanted to pursue a curatorial internship, but was in needs of funding to make such a plan viable. Following a brief search, I applied for the Second Decade Society Internship Grant run through the Second Decade Society (SDS), a group of Hopkins alumni, and the Career Center. After submitting a lengthy proposal about my summer goals and interviewing with SDS, I was awarded funds to put toward any unpaid and/or non-profit-related internship—as you may have guessed, museums fit into both of these boats. I spent my summer months at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis where I received not only incredible mentorship, but the opportunity to work on exhibitions for artists including Joe Goode, Laurie Simmons, and Hurvin Anderson. In the past, other SDS interns have worked everywhere from the World Health Organization in Geneva to the American Broadcasting Company in New York to FIFA in South Africa.
The final grant that I received and that I’m particularly excited about is a Mellon Arts Innovation Grant. Open to undergraduates and faculty members, the AIG intends to fund projects and initiatives that support artistic collaborations either between JHU departments or between Hopkins and the Baltimore community. I applied last spring and, along with several undergraduates and faculty members, was awarded the grant! The funds will allow me to curate an exhibition as a complement to my thesis research that will open at a local gallery. I’m still in the initial phases of organizing the show, but I have an idea of what’s to come thanks to my last curatorial endeavor in Baltimore. I can’t wait to determine what shape the exhibition will take and I’m looking forward to seeing what the other recipients do with their funding.
As (I hope) my blog demonstrates, there a number of grants available to Hopkins students that can lead to some pretty awesome experiences. My internships and subsequent curatorial endeavor are defining aspects of my time at Hopkins and have allowed me to find relatively more practical uses for a very theory-based field of study. Plus, at the country’s first research university, one should come to expect nothing less than support to make your research (or internships or projects) a reality.