VH@Duke Internships: Made for Duke Ph.D. Students

By Maria LaMonaca Wisdom
Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement in the Humanities


Anyone who has applied for a professional position knows that it’s an exercise in “measuring up.” Do my skills match what the organization is looking for? Can I prove that I’ve got what it takes? Will my application be noticed in the pile of other, competing ones?

Internship launch

Andy Mink, vice president for education programs at the National Humanities Center, speaks with Duke Ph.D. students at the January 18 VH@Duke internship launch event. The NHC is one of six partner organization for the internship program.

The VH@Duke internship program turns that process on its head. On January 19, Duke graduate students from approximately ten academic departments gathered to meet representatives from five local Triangle organizations. These VH@Duke partner organizations didn’t need to be convinced of the many skills that humanities and interpretive social science Ph.D. students offer. They have already created internship opportunities specifically for Duke Ph.D. students in humanistic disciplines. They were excited to have an opportunity to talk to interested students about their internship openings.

Perhaps even more remarkably, the representatives from each organization did not spend their time talking about skills they were looking for. Instead, they described a wide range of new experiences and skills that Duke humanities Ph.D. students—who already bring so much to the table—can gain through a VH@Duke internship. They include:

  • Working in diverse teams
  • Seeing an immediate, concrete impact of your work on local communities
  • Learning the behind-the-scenes workings of nonprofit organizations
  • Envisioning global, practical applications of academic research
  • Using new technology
  • Doing advocacy work for the humanities
  • Communicating through documentary work and social media platforms

If that list has you intrigued, check out the VH@Duke internship program description and call for applications. You can apply for any of eight internship positions with VH@Duke partner organizations. You can also apply for support for an internship you create and propose yourself.

The deadline for applications is Friday, February 17.

Have questions on how to go about this? Please contact me (Maria.Wisdom@duke.edu) for advice or suggestions. I offer one parting tip here, inspired by yesterday’s event: When you approach organizations you may want to intern for, go into the conversation assured of the rich array of abilities and talents you already have, and bear in mind what new skills you want to acquire from the experience.