Symposium aims to inform students of versatility of humanities degree

March 20, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For undergraduate students considering a doctorate in the humanities field, this weekend will be a chance to learn more about the versatility of such a degree. The symposium, entitled “The Agile Humanities Ph.D.: Careers in Languages, Literatures, and Cultures,” will take place in Grucci Room, 102 Burrowes Building, on Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23.

The event is sponsored by Penn State’s School of Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies in the College of the Liberal Arts.

Two half-day sessions will focus on the growing range of academic, academic-adjacent and non-academic careers for which a doctorate in languages, literatures and cultures offers preparation. This event aims to encourage information-sharing, networking, and frank discussion of the versatility of the degree, with broader implications for other liberal arts fields. Current doctoral students and doctoral graduates from the College of the Liberal Arts will lead roundtable discussions, panels and breakout sessions. Participants from varied professions including government service, academic librarianship, academic administration, and program management will share experiences from the perspectives of both job applicants and employers.

The Friday afternoon session will feature a roundtable discussion with the guest panelists followed by breakout sessions led by the panelists, organized around specific career paths. The Saturday morning session will focus on the current academic job market and will feature doctoral students with recent experience.

The doctoral graduate panelists are listed below.

  • Christi Brookes, Professor of French and former interim Associate Dean, Central Michigan University (Ph.D., French and Francophone Studies, 2004)
  • Lauren Halberstadt, Student Engagement and Intercultural Learning Manager, Penn State (Ph.D., Spanish and Language Science, 2017)
  • Heather Hayton, Professor of English and Director of the Honors College, Guilford College (Ph.D., Comparative Literature, 2000)
  • Hélène Huet, European Studies Librarian, University of Florida (Ph.D., French and Francophone Studies, 2015)
  • Nicole McInteer, Associate Dean of International Admissions, Wake Forest University (Ph.D., Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, 2016)
  • Ashley Roccamo, Training, Education and Instructional Design Specialist, American University (Ph.D., Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, 2014)
  • Rebecca Zajdowicz, Intelligence Research Specialist, Drug Enforcement Administration (Ph.D., Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, 2010)

The current graduate student panelists are Molly Appel (comparative literature), Lauren Brooks (German), Johann Le Guelte(French and Francophone studies), Victoria Oana Lupascu (comparative literature and Asian studies) and Elizabeth Tuttle (French and Francophone studies).

The symposium if free and open to the public. Please contact Devon Johnson at to indicate which session(s) you plan to attend. For further information, please contact Willa Z. Silverman at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 01, 2019