Christina Boltsi is a 5th year ABD in the Department of Classics at the University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Christina’s dissertation examines how Catullus, a Latin poet of the 1st c. BC, engages with earlier Greek poetry to portray his relationship with his beloved. She argues that the intersection of influence from various literary genres allows Catullus to use his relationship as a metaphor for literary polemics.
Christina completed skills series of PhD Plus Foundations, Career Design, Communicating Research and Teaching (Tomorrow’s Professor Today) core modules.
Christina was PhD Plus intern at the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence in fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, to support pedagogical development programs for graduate students under mentorship of Adriana Streifer, PhD.
Q. What are your post-PhD career aspirations?
A. I want to work in Education or Training. Potential career paths include K-12 education, instructional and learning design, and administration positions in the European Union.
Q. Please summarize your PhD Plus internship.
A. Early in my PhD training, I knew that I did not want to pursue a traditional tenure-track faculty career. Education has always been my passion. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree with a Minor in Education and I have taught for many years in Greece before coming to the United States for my PhD. During my training, I was searching for professional development activities that will help me develop the skills necessary for careers in Education and Training, which is why I applied for a PhD+ internship with the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE).
During my internship, I conducted a combination of collaborative and independent work. I contributed to the development of two surveys that were sent out to faculty and graduate students at the University, respectively. The goal of the surveys was to assess the teaching preparation needs of graduate students and how the CTE can better address them. I also analyzed the quantitative and qualitative data from the survey responses. I developed my own workshop titled "Navigating Anti-Racist Pedagogy as a GTA (Graduate Teaching Assistant)", which I facilitated in the fall semester and I am now turning into an e-module using the Articulate Suite. I am further developing a series of core workshops for the Tomorrow’s Professor Today (TPT) program on topics like Learning and Motivation Theories. I also participated in some of the curriculum re-design initiatives run by CTE faculty and staff. Finally, I received teaching consultant training and I have conducted teaching consultations with UVA instructors.
Adriana is an amazing mentor! She provided me with all the support that I needed. She ensured that I get the maximum experiential learning from this internship by engaging me in projects that maybe of interest to me and helpful in advancing my career. The CTE team was very welcoming. I got to collaborate with many of them, and I have learnt so much more than I had imagined when I applied for this PhD+ internship.
Q. What professional skills did you develop during your internship?
A. I developed many professional skills through this internship. I learnt how to develop surveys and how to analyze, clean, and visualize survey data using Excel. I further learnt how to develop workshops and training material, how to work with Articulate 360, and I enhanced my communication skills by facilitating workshops and conducting consultations.
Q. How did the internship support your career development?
A. This internship has strengthened my interest in working in Education and Training and has made me more competent, comfortable and confident to pursue a career in these fields. The internship has given me the opportunity to try out different things and make sure that I would enjoy doing these as a career.
Q. What advice would you give peers on utilizing PhD Plus internships for career development?
A. Graduate School can be hectic and oftentimes students feel that they do not have time to engage in professional development activities. However, I would highly recommend a PhD+ internship especially to students who are considering diverse careers. I would advise future PhD+ interns to make the most out of their internship and take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. Communicate closely with your internship mentor and let them know what your career plans are. This will allow the two of you to tailor the internship to your own needs. Also, think of the internship as a trial run for a career you are potentially interested in. Approach it with curiosity: you will be surprised about how many things you will learn about yourself, your interests, and values in the process.