Jordan is a sixth-year PhD student in the Department of English in the School of Arts and Sciences. His dissertation research examines the relationship between literary language and code through the concept of information. He was a Praxis Fellow in Digital Humanities at the Scholars’ Lab in 2016-2017 and is a Scholars’ Lab Graduate Fellow for 2019-2020.
Jordan is a PhD Plus intern at Gazelle International, a young nonprofit based in Guilford, CT, through Summer and Fall of 2019, and Spring of 2020 under the mentorship of Nancy L. Ruther, the Principal and Founder of Gazelle.
What is your post-PhD career aspiration?
I want to work as a developer or project manager either within or outside of a university. I'm especially interested in projects and nonprofits supporting continuing education and training.
How would you summarize your PhD Plus internship?
I decided about midway through my degree that I wasn’t interested in applying for tenure-track jobs. While teaching was a great experience, I found myself more fulfilled by the type of collaborative work I was doing with the Scholars’ Lab and the DH@UVA certificate program. Therefore, being able to replace teaching commitment with something in line with my future goals while I finished my degree was a huge opportunity. I also wanted some exposure to the non-profit and ed-tech worlds. I was very excited to work collaboratively in a team since so much PhD work in the humanities happens in isolation. I am working as a data analyst and technology consultant for Gazelle. I have been revamping their data analysis methods for student and teacher surveys gathered from participants in their virtual exchange program. Virtual exchange is a program where teachers from different countries collaborate in teaching a course, allowing students to work across cultures and get a better sense of what it means to participate in a global workforce. I got to learn some of the tools and skills for data storytelling, contribute to presentations, and potentially in the future, a publication for educators looking to get into virtual exchange.
What professional skills did you develop during your internship?
I took the lead on revamping Gazelle's strategy for program assessment and creating the infrastructure to keep that effort going after I'm done. I learned stuff about data visualization, qualitative research, and how to communicate trends and insights to different stakeholders. I polished skills in advanced Excel and learned Tableau for data visualization.
How has this internship assisted your career preparation?
It has given me experiential knowledge on data analytics and assessment project that I can talk about to future employers and exposed me to the administrative aspects of higher education. I’ve also been able to get a better sense of the conversations, initiatives, and tools surrounding EdTech in general.
What advice would you give peers on utilizing PhD Plus internships for career development?
Use internships to meet people and learn the language and concerns of a professional world outside of academia. Think about how you can tailor your experience to a story that you can tell about solving a problem or contributing to the success of an organization. Learning things outside of your usual domain can be a real challenge, but it can also be very energizing during the hyper-focused later years of your degree. Advocate for yourself and the skills you want to learn by articulating those to your internship supervisor.
ABOUT PHD PLUS INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
PhD Plus provides students with the opportunity to pursue an internship with a University office or an external partner. The intent of these internships is to engage and develop students’ professional competencies beyond those typically addressed within their academic training. Our goal is to provide students with substantive exposure to activities that will render them more distinct and versatile on the academic job market while also broadening their career options.