Ryan Burns, a UW Geography graduate student and a Simpson Center Certificate in Public Scholarship fellow represented the UW at the Imagining America conference this past September. The Simpson Center’s write up of the conference can be found below.
Irene M. Sanchez and Ryan Burns, graduate student fellows in the Certificate in Public Scholarship, represented the University of Washington at the 13th annual Imagining America Artists and Scholars in Public Life conference this September in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. The UW is one of nearly 100 member institutions of Imagining America.
Founded in 1999, Imagining America (IA) has led efforts to transform higher education by advocating for public and community-engaged scholarship in art, humanities, and design. IA supports a vital network of emerging scholars known as PAGE—Publicly Active Graduate Education. Graduate students from around the country participated in online forums and exchanges leading up to the conference and convened periodic sessions throughout the conference to network their discussions with other participants.
Irene Sanchez, a doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, studies issues of higher education access and retention for students of color, with a focus on the community college system and Latina/o students. She received a PAGE fellowship to participate in the conference. “Being a part of the PAGE was an amazing experience,” she says. “I got to meet graduate students from all over the country who work for social justice on a daily basis, in order to create better futures for us all. Since this is a year-long fellowship, we will continue to collaborate and build together.”
Ryan Burns, a doctoral student in Geography, is interested in the public dimensions and democratic potentials of digital mapping applications and other geographic technologies. He is also the point person for the Public Scholarship Graduate Interest Group sponsored by the Simpson Center.
Both fellows emphasize IA’s importance as a national organization dedicated to transforming higher education to serve community needs and the public good. Ryan suggests that “One of IA’s strongest assets is that it connects you with large networks of people who do work similar to yours. The conference supports and encourages public scholars, but it also provides a space in which new and creative ideas and approaches emerge and spread.”