Contact: C.B. Reis
So you studied lesbian vampires at Gallatin. What now? How do you rationalize the rationale, and capitalize on the colloquium?
You ask Emma Kaywin (BA '10), who parlayed the writing skills and interdisciplinary perspectives she learned at Gallatin into a successful career as a grant writer.
Kaywin, who really did study lesbian vampires as part of her concentration, "The Philosophy of the Abnormal," spoke on Oct. 16 at Gallatin's inaugural Alumni Skillshare event. The new series brings young alumni back to the School to offer knowledge and advice to current students.
Despite her studies, Kayin told the crowd, "I did not get a job as a vampirologist."
Kaywin has, however, written million-dollar grants. She regularly writes to the National Institute of Health, and has freelanced on topics ranging from child sex trafficking to eye care for craftswomen in rural Africa.
Though her work is not directly related to her concentration, which used critical theory, psychoanalysis and the horror genre to consider "the ways in which popular culture unmasks unconscious cultural and social fears," she told the audience that both rely on similar skill sets.
"Reading, writing, speaking; these things matter more than all the gory details of 'my radical/crazy/totally esoteric interdisciplinary Gallatin degree,'" Kaywin said.
A less than straight line can be just the thing that gives Gallatin graduates their edge, she continued. As difficult as any given concentration can be to translate to unfamiliar audiences, it is also what can make Gallatin students into apt "translators" or "interpreters" of diverse interests - especially as they move between or among different discourses and industries.
"At Gallatin, I learned how to speak different 'languages,'" Kaywin said. "I now know how to speak someone's language back to them. It’s a matter of figuring out what 'language' they speak and then putting it in the 'language' they understand."
More Alumni Skillshare presentations are in the works.
"Since we left Gallatin, we've picked up come handy skills, and we want to share them with you," she told the group. "These skills draw from our work at Gallatin, but not always in a straight line."