Inquiring Minds


The Center for the Humanities is committed to promoting and celebrating scholarly pursuits in the humanities and in interdisciplinary fields.  In an effort to feature the stellar work of humanities faculty and students and to assist undergraduates in identifying how humanities coursework relates to their professional goals, the Center is proud to present Inquiring Minds: Opportunities in the Humanities.



To support efforts to keep the UM and South Florida community healthy, this event has been postponed to the 2020-21 academic year.  Please check back for additional details. 


Based on feedback from last year's attendees, the Center is excited to partner with the Toppel Career Center to offer a slightly revised format in 2020:

This year, attendees will

  • hear from a panel of humanities student researchers
  • talk with faculty about research interests
  • learn from alumni and employers about careers in the humanities
  • pose questions to law school and medical admissions representatives and
  • network with students and professionals during the reception
Attendees are also eligible to win great prizes! For every session students attend, they will receive a raffle ticket.  For example, if a student participates at five stations during the round robin segment, they will earn five raffle tickets!  Winners will be announced during the reception, including the winner of one grand prize: a pair of APPLE AIRPODS.  Attendees must be present to win.


Review the Schedule below and REGISTER by Monday, March 16th.


Open All Tabs
  • Schedule

    3:30pm: Check-in
    3:45pm: Welcome Remarks and Instructions
    4:00pm: Student Researcher Panel
    Hear from four undergraduates who have completed large-scale research projects in the humanities
    5:00pm: Round Robin with Faculty and Campus Resources 
    Rotate from table to table to learn about research being conducted right here at UM.  Hear from campus resources about making your professional goals a reality including finding funding for conferences, internships, and more!
    6:00pm: Professional Panel
    Hear from UM alumni about how their humanities majors translated to great professional success and from UM Law School and Miller School of Medicine admissions representatives on how humanistic study relates to graduate study in law and medicine.
    7:00pm: Reception
    Join us for a buffet style dinner and continue the conversation with faculty, staff, and students!  Attendees will include the student panelists and student ambassedors who are eager to answer your questions about the research experience.  Prize winners will be announced!

  • Meet the Student Researcher Panelists

    Daniela Baboun

    Daniela Baboun us a senior majoring in Classics and English at the University of Miami.  A Miami native, Daniela describes her research journey as having begun in the summer before her sophomore year when she worked in a marine biology lab. The purpose of the study was to determine how different types of symbiodinium affect corals' physiology and immunology. In order to fulfill this purpose, Daniela had to spend many hours in a lab alone.  As a very social person and someone who enjoys interacting with others, Daniela often found herself reduced to tears, dreading the prospect of working for 6-8 hours without being around others. She found herself completing tedious tasks that she couldn’t wait to check off of her to-do list, and she did not feel fulfilled.  Despite the fact that she considers herself insatiably curious, she simply was not motivated to learn in this environment.  Although Daniela knew that not all lab work required such isolation, she felt compelled to resign from the lab at the end of the summer because she was convinced that research wasn’t for her.

    However, everything would change the next year.  During her second semester as a sophomore, Daniela enrolled in a “Greek and Roman Mythology” course with Dr. Tran.  She became fascinated by Greek mythology and wanted to pursue more in-depth study. Seeking a different way to get involved in research, Daniela began by inquiring if a TA position would be possible.  As an alternative, Dr. Tran suggested Daniela assist her with her own research since this would give her better insight into scholarly work in the field, and Daniela accepted gratefully.  Daniela describes the decision to assist Dr. Tran as a turning point for her and remarks that “research in the humanities has helped me develop critical thinking skills, understand the viewpoints of others, and cultivate empathy.” The following semester, Daniela began taking Classics research courses with Dr. Tran. She has since taken English research courses with Dr. Clasby and is writing her senior thesis on medicine in Shakespeare. As an aspiring physician, Daniela values this research experience tremendously and believes that by expanding her horizons, she has gained greater cultural awareness, a critical component for the development of a good physician.  She enthusiastically encourages other students to consider expanding their own horizons.


    Daria Pietropaolo

    Daria Pietropaolo is a junior from Boston, Massachusetts pursuing a double major in Political Science and an Independent Major in Restorative Justice with minors in the Classics and Religious Studies.  She began undertaking research assignments during her first semester at the University of Miami and intends to continue to use her developed skills when attending law school. Over the course of her undergraduate career, she has assisted and conducted research on topics including intra-state rebel group conflict, the origins and application of Christian theology in relation to other Abrahamic traditions, domestic violence, criminal justice, juvenile justice, and restorative justice.  In addition to serving as a research assistant at the University of Miami, Daria has worked for the Middlesex County Juvenile Court Clinic in Boston, interned for a judge on the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, and co-founded a not-for-profit organization which provides scholarships, school supplies, and sports equipment to secondary school students in Cameroon.

    According to Daria, "I value research in the humanities because it has provided me a forum to integrate various disciplines for a deeper analysis of cross-cultural issues." She credits the faculty at UM’s College of Arts and Sciences for being so supportive in providing opportunities for underclassmen to take on first-hand research at an early stage of their academic careers.  An opportunity for research has been particularly critical to developing her Independent Major in Restorative Justice, where she has been pioneering a curriculum to better understand resolution methods of legal disputes and other human rights violations. Additionally, Daria has been able to share her research in multiple forums including presentations to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern University’s Crossroads Humanities Student Conference.  This semester, she is looking forward to presenting at multiple conferences including the Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium at John Hopkins University.


    Brice Sewell

    Brice Sewell is a Junior of the University of Miami majoring in English Literature and Biochemistry with minors in Chemistry and Biology.  A native of both Spain and the US, Brice blends his passions for literature and art with his interests in biological systems. Currently serving as the Vice President of Sigma Tau Delta’s Phi Mu Chapter, the English Honor Society on campus, Brice hopes to foster a cross-disciplinary approach to literary study that includes appreciation of art, culture, and science in relation to the text.


    Having recently finished research in Biochemistry on the transport of amyloid beta across the blood brain barrier and associated meta-proteomic analysis, Brice is now shifting focus to his studies in the evolution of literary tropes across cultural paradigms.  His critical analysis of the memento mori tradition in German poetry and Flemish artwork of the 17th century recently received recognition by Sigma Tau Delta International such that he will be presenting his work at the annual convention. Brice is excited to continue his humanities research with his senior thesis in English where he plans to study the evolution of “The Wanderer” trope in continental Europe over the past three centuries.  Brice remarks, “I believe my parallel studies in the Humanities and STEM fields will best prepare me to serve others as a physician.


    Chinoia Weir

    Chinoia Weir is a senior at the University of Miami, pursuing a double major in Political Science and English Literature with minors in Philosophy and Religious Studies. She is native of Portland, Jamaica, who shares a passion for mental health awareness, volunteering and creative writing.  In 2019, Chinoia received the Nancy T. Clasby Endowed Scholarship, which is the highest award for English Majors. Chinoia serves as the President of the Phi Mu chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society and Vice President of UMiami UNICEF.  She is also a Peer Educator of the Counseling Outreach Peer Education program (COPE), serves as the Student Government Campus Liaison for the Information Technology Department, and also is a member of the Black Awareness Month Committee and One Book, One U Selection Committee.  In addition to her leadership positions, Chinoia works as a Student Supervisor for the Otto G. Richter Library.

    Chinoia has had the opportunity to present academic papers for the Sigma Tau Delta 2019 International Convention and the Sigma Tau Delta 2020 International Convention. As an advocate of mental health awareness, Chinoia is currently working on completing her senior thesis on the ‘Psychoanalytical Perspectives of Female Literary Suicides of the 19th Century.’  Under the supervision of Dr. Frank Stringfellow, she has been able to analyze the preexisting sociological concepts of how society has been able to explain female suicides and how this connects to the portrayals of female suicides in literature.  Through the psychoanalytic theories of thinkers such as Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein, Chinoia’s thesis deals with exploring how well novels such as Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and The Awakening reflect empirical data of real female suicides.  According to Chinoia, "research in the humanities has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences of my college career because it helped me develop new life skills, grow professionally, and has allowed me to be further educated in multiple areas.”

  • Round Robin Participants


    Toni Cela, PhD (Department of Anthropology) focuses her research on family and adolescent study of juvenile justice involved youth.

    Valerie Gramling, PhD (Writing Program) is a scholar of performance studies with research interests in medieval drama in contemporary performance and Monster Theory.

    Karl Gunther, PhD (Department of History) researches religious change and conflict in England, specifically between 1400 and 1660.

    Danielle K. Houck, MFA (Writing Program) focuses on social media and activism, specifically the relationship between social media and college student health.

    Richard Hutchins, PhD (Department of Classics) is a visiting scholar and studies the natural world in ancient Greece and Rome.

    Ian Merkel, PhD (Department of History) focuses his research on the connected histories of Latin America and Western Europe.

    Erica Moiah James, PhD (Department of Art History): As an art Historian, Curator and Assistant Professor, Dr. James's research focuses on modern and contemporary art of the Caribbean, African and African-American Diasporas.

    Guido Ruggiero, PhD (Department of History) studies the history of emotions, gender, and sexuality, with a specific focus on the Italian Renaissance.

    Jordan Rogers, PhD Candidate (Department of Modern Languages and Literatures) is studying black queer transnational networks and cultural production.


    Campus Resources

    April Dobbins, representing the Office of Prestigious Awards and Fellowships

    Jennifer Ferriss-Hill, PhD, representing the Beyond the Book Award Program 

    Jane Indorf, PhD, and Drew Christensen, representing the Office of Undergraduate Research

    John Twichell, PhD, representing ASPIRE


  • Professional Panelists

    Edward Dauer, MD is a University of Miami trustee and the first UM undergraduate to study biomedical engineering.  Dauer has had a distinguished career in diagnostic radiology, serving as president of Florida Medical Services and a founding board member of one of the largest group practices in Florida. He was on the Florida State Board of Medicine for 11 years, serving two terms as chairman.  Dauer has taught at the Miller School of Medicine and in the College of Engineering and is able to speak on the relationship between the humanities and a medical career.

    Rich Hreschak graduated from Binghamton University in 1993 where he majored in English and German Literature. Hreschak presently works as a Corporate Recruiter for Office Depot and has previously worked as the Talent Acquisition Manager for MotionPoint Corporation.

    Victoria Martinez graduated from UM in 2004 with a degree in Theatre Arts.  She is now the Digital Media Supervising Producer at LaMusica.

    Jennifer Pallicer graduated from UM in 2015, having majored in English Language and Literature. Pallicer currently works as a Private Client Associate at Alliance Bernstein (Investment Management Firm).

    Miguel Ramirez graduated from UM in 2017, having majored in Anthropology. Ramirez currently works as Special Projects Administrator with Miami-Dade County.



    The panel will also include a UM School of Law Admissions Representative who will be able to comment on how humanities study prepares students for a legal career.