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.


Spring 2021

As we all continue to strive to keep the University of Miami community safe, the Center for the Humanities is pleased to offer an alternative way to explore opportunities in the humanities.  We are therefore excited to announce the 2021 Inquiring Minds Challenge! 

This year, instead of holding in-person panels, presentations, and round-robin events, we’ve adapted the Inquiring Minds initiative to include a series of online challenges, most of which can be completed from the comfort and safety of home! 

Between March 15th and April 30th, all UM students are invited to complete the below challenges.  For each challenge, you will earn points.  Every point earned corresponds to one entry in our prize drawing.  For example, if you complete and submit materials for Challenge #1 and Challenge #5, that’s 8 points and 8 entries into the prize drawing!

Review the below challenges and complete the ones that work for you!  Then, submit your materials to the Center for the Humanities by Friday, April 30th to have your points tallied and converted to entries.  The drawing will be held on Monday, May 3rd and the winner will be notified by email and announced on social media.


Open All Tabs
  • Challenge 1: Interview a Humanities Faculty Member

    Between March 15th and April 30th, interview a professor (by email is acceptable) about their research interests and complete a brief write up (about 200-250 words).

    Consider asking them: 

    • Describe your research interests in a sentence or two
    • What got you interested in this area?
    • What do you hope your research will contribute to your field?
    • What do you think is the greatest misconception about research in the humanities?
    • What advice would you give to an undergrad interested in performing research in the humanities?
    • (anything else you'd like to know!)


    Remember, faculty members are in no way obligated to participate in an interview. We recommend allowing them 2 weeks to respond.  If the faculty member must decline, you still have plenty of other opportunities to earn points!

    Materials to save for submission: Write up of interview (200-250 words)

  • Challenge 2: Attend a Center for the Humanities Event

    Between March 15th and April 30th, attend an event sponsored by the Center. If you’re aware of a similar event in the humanities and would like your attendance to count towards this challenge, you may email Dr. Homer ( at least 24 hours before the event to request approval. Events attended before March 15th are not eligible.

    Acceptable events include the following:

    Materials to save for submission: Screenshot of the event including your name in the participant window

  • Challenge 2A: Submit a Question at a Center Event

    When attending one of the events from Challenge 2, submit a thoughtful question to the presenter.   

    Materials to save for submission: Screenshot of your question 

  • Challenge 3: Present Your Humanities Research

    The College of Arts & Sciences will be presenting a Research Celebration event, featuring a poster symposium, several panels, and a keynote speaker.  The Center is pleased to count your participation in the poster symposium towards this Inquiring Minds Virtual Challenge!  Students interested in presenting must submit their proposals by Sunday, April 18th.  More details are available on the Research Celebration page.

    Students may also opt to present their humanities research at the Research, Creativity, and Innovation Forum, scheduled for April 23rd, to earn 3 points.  Student presenters must pre-register by April 2nd.  

    *Please note that you can present at either event to earn 3 points, but cannot count particiaption in both events towards the Iquiring Minds Challenge. 

    Materials to save for submission: link to presentation or screenshot of presentation at the event


    Need help getting started with your poster?  

    Learn how a good poster design helps you present your research clearly and effectively.  Students from all majors are welcome! If you have a great paper that you'd love to share at a poster symposium or conference, such as the College of Arts & Sciences Research Celebration in April, this workshop is for you!


    The workshop was be led by James Sobczak and Ava Brillat on March 29th.  If you missed the live workshop, view the recording here!

    • James Sobczak is the STEM librarian at Richter Library. He has given several workshops on Adobe creative software programs as well as on poster design. With his background in information science and architecture, he can provide constructive feedback on your poster designs to enhance your visual communication skills.
    • Ava Brillat is the English, English Composition, Theatre Arts, and Classics Librarian at Richter Library. She has judged poster sessions at professional conferences, and has experience with translating essays into a visual format.  

  • Challenge 4: Attend the Humanities Student Researcher Panel

    The Center for the Humanities is pleased to partner with the College of Arts and Sciences in coordinating a panel of undergraduate students who have completed a research project in the humanities.  This panel will be a joint Inquiring Minds-CAS Research Celebration event.

    On Wedneday, April 28th at 5pm, student panelists will discuss their experiences in finding research opportunities, presenting their research, possible funding opportunities, and the value of humaniites research in relation to their professional goals.  Attendees are encouraged to come with their questions!

    Register here.

    Materials to save for submission: None required if you registered using the name on record with UM


    Meet the Panelists:

    Nhadya Lawes, a South Florida native, is a budding arts professional, currently in her third year at the University of Miami. A true interdisciplinary scholar and practitioner, her passions and studies intersect across Black Studies, Literary and Visual Cultures, and Placemaking Practices. Initially entering UM as an Undeclared major in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Humanities have truly become her academic home and guide. Majoring in English Literature with a minor in Sociology and cognate in Museum Studies, she has done work surrounding local Black arts and history, an Augmented Reality exhibition about womanhood and sculpture with the Lowe Art Museum, and research that builds connections across Black art and literature, among others.

    In her sophomore year, Nhadya completed a digital humanities project as an Adobe Library Research Scholar, "A Different Image, Another Sound: Resistant Rhetoric and Black Identity", exploring social media as a space for Black creativity and assertion of selfhood. She also recently completed an Academic Enhancement Research Fellowship looking at local Black history in Miami. She created a webpage as part of her project and took the rest of her research about popular historic and contemporary Black organizations in the Miami area and turned it into a working syllabus for a proposed university course.

    Nhadya's presentations have been featured at the Adobe Creative Campus Collaboration Conference, University of Miami Undergraduate Research, Creativity, and Innovation Forum (RCIF), and the Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium at John Hopkins University. This semester, she will be chairing a panel, including her Library Research Scholar work, at Nova Southeastern University’s Crossroads Humanities Student Conference in April. 

    Daria Pietropaolo is a senior/1L from Boston, Massachusetts with a double major in Political Science and an Independent Major in Restorative Justice. She began undertaking research during her first semester at the University of Miami and continues to use her developed skills in law school. Over the course of her undergraduate career, she has assisted and conducted research on topics including intra-state rebel group conflict, EU-China relations in the wake of COVID-19, the origins and application of Christian theology in relation to other Abrahamic traditions, Italian history through film, 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, “humanities research has provided me a forum to integrate various disciplines to more deeply analyze cross-cultural matters.” 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 worked with the College of Arts and Sciences to develop a curriculum focused on understanding legal dispute resolution methods in both the domestic and international spheres. 

    Additionally, Daria has been able to share her research in multiple forums including presentations and publications to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Miami, Nova Southeastern University’s Crossroads Humanities Student Conference, and the Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium at John Hopkins University.  

    Brice Sewell is a Senior at 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 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 at their annual conference. Brice is excited to continue his humanities research with his senior thesis in English in which he studies the evolution of “The Wanderer” trope through European Literature and Art.  Brice has remarked, “I believe my parallel studies in the Humanities and STEM fields will best prepare me to serve others as a physician.” 

  • Challenge 4A: Submit a Question at the Humanities Student Researcher Panel

    While attending the above event, earn extra points by submitting a thoughtful question to the panel.

    Materials to save for submission: None required if you submit your question through the Zoom Q&A function.

  • Challenge 5: Attend the Humanities Professional Panel

    The Center for the Humanities is pleased to co-present this panel with the CAS Research Celebration and the Toppel Career Center.  This panel features alumni and University affiliates who can speak to the value of humanities study in a variety of professional fields.  Join us on On Wedneday, April 28th at 6:30pm.  Attendees are encouraged to come with their questions!

    Register Here.  

    Materials to save for submission: None required if you registered using the name on record with UM


    Meet the Panelists: 

    Jennifer Pallicer graduated from UM in 2015 with majors in English Language and Literature before completing her MBA in 2017. Pallicer currently works as the Client Service Manager for the Miami office 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.

    Victoria Martinez graduated from UM in 2004, having completed a double major in Video/Film Communications and Theatre Arts.  In addiiton to serving as a Supervising Producer and National Social Media Manager with Spanish Broadcasting System, she owns her own digital marketing agency: InTheMix Media. 

    Gauri Agarwal, M.D., F.A.C.P. is the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Associate Professor of Medicine at the UM Miller School of Medicine. She serves as the course director for the Senior Capstone Course at the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education, the MD/MPH third year Transitioning to Residency Course, and the Medical Education Senior Elective. She completed her undergraduate and medical school training as part of the six year Honors Program in Medical Education at UM. She completed her residency training in internal medicine at Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh.

    Leslie Greenwood, JD, is the Assistant Director of Admissions for the University of Miami School of Law. Greenwood has previously served as Assistant Dean of Students at St. John's University School of Law and as Associate Director of Admissions.  She also has prior experience as an entertainment/IP law litigation associate at Loeb & Loeb LLP in New York. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, from which she graduated with distinction. Leslie is a member of the New York Bar.


  • Challenge 5A: Submit a Question at the Humanities Professional Panel

    While attending the above event, earn extra points by submitting a thoughtful question to the panel.

    Materials to save for submission: None required if you submit your question through the Zoom Q&A function.

  • Challenge 6: Attend the Nova Crossroads Conference

    Presented by the Center for the Humanities at Nova Southwestern University, The Crossroads Humanities Student Conference, provides a friendly venue to showcase student scholarship in the humanities and related disciplines.  This virtual conference will take place on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

    The Crossroads Humanities Student Conference strives to incorporate diverse perspectives and topics from a range of humanities fields including history, philosophy, literature, languages, cultural theory, and the arts. We also invite papers in legal studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, national security, family therapy, communication, conflict resolution studies, and international relations when approached with a humanities lens. 

    Details and guidelines, schedule, information on speakers, and how to register, can be found on their website.  Students who attend (they need not present) can earn 3 points. 

    Materials to save for submission: Screenshot of one of the sessions with your name in the participant window

  • Challenge 6A: Submit a Reaction to the Nova Crossroads Conference

    After attedning the Crossroads conference (see Challenge 6 above), you may earn additional points by writing up a brief reaction to the conference, or a specific session.  To get started, consider addressing the following topics:

    • Was there anything that surprised you about the conference?
    • What resonated with you the most?
    • How do you think participating in a conference contributes to professional development?
    • (other reactions?)
    Materials to save for submission: Brief reaction (250-400 words)

Submitting Your Materials

You must submit your materials by Friday, April 30th, in order to be eligible for the prize drawing. 

Complete this form to indicate which challenges you've completed and to upload the related materials.  Note that you must first log into your google account using your UM credentials, or you will get an error  message about not being in the necessary organization. 

If you have trouble with the above form or would prefer to submit your materials by email, you may submit a message to Dr. Homer at  In your message, include a bulleted list of each challenge that you completed and be sure to attach all required materials.  You must also include the following statement in order to be entered in the prize drawing: 

"By submitting this email, I understand that I will be entered in a drawing on Friday, April 30th for the grand prize.  Should I be selected as a winner, I give the Center for the Humanities my permission to include a social media post about my win and agree to pick up my prize from the Center for the Humanities, located in Richter Library."