Each month, The Center for Public Humanities will interview a humanities scholar or community member and ask them everything from why they believe the humanities are important to what they're currently binge-watching. We hope that our new blog series, Coffee & Questions, will inspire you, introduce you to a variety of people and fields, as well as create new conversations.
Our fourth guest is Jake Miller, alumnus from Slippery Rock University's master's program in history in 2013. He currently works as the Interpretive Programs Manager at Fort Delaware State Park/Fort DuPont State Park/Port Penn Interpretive Center with Delaware State Parks.
What inspires you in your current position/role?
I am inspired by the idea of children becoming engaged with history and beginning what may become, for some, a lifelong passion for the art. I see historical literacy as hugely important to understanding many of today's big social and political issues, and I am happy to be able to work toward improving people's knowledge.
What work experiences (past or present) have been the most educational for you, and why?
I had the opportunity to receive Certified Interpretive Guide training through work. This is valuable to me as a professional interpreter, but also has wide-ranging applications for any job I may get because it involves how to communicate a message and get others connected with that message.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
One of the long-term projects that we are working on is putting together a program for high school students that will integrate physics and math skills with historical education. We will bring students to our 1900s era coast artillery site and get them to work on a large math/physics problem involving firing on a theoretical ship with one of the guns that was here. Integrated into this problem will be a lot of information on what life for an artillerist at the fort was like during that time period. I'm excited about the project because it integrates multiple disciplines, and so will be very valuable and popular, I think, with the educational community.
Why do you believe that the humanities are important to everyone, and not just people in academia?
Hard to go into this in two sentences, but the humanities bring a deeper appreciation and richness to all parts of life. Humanities force you wrestle with difficult ideas and questions, and gives you the ability to understand those who are different from you. Necessary tools for life, and ones that you cannot acquire except through studying the humanities!
What is something that people might be surprised to learn about you (hobby, skill, interesting story)?
I actually grew up overseas, in Portugal and Mozambique.
Thank you, Jake, for sharing how your work directly influences a wide variety of people.
Check back next month for more Coffee & Questions. In case you missed Karen Pierce's interview, click here.
Want to be interviewed? Contact us.
Our vision is to create a community of learners enriched, engaged and enlightened through the humanities.