On Friday September 29, Dean Michele Dillon of the UNH College of Liberal Arts (COLA), held a reception to honor this summer’s cohort of NH Humanities Collaborative (NHHC) student scholars and faculty mentors. This included 14 students and six faculty members from the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH). Supported through generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NHHC is a collaboration between CCSNH and UNH’s College of Liberal Arts that enables students to pursue rich academic research experiences.

Dr. Leslie Barber, Faculty Fellow and CCSNH Principal Investigator for NHHC recently spoke about the significance of the Humanities Collaborative for CCSNH students.  “In his recent Tedx-Portsmouth talk, UNH President James Dean described the humanities as representing ‘the distillation of thousands of years of human experience, learning, and wisdom.’  This is such a powerful statement. In these complex times, what stronger case could be made for the importance of supporting our students in the development of the skills and understanding they need to start adding to this rich legacy? This is the experience we seek to provide to the talented students participating in the NH Humanities Collaborative’s programs.”

CCSNH participants in the NHHC 2023 student summer research program were as follows:

  • Melissa Shortt of Barrington is an English major at Great Bay Community College (GBCC). She was awarded a fellowship to continue work on her HUGEmanities award-winning website “Othering Gender,” an exploration of gender inequality in literature.
  • Four current or former CCSNH students worked with UNH faculty mentors as part of the student fellowship program of UNH COLA’s Racial and Social Inequality Lab (GRSIL).
    • Charlotte King, of Rochester, a recent summa cum laude Liberal Arts graduate from GBCC and current student at Keene State College, worked with Dr. Paul Robertson from the UNH Department of Classics, Humanities & Italian Studies, on a project entitled: How Ancient Greco-Roman Philosophy Illuminates Modern Considerations of Fluidity in Gender and Sexuality.
    • Ainsley Rennie, of Concord, a Liberal Arts major at NHTI intending to transfer to UNH upon completion of her degree, worked with UNH Professor Amy Michael  on a project entitled: Identification of Historical Burials and Development of a Mock Burial Training Program through UNH’s Forensic Anthropology Identification and Recovery (FAIR) Lab.
    • Rebecca Nann, of Keene, graduated from NHTI in May 2023 with a high honors degree in General Studies, and has recently transferred to Keene State College to continue her studies. She worked on a project entitled: The Many Faces of New Hampshire’s Housing Crisis: Using Arts Strategies to Gain Narrative Power. Dr. Krista Jackman, of the UNH English department, was faculty mentor for the project.
  • Teams from five CCSNH campuses were involved in Humanities in the Community efforts. Humanities in the Community is a long-term NHHC-funded project led by Dr. Stephanie Roper, professor and chair of history and political science at Nashua Community College (NCC). In brief, students are asked to identify area landmarks, monuments, or commemorated events that are of interest to them, then focus on developing multiple perspectives in interpretation of the objects or events they choose. Student work is added to an evolving statewide story map with the intent, over time, of producing a richer and more diverse material history of the state. This past summer, the CCSNH teams included:
    • At GBCC: Lexie Mcnew and Kristina Dube, both of Dover, returned for a second summer working with GBCC history professor Dr. Jordan Fansler.
    • At MCC: Kira Connelly, of Manchester, and Josiah Lopez of, Derry, who worked with Kim Kulesza, faculty coordinator for MCC’s Behavioral and Social Science program.
    • LRCC student Kaden Bailey, of Littleton, spent his second summer working with LRCC Liberal Arts faculty member Christine McClure.
    • At WMCC: Returning student Alexa Newton, of Littleton, and new recruit Kristi Harper, of Danbury, were mentored by WMCC Environmental Sciences faculty member Matt Keating
    • At NCC: Project Director Stephanie Roper is worked with student coordinator Haylee-Lynn Parr, of Andover, and new student Rochelle Hebert of Mason.

The NH Humanities Collaborative has been funding humanities-based program opportunities for students since 2018, through generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

About the Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.

New Hampshire’s seven community colleges, located across the state to serve every NH community and region, enroll more than 20,000 students annually including 8,000 high school students who take courses for dual high school and college credit at a reduced cost. Thanks to state support, CCSNH is also able to broaden the number of courses that high schoolers can take at no cost, getting a head start on college requirements and saving from the eventual costs of a college degree. CCSNH also offers short-term, customized career training that prepares individuals for in-demand jobs and helps New Hampshire employees meet their hiring needs.  CCSNH works to align its programming with the needs of the state, helping thousands of students enter careers or begin their education before transferring to a four-year college or university. CCSNH has long been the largest transfer partner of the state’s university system and has relationships with numerous other transfer destinations for students.

GBCC students Lexie McNew and Charlotte King, with UNH Professor and NHHC Program Manager Paul Robertson, at the UNH COLA Dean’s reception for summer research students. Photo credit: Leslie Barber

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