Getting to know “Mr. SSRC”

“Mr. SSRC” has been commissioned to support promising young researchers in the humanities and social sciences. “Mr. SSRC” has taken this task from his grandfather “Andrew M.,” a well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist from NYC. As grandpa Andrew, “Mr. SSRC” believes in the humanities power to transform, promote and preserve the well-being of diverse and democratic societies. He sees the humanities and social sciences as vibrating fields that can deepen our understanding of human agency, history, dignity, and society. Although he comes across as a cold-hearted guy, you can see that deep down he’s a romantic!

However, as any good business man “Mr. SSRC” has to make sure that grandpa’s money goes into the right hands. Although he’s a passionate poetry reader, a comic nerd, and secretly wishes he had studied art history instead of administering his grandfather funds, he’s well aware that the’s not an expert.  For that reason, “Mr. SSRC” has surrounded himself with a group of experts across different fields that would help him identify and select early stage graduate student who most likely will develop ground-breaking research but need financial support and peer review and faculty mentoring to get there.

Of course “Mr. SSRC” is always on the search for innovative ideas! But what really draws the line between those who will be taken under his wing and those who won’t is their willingness and determination to  develop high quality of research following a strict timeline and high standards of efficiency. In a nutshell, “Mr. SSRC” needs to be sure that grantees will use the fellowship to develop outstanding doctoral dissertation proposals and contribute to current understandings of their topic in their own discipline and across fields. He wants to see results!

“Mr. SSRC” has trained his team of reviewers to act skeptical. Is not that they are closed-off to new ideas, but they have to be persuaded by potential grantees. Mr. SSRC has been deceived in the past, and he has hard time trusting people.  Potential fellows have to show their commitment to turning his ideas into a successful  dissertation proposal.

“Mr. SSRC” wants to know about students’ previous research work, papers, and presentations.  He wants to make sure that they are ready and willing to be exposed to new theories, literatures, methods, and intellectual traditions of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences outside their own fields. “Mr. SSRC” is also interested to hear about potential grantees’ personal experiences. and how they have influenced their perspectives and research projects.

About Maria I. Espinoza

Hi! I'm a PhD student in Sociology. I'm interested in environmental health and historical sociology.
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