National Humanities Center Names Students for 2023–24 Leadership Council | National Humanities Center

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National Humanities Center Names Students for 2023–24 Leadership Council

November 27, 2023

Undergraduates Selected From Across the Country to Consider Humanities-Based Solutions to Contemporary Issues

The National Humanities Center (NHC) is pleased to welcome thirty-two undergraduates who have been selected for the Center’s National Humanities Leadership Council. Nominated by faculty from colleges and universities across the country, these students will receive professional development and mentoring from leading scholars and other humanities professionals as well as research support, opportunities for networking, and access to NHC programming and expertise.

Council members will participate in a series of interactive sessions with leaders from across the country exploring the importance of the humanities in addressing contemporary challenges.

By bringing together a diverse group of students with shared intellectual passions and similar professional goals, the council aims to facilitate creative and ambitious inter-institutional collaborations that help students prepare for a wide range of careers. Council members represent a range of institutions in thirteen states—Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

“The exceptional students selected for the council this year are pursuing an assortment of majors, from art history to biochemistry to Middle Eastern studies,” said NHC Director of Public Engagement Jacqueline Kellish, “but they all share a deep interest and passion for the humanities.”

“Over half of this year’s cohort are pursuing multiple majors,” Kellish notes, “looking to broaden or enrich what they are learning about neuroscience or urban studies with perspectives gained from studying philosophy, languages, cultures, and history. We are looking forward to working with these brilliant young people in the coming months and exploring with them the ways that their humanities knowledge and training can help them forge successful careers and make a difference in their communities and beyond.”

The 2023–24 council members are:

  • Nafiza Akbar, The University of Kansas
  • Aruna Balasubramanian, Yale University
  • Irma Flora Kiss Barath, University of Pennsylvania
  • Madison Bigelow, University of Connecticut
  • Kennedy Brooks, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Malia Detar Cheung, Wesleyan University
  • Madeline Chiang, University of Notre Dame
  • Weston Currow, University of Kansas
  • Julie Deacon, Virginia Tech University
  • Chisom Ezigbo, Duke University
  • Shirly Rodas Figueroa, Macalester College
  • Darya Foroohar, The University of Chicago
  • Madeline Graf, Macalester College
  • Peiyao Guo, Stony Brook University
  • Autumn Hall, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Jonathan Hazel, Arizona State University
  • Mia Hernandez, Fresno State University
  • Connor Kaufmann, University of Notre Dame
  • Aditi Kumar, Hamilton College
  • Karen Lau, University of Connecticut
  • Dylan Tinashe Manguwa, Hamilton College
  • AJ Minzer, Wesleyan University
  • Lindsey Moynihan, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Brandon Sewell Jr., University of Memphis
  • Ross Shapiro, University of Chicago
  • Samantha Simon, Bard College
  • Michael Terrenzi, Brandeis University
  • Emma Whitlock, Appalachian State University
  • Xiyun Wu, University of Notre Dame
  • Justice Yoo, University of Chicago
  • Simon Zhang, New York University
  • Miranda Zhong, Duke University

About the National Humanities Center

The National Humanities Center is the world’s only independent institute dedicated exclusively to advanced study in all areas of the humanities. Through its residential fellowship program, the Center provides scholars with the resources necessary to generate new knowledge and to further understanding of all forms of cultural expression, social interaction, and human thought. Through its education programs, the Center strengthens teaching on the collegiate and pre-collegiate levels. Through public engagement intimately linked to its scholarly and educational programs, the Center promotes understanding of the humanities and advocates for their foundational role in a democratic society.


Don Solomon
Director of Communications