Why I am Here

Blog Home    |     04.27.2017 by     |    

Alana Stein

From our readings and discussions, it seems as if many people are scholars first and public scholars second. I mean this in terms of career trajectory, not in terms of importance. Many people became scholars and then later become publicly engaged with their scholarship. I have been fortunate enough to have a series of mentors that have instilled in me a value of public scholarship before I became a scholar myself.

My first glimpses at public scholarship came from my mother. As the daughter of a publicly engaged sociologist, I grew up learning about academia through her eyes. I learned what scholarship was through watching her, and because I saw her engaged in public scholarship I believed that public engagement was an innate part of scholarship.

When I entered the university myself I began to understand that the public engagement I had witnessed was not something that all scholars practiced. As a freshman in college, I struggled to understand how scholarship could differ so much from what I had witnessed at home. I felt dissatisfied with my major. I found a course in service learning in the social sciences, and I began to feel better about the role of the university and scholarship. From then on, I sought out other classes that would integrate service learning and later, public scholarship into my academic experience.

My path to public scholarship followed a different path from many. However, I think my perspective has allowed me to view public scholarship in a different way. My path has allowed me to view public scholarship as a crucial part of academia rather than a nice addition if time allows. Public scholarship is necessary to create a diverse base of knowledge, and it is also essential in spreading that knowledge.