The Connected PhD

The Connected PhD

The Connected PhD program, which is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, seeks to enrich professional development opportunities for doctoral students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences at Brandeis. Now entering its fourth and final year, this four-year program funds professional development experiences for students and curricular innovation grants for faculty, all with the goal of re-imagining graduate education. Please note that funding will no longer be available after August 31, 2023.

The Connected PhD program serves doctoral programs in Anthropology, English, History, Musicology, Music Composition and Theory, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS), Politics, and Sociology. This program offers two types of opportunities to students:

Learn more about how to apply

For more information regarding projects and internships completed by our department’s past and current grant recipients, see below.


Past and Current Grant Recipients

Collaborative Community Projects

Luke Blackburn (Music Composition & Theory, 2020)

Luke Blackburn worked with Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, a Boston-area contemporary classical music organization. He aided the Dinosaur Annex in planning its 2020-21 season of performances and gained experience in concert logistics and grant-writing. Luke assisted the organization’s directors in concert production, from media promotion of their concerts to stage management for the 20/21 academic year.

Skill-Building and Credentialing Projects

Marie Comuzzo (Musicology, 2022)

Marie Comuzzo received funding to enroll in marketing and digital media courses with Session College. Inspired by their work with the Brandeis University Press, Marie developed skills in marketing, multimedia, coding, and video editing which enabled them to learn effective marketing strategies and create engaging social media content for publicity purposes.

Giuseppe Desiato (Music Composition & Theory, 2022)

Giuseppe Desiato used this grant to learn a variety of coding languages required for entering a career in the sound industry. Through the online platform Coding Nomads, Giuseppe developed coding skills in Python programming, Django web development, and learned Javascript fundamentals.

Ying-Ting Lin (Music Composition & Theory, 2022)

Ying-Ting was awarded this grant to pursue her studies with ICreateCourse. Ying-Ting gained experience in video editing, digital marketing, and website creation. Implementing these new skills, she plans to create “The Complete Piano & Music Theory Beginners Course,” which will be designed for music lovers, beginners, and individuals brand new to music.

Mariel Mayz (Music Composition & Theory, 2022)

This grant allowed Mariel Mayz to work directly with ZOHO music, a New York based music label, to develop skills in audio editing, advanced splicing techniques, mixing, and mastering (the final stage of audio production). Mariel also learned about the inner workings of record labels –their distribution, marketing practices, and publicity strategies.

Jeremy Rapaport-Stein (Music Composition & Theory, 2020)

This grant enabled Jeremy Rapaport-Stein to create a podcast exploring outsider artists. Jeremy underwent training in audio production, editing, and interviewing, as well as in marketing and distribution. His project culminated in a multi-episode podcast centered on artists, musicians, and makers whose training and work fell outside the mainstream and was supplemented by a companion website.  

Niko Yamamoto (Music Composition & Theory, 2021)

Niko Yamamoto received funding to participate in a self-paced User Experience (UX) Design course, a practice-oriented learning opportunity to learn digital engagement methodologies and build a digital UX portfolio. Niko's project prototyped platforms for individual and community oriented artistic practices.

Niko Yamamoto (Music Composition & Theory, 2022)

Niko Yamamoto used this grant to continue developing the business management skills necessary for artists, artist management, and the recording industry. Niko designed, created, and marketed a robust portfolio of their work to gain hands-on experience in music production.

Higher Education Administrative Internships

Alexandra Burkot (Musicology, 2021-2022)

Alexandra Burkot received an internship to work with the Undergraduate and Research Creative Collaborations Office. The goal of this internship was to work with multiple stakeholders and the URCC to plan and execute the Undergraduate Research and Creative Collaborations Symposium, analyze data on undergraduate student research participation, and help launch a peer mentoring program at the university. 

Marie Comuzzo (Musicology, 2021-2022)

Marie Comuzzo received an internship to work with the Brandeis University Press. This position’s responsibilities included learning the nuances of academic publication, evaluating proposals and manuscripts, managing peer review processes, copyediting, producing public- facing content (social media), learning marketing and sales strategies, and gaining skills in acquisitions, production, and design.

James Praznik (Music Composition & Theory, 2020)

James Praznik was awarded an internship to work with the Music department on preparing for the challenges of online or hybrid modes of teaching for the 2021 Fall semester. The goals of the internship were to support the music department in the unique challenges related to a music curriculum by researching how peer institutions delivered their music curriculums, advising the department about software, and providing pedagogical support to the faculty. Alongside another intern, James supported material for faculty and students to set up and use audio equipment and software to aid in online learning.

Jeremy Rapaport-Stein (Music Composition & Theory, 2020)

Jeremy Rapaport-Stein was awarded an internship to work with the Music department on preparing for the challenges of online or hybrid modes of teaching for the 2021 Fall semester. The goals of the internship were to support the music department in the unique challenges related to a music curriculum by researching how peer institutions delivered their music curriculums, advising the department about software, and providing pedagogical support to the faculty. Alongside another intern, Jeremy supported material for faculty and students to set up and use audio equipment and software to aid in online learning.

Anna Valcour (Musicology, 2022)

Anna Valcour was granted an internship to work with AAAS-Alumni Collective. Anna researched, designed, and created a networking conduit to facilitate career mentoring for African and African American Studies majors as they approach graduation. She curated a reference list of AAAS alumni and conducted qualitative research to identify areas of interest and need regarding the AAAS-Alumni Collective.