Today I had lunch with Onondaga Community College’s Dr. Shawn G. Wiemann. While I do aim to record these conversations later on, I chose to take these first few days to get to know some contacts. Therefore, lunch with Dr. Wiemann was just that. We discussed our academic careers, my research and aspirations, his upcoming wedding, the passion (and practicality) needed for graduate school, and a wide array of other topics.
Dr. Wiemann shared a lot of the same values and beliefs as I do early in his career. It was refreshing to speak on these points together. And, as it is becoming a trend, I was faced with a variety of personal questions. I want to go to graduate school, but do I have the stamina to get my doctorate? How can I market myself to schools and grant committees? Dr. Wiemann also turned a previous question on its head and asked what I wanted out of this trip. It was a reflective moment where all of these questions came into a singular thought on what the “FUSE” grant actually meant for me. The grant offered me the opportunity to experience the true scholastic world; it is a foray away from the artificiality of the classroom.
I am learning things about myself that seemed so passive at home. Yes, I want to go to graduate school for Native American and European/American relationships during colonial and early republic America. Yes, I want go on to receive my doctorate, but I understand that it is a marathon and I may have to take a break. The passion is there, but it is not worth fatiguing myself. Although I am soft-spoken, this grant has taught me to assert and put myself out there; my academic work is amazing and it is worth your time and money! It is just as much a personal trip as a research occasion. That is what the FUSE grant means to me. It is this scholarly experience for young adults who haven’t had such an opportunity.
I do not want to take away from the work Dr. Wiemann himself is doing though. While he is extremely knowledgeable about the Haudenosaunee, he expertise lies outside the Six Nations. Dr. Wiemann’s dissertation, Lasting Marks: The Legacy of Robin Cassacinamon and the Survival of the Mashantucket Pequot Nation, included the concept of wampum, but in a culture outside of the Haudenosaunee. It allowed me to see how other nations and peoples looked at a concept so central to the Haudenosaunee and how that may affect my topic. Dr. Wiemann is also extremely involved in community involvement and creating open dialogue between Native and non-Native peoples. His work and contacts in the field of my research will be invaluable for the rest of my time here. It was truly a pleasure meeting him.
The rest of my day was spend wandering and exploring the Syracuse University campus and the city’s downtown center. I felt compelled to soak in some of the history of the city while I was here. It was a good day.
All the best,