My Project Pitch

Here’s the pitch letter that sums up my Capstone project. I think it (hopefully) gives a pretty good idea of what this project is going to look like, though really the interviews will dictate a lot of it. Anyway, without further ado, my letter:

We all have more in common than we think. Every day we go to work or to school, to meetings or events, to activities or responsibilities. Whether we realize it or not, we’re all playing our own parts in a bigger system. On a massive public university campus where tens of thousands of students, faculty, and staff spend hours each day, it’s easy to forget that everyone has a unique voice and a personal story. My project will attempt to explore the threads that link us together and the differences that set us apart; it will display the stories of a number of different individuals and comment on the over-arching conclusions that can be drawn from their stories.

This essay will combine investigative journalism with personal narrative to provide a broader look at the University of Michigan, as seen by the individuals who contribute to it. It is intended to be a written series of interviews that, when combined, give insight into the community as a whole.  It could be published by the Michigan Daily as its own column series, but the final work should also be able to stand on its own as a complete chapter. It will be approximately 20 pages in total length, including a number of interviews of 2-3 pages each, plus an introduction that discusses the connections and broader themes of the combined set of interviews. This introductory brief will give readers an opportunity to synthesize ideas and make their own connections as they consider the interviews both individually and as a group.

The audience for this piece on a specific level is the University of Michigan community, many members of whom will be inherently interested in hearing the perspectives of their colleagues. Though this community is only one specific educated group, anyone with intellectual curiosity would be a prime audience for reading this piece and exploring its deeper roots in not just the University of Michigan system, but in the higher education system as a whole.

Studs Terkel wrote a book called Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, in which he compiles dozens of interviews into chapters. Each chapter speaks volumes on its own, and the full compilation illuminates the state of labor in the country at the time the book was written. The work was highly praised and well received, and a similar piece in the present day on the University scale has the potential to be equally influential.

Ultimately, although I’m coming into it with only my own limited angle, I am open to connecting with different perspectives and different people in an attempt to discover how they work together. As a senior undergraduate at Michigan, I have access to members of the community and can use my connections to reach out to others at the university. I’m coming in to it with an open mind and an open interest. I sincerely appreciate your support, and thank you for your time!

Yona Isaacs

Hello :) I'm a BCN major (that's Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience...obnoxiously long name, I know) here at the University of Michigan, as well as an Applied Statistics minor-- and a Writing minor, of course! I'm involved in Psychology research and spend a lot of my "free" time doing that. I also recent-ish-ly started learning to play the ukulele, so that's cool. Oh, and I once smashed a huge whole in a wall with my butt. That was about 6 years ago, but I haven't done anything nearly as impressive since. Still hoping to follow it up with something great!

One thought to “My Project Pitch”

  1. Yona,

    I have always been impressed by how creative you are and I’m so excited to see this project come to life. I really like that you have focused your audience to the U of M community and think that will make a big impact in how this comes out. The idea is very interesting and I’m actually in a Complex System and modeling class here at the University that has gone through the idea of 6 degrees of separation, but it is going to be told way better through your interviews and narrative than it was in numbers from my lecture. I’m interested to see the challenges you face in possibly picking the people to interview or even to put the pieces together. That may be a part of the project you want advice from a mentor on or to really try to see, obviously you want to try to pick people from opposite ends of the school and social spectrum but I definitely could imagine a few roadblocks coming up.

    Reading this also brought back a great memory for me. A friend of mine from high school is a play writer and performer and actually spent 3 years of his life creating this musical called 6. Now having performed it all over the US and Europe, the best I could find you was the Facebook page, but maybe you can find some of it on youtube or something ( ) but anyway it is about 6 people in New York city who all took the subway or worked together etc and never knew each other but all had this huge impact on how the other person lived. It was wonderful to see live and I really think that maybe researching pieces like that will inspire you further into reflection for this project. I’m excited to sees how it comes out! Good luck!

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