Student Programs

Collaborative Projects for the Public Good (Spring 2024)

Messiah University’s Center for Public Humanities offers truly unique experiences and program for undergraduate students interested in creating collaborative projects for the public good.

We invite students in all disciplines to participate in our experiential learning programs in Spring 2024. Students will:

Learn to tell stories about service, leadership, reconciliation, and faith in the wider Harrisburg region through multimedia tools

Contribute to ongoing meaningful projects exploring African American history, women’s history, religious communities, and displaced neighborhoods

Develop skills in GIS, websites, video and audio editing, digital archiving, and place-based storytelling, among others

Collaborate with students and faculty across Messiah as well as educational and community partners in Capital Pennsylvania

Produce a significant digital project for the public that leaves a lasting legacy

Earn ELI credit and walk away with a significant professional experience

A Gathering at the Crossroads



Students may participate in one of three ways in Spring 2024:

  1. HUMA 220: Humanities Projects I. Students will work under the supervision of faculty to create projects for the public. Students will practice a digital skill, carry out work for public audiences in collaboration with community stakeholders, and produce a finished project. Assignments include practice of digital humanities, communication with partners, ePortfolio, and reflective work. The course may be taken for 1 (40 hours) or 2 credits (80 hours). The course fulfills ELI requirement. Any student of any major may register for this course as part of Fall Registration. Restricted to SO, JR, and SR level students. Register for HUMA 220 as part of registration for spring semester. Class meets on Mondays from 1-1:50
  2. Public Humanities Fellows Program. Students may participate in a student enrichment program through the Center for Public Humanities that includes a 1-hour seminar taught by Professor Gladys Robalino and project work with community partners in Harrisburg. Students contribute to programs of the Center for Public Humanities including the Humanities Symposium and the American Democracy Lecture. Fellows receive a stipend of $800 / semester and may elect to take the class for internship credit (INTE 391) or practicum credit (HUMA 220) to fulfill ELI requirement. Entrance to the program is competitive and requires application. Apply here.

Our working group meets on Monday afternoon or evening in Boyer 135 with Professors Robalino and Pettegrew. Students participate in collaborative work with other students and community mentors and learn to apply technologies to tell meaningful and impactful stories.

We anticipate that students will be working on the following projects in Spring 2024:

  • African American Digital Collections: Students will develop collection of digitized sources related to African Americans celebrated in the newly dedicated Commonwealth Monument. Partner: McCormick Riverfront Library of Dauphin County Library System
  • T. Morris Chester Story Map: Students will build an interactive website with maps, images, videos, and text that educate the public about the life and times of Thomas Morris Chester, respected journalist, lawyer, and civil rights proponent in the U.S. in the late 19th century. Partner: McCormick Riverfront Library.
  • Capital PA Civil Rights Tour and Harrisburg Historical: Students will develop a public-facing digital tour and app called Harrisburg Historical to tell stories about places associated with the quest for civil freedoms, suffrage, justice, and rights. Partnering organization: McCormick Riverfront Library.
  • Lincoln Cemetery Project: Students will work to preserve and digitize with drone photography and GIS the Lincoln Cemetery in Penbrook. The cemetery is the oldest extant Black cemetery in the city. Partnering organization: Saving our Ancestors’ Legacy
  • Civic Club of Harrisburg: Students will work with city’s oldest women’s organization to identify and tell stories about significant historical women in the region for a self-guided garden tour along Front Street. Partnering organization: Civic Club of Harrisburg.
  • Corinthian Landscapes: Students will work on a digital public tour of archaeological sites and landscapes in Corinth, Greece. 

Learn more about our recent and current projects by sampling the links below or visiting our past and present project page.

Contact Dr. David Pettegrew for more information.

Digital Public Humanities Projects

Over the last decade, our students in a wide range of majors have pursued project-based activities in the digital and public humanities. Students have contributed to significant initiatives in our region that include:

  • creating interactive maps of Harrisburg history, redlining, and marginalized communities
  • leading poetry workshops for public area schools
  • contributing to public events commemorating the passage of the 15th and 19th amendment and the dedication of a new monument on state capitol grounds
  • filming interviews and historical reenactment, and editing and producing videos
  • restoring and digitizing historic cemeteries
  • publishing a digital book on Harrisburg’s historic African American community
  • writing academic and popular essays about topics of local and state history

These projects create opportunities for personal growth, skill development, and professional activity in collaboration with educators, other students, and community partners. They also contribute directly to Messiah University’s mission to educate for lives of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society.

Learn more about our current and recent projects here.

Information on Student Programs