Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

W&L Outcomes: Ellie Penner ’23 Ellie Penner ’23 received a Boren Scholarship to study Hindi in India.

ElliePenner_sRGB-scaled-512x400 W&L Outcomes: Ellie Penner ’23

Post-Grad Plans: Boren Fellowship
Industry: Research
Areas of Study: Art history, politics, and human capability and poverty studies

What will you be doing after graduation?
I will be studying Hindi in India as a Boren Scholar. I will be in India for the year at the American Institute for Indian Studies, while conducting some individual art history research on the side. I will be applying to graduate school to pursue a doctorate in art history in the fall, as well.

How did W&L support you and which resources did you find most helpful?
I worked with the Office of Fellowships pretty much all year, applying for multiple opportunities with the guidance of Matthew Loar. These options ranged in terms of grant length, country, language, research and more; it was fascinating and formative to imagine multiple future possibilities through the Fellowships office!

How did your career plans evolve over the course of your time at W&L?
Over my time at W&L, I have found unexpected avenues of intersection for all my interests and future career goals. I came into W&L interested in nonprofit work and poverty intervention; I left with an understanding of how cultural heritage and the global art market is inextricably linked to the disempowerment and marginalization of communities across the globe. I have a long-term interest in continuing to make museums, art ownership, and pedagogical practices of cultural heritage more equitable.

Who or what has inspired you along the way?
Of course, professors such as Melissa Kerin inspired me. Her engaged understanding of South Asian art is extraordinary, and her immersive methodologies are essential to the work she does. Professor Kerin took me and another student (Ava Boussy) to India with her last summer to study Buddhist fertility shrines while trekking in the Himalayas, and this experience was fundamental to my understanding of in situ material culture.

If you know any W&L alumni who would be great profile subjects, tell us about them! Nominate them for a web profile.