What’s in Your District?

This post was written by one of our summer interns, Micah Khater, who is a rising junior at North Carolina State University. Her experience discovering NEH-funded projects that took place at her school may inspire others to see what the NEH has supported at their own colleges and universities.

On the first day of my internship at the NEH I was directed to the “Funded Projects” section on neh.gov. Here it is possible to search previous NEH grants by year, region, institution, or name. Naturally, as a curious undergraduate, I searched for my own university to see what kinds of grants we had been awarded. I learned that since the 1970s, the NEH has awarded 91 grants to North Carolina State University (NCSU)—a strong statement about the depth and breadth of our research and scholarship in the humanities.

court of carolina ncsu

The Court of North Carolina at North Carolina State University, which is a central area on campus. Photo courtesy of ABC11 News.

More about My School

NCSU was founded in 1887 as a land-grant institution with a particular focus on agriculture and, later, engineering. Even though it is known primarily for its strength in STEM, NCSU is emblematic of a new trend in research—building strong universities in all disciplines. So while NCSU is ranked among the best schools for engineering, it can also boast excellent, research-driven programs in the humanities. The NEH has encouraged our interdisciplinary initiatives that propel research in the humanities.

NCSU: Technology and the Humanities

In particular, my school has received grants from the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities (ODH). The ODH offers grant programs that fund projects designed to study digital culture and harness new technology for research in the humanities. Programs housed in this office range from Digital Humanities Implementation Grants to Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities. These grant programs may seem complicated, but essentially they support the intersection of digital tools and humanistic exploration.


Saint Paul’s Cross in England, photo courtesy of the Virtual Paul’s Cross Project, funded by an NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant.

One project I found on neh.gov from 2011 serves as a perfect example.  The NEH granted NCSU a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant to begin research to study acoustics for sermons at St. Paul’s Cross,England’s most important public pulpit in the early modern period. Using advanced modeling and acoustic algorithms, the Virtual St. Paul’s Cross Project (in which the School of Architecture collaborated) combined the humanities, technology, and design.

st pauls virtual model

A screen shot of the architectural model software used to study what a public Paul’s Cross sermon may have looked like in 17th-century England. Photo courtesy of the Virtual Paul’s Cross Project.

What Does This Mean For You?

The NEH supports interdisciplinary initiatives nationwide, and in my case the NEH has supported many in my own backyard. The NEH looks for excellence in research, scholarship, and public outreach in the humanities, whether at a land-grant university or a small liberal arts college.

If you are interested in the grants awarded to a particular university or college (like your alma mater), please visit https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx. And, of course, constituents in your district or state—beyond university faculty—may be eligible for grant opportunities provided by the NEH. To search for grant programs, please visit http://www.neh.gov/grants.