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Arts and Humanities in Action -- 2023-24 Application for Amherst First-Year Students

What do Aubrey Plaza, Anthony Fauci, the president of Planned Parenthood, and the CEOs of HBO, YouTube, Goldman Sachs and American Express all have in common? They all majored in arts and humanities disciplines in college! Yes, you can major in the arts and humanities and not only get a job, but build a rewarding career with impact.

Arts and humanities majors at Amherst have gone on to be:

  • Vice President for Global Business Operations at Google
  • Executive Vice President at Oracle
  • Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the US Department of Education
  • Co-head of TV literary talent at United Talent Agency
  • Chief Executive Officer at the Houston Arts Alliance
  • Engineering Manager for Siri at Apple
  • Associate Director for LGBTQI+ research at the Center for American Progress
  • Head of Global Policy at Airbnb
  • General Partner and Venture Capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz
  • United States Ambassador for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation

What is it about deep study in the arts and humanities that fosters such a wide range of career options and leadership potential? The Arts and Humanities in Action (AHA) program is designed to help students interested in those areas of study see a path forward that leads to a rewarding career. It will pull back the curtain and help participants explore just how arts and humanities training translates into valuable workplace skills and prepares students for the challenges of tomorrow. 

Participants will be connected to alumni of the college who work in a broad range of fields, be exposed to real world case studies of arts and humanities education in action, and experience a one-day career trek to Boston. All along, the cohort will work closely with a mentoring “pod” of alumni, faculty and Loeb Center staff to articulate and develop skills and plan next steps in their professional development and career exploration.

The program will take place in person and on campus January 15-19, 2024 during Interterm, with an orientation session in December 2023 and continued alumni networking and faculty discussion opportunities in the spring semester of 2024.

Arts and Humanities in Action is funded by the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty and is offered at no cost to students.

Students selected for this program will:

• Develop a better understanding of the skills and competencies that are developed through deep study in arts and humanities disciplines

• Gain exposure to concrete examples of the ways those skills translate into workplace and leadership success

• Make connections with alumni across a range of employment sectors where arts and humanities training is valued

• Get a jumpstart on planning for summer 2023 internship or research opportunities



• First year student

• Sincere interest in majoring in an arts or humanities discipline

• Curiosity about the impact of arts and humanities in the broader world

• Ability to attend all key program dates: December 3rd orientation and each full day of the January program


Apply through Handshake (application deadline 10/27/2023 @ 11:59 PM) with your letter of interest. The letter of interest should include responses to the following (~200 word count per question):               

• What majors are you currently considering, and why?

• What is your perception or opinion about the link between major selection and career planning?

• What career fields are you curious about and why?

• How do you imagine that this program might impact your academic experience and career exploration while at Amherst?

Applications will be screened by a faculty and staff committee. The selected cohort will be limited to 15 students.

Questions? Contact Carla Costa, Director of the Careers in Arts & Communication Program in the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning,