• Rey

“That Was Such a Weird Interview”: A Weird Interview with Michelle Shumate

Intro to the Weird Interview Series

Lecturer in an Academic Career talk:

“Don’t add your hobbies in your CV, I don’t wanna hear about your hobbies!”

The Little Prince:

“If I have told you these details about the asteroid, and made a note of its number for you, it is on account of the grown-ups and their ways. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”

~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

So, for the sake of all the academics who are human beings with favorite games, books, and imaginary friends, I present to you the Weird Interview Series.

A Weird Interview with Michelle Shumate

Rey: How would you describe your research to your grandmother?

Michelle: I would say very simply, that I try to help nonprofit organizations make a difference and improve the ways they work with other organizations.

And how could you improve that?

That’s a great question, grandma! I focus on 3 things, one of them is how you can make nonprofit organizations better in themselves, improve their capacity and their communication to do what they do; second, in terms of how they work with others, how that information and knowledge can be shared among other organizations so that they don’t reinvent the wheel; and third, I try to think about how can organizations, nonprofits and businesses and government come together, so that they are making changes that you can see all across the community or around a social issue that they are all committed to, and how could they make sure that they jointly are producing better products or services and information.

Great, thank you…grandchild. Now it’s time for our weird questions. If you could be any fictional character, who would you want to be?

Ohhhhm, emmmm….I think I would like to be Penny who is inspector gadget’s niece! That would be my favorite fictional character!

Penny from Inspector Gadget (DHX Media)


I love that she is smart and inquisitive and she is always in the know, and then no one knows that she is. Not the new inspector gadget though the old one, cause in the new one she is bossy and she rolls her eyes a lot and I don’t like that.

If you could live in any universe, like Middle Earth, Narnia, Star Trek, where would you choose?

Oh definitely Star Trek.

So you’re a Star Trek fan?

Oh yeah, absolutely!

What’s your favorite thing about the Star Trek universe?

My favorite Star Trek pieces were Deep Space 9. It was a whole series that they made, the idea was that there was this remote outer space, deep space and it was interspecies, different worlds, almost utopia. it was awesome!

Which mythical creature would like to have as a pet?

Not a dragon, it messes up too many things, I kinda would like to have a fairy like Tinkerbell, it has to be a Tinker fairy though, not the other kinds.

What are the other kinds that you don’t like? 

I don’t really want a harvest fairy or a frost fairy…eh, no I want tinkers. Any of the tinkers would do it cause they could fix things, like…everything could be fixed in my house. They make machines!

If there was one song in the world that you were never allowed to listen to it again, what would that song be?

Like I can ban the song from existence?


Oh there are so many to choose! You should remember that my children pick one and they sing them over and over again! Probably it’s Raining Tacos.

I haven’t heard it but I’ll find it and listen to it.

You should, on repeat, and then you’ll love it as much as I do!

Thank you, this was my last question!

That was such a weird interview.

I asked Michelle what her favorite thing in her office is. It is this drawing of the book “Leaf by Niggle” written by J. R. R. Tolkien. You can find the short story here.

Learn more about Michelle’s work here.

#nonprofit #networks #interview #academia #ScienceCommunication


©2019 by Reyhaneh Maktoufi. Proudly created with Wix.com

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now