Sometimes, a single thought creates the biggest opportunities for you down the road. This holds true for Jessica Ghilani, Assistant Professor of Communication at Pitt-Greensburg. Ghilani received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her work concerning army advertisements. The grant will aide her with the writing and traveling needed in order to finish her book, “Selling Soldiering: Advertising for U.S. army Volunteers since 1914.”
Ghilani said, “I examine army advertisements across the 20th century to understand their cultural influence on public perceptions of the military and of army service. I look beyond their explicit purpose to fill the ranks to understand how ads can shape our ideas about patriotism and civic obligation over time.”
Ghilani said she “vividly [remembers] watching G.I. Joe” with her brother.
“I would take G.I Joe toys and play pretend with my Barbies,” Ghilani said.
Ghilani became interested in different military slogans and recruitment campaigns over the years. She was curious about the change in recruitment strategies and advertising after the military draft.
Ghilani started studying military advertisements in graduate school and was even fortunate enough to receive a research fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution, in 2009, to work in residence at the National Museum of American History.
Between working on her book, teaching at Pitt-Greensburg, and being a mother, Ghilani has a lot on her plate.
“Finding time and childcare to travel to the archives where primary source materials are located has been a big barrier to my progress,” Ghilani said.
“I am very eager to finish my manuscript revisions prior to having my second child this summer,” Professor Ghilani said. “I know from experience that early newborn times are not as friendly to research travels and long archival hours.”