We’d like to introduce you to the newest members of the NJCH team, Valerie Popp, Ph.D. and Colleen Tryner. Valerie joins the Council as a Program Officer; Colleen joins the team as an Office Manager. We’re delighted to welcome such accomplished nonprofit professionals to the New Jersey Council for the Humanities!
About Valerie Popp, Ph.D.
Valerie L. Popp is a Program Officer at the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. In this role, she supports NJCH’s existing program infrastructure and helps to create and execute initiatives that respond to the needs of New Jersey’s diverse humanities community. Prior to joining NJCH, she was the Senior Program Officer at the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), where she played a lead role in designing, administering, and evaluating ACLS’s $25 million portfolio of fellowships and grants for humanities and social sciences scholars worldwide. She also brings to NJCH institutional giving savvy, having served in fundraising roles at national nonprofits, as well as deep project management experience from the fields of journalism, publishing, and advertising. A proud first-generation college graduate, Valerie holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in English literature from the University of California, Los Angeles and a B.A. in English literature from Yale University. Her volunteer work includes serving with the Board of Directors of FLIP National, the Yale Alumni Schools Committee, and 1stGenYale, an affinity/advocacy group for alumni who identify as first-gen. When she isn’t busy cooking up new humanities programs, Valerie enjoys traveling, writing short stories and book reviews, and hiking. She lives in Princeton Junction.
Valerie believes that the humanities are a necessity for all, not a luxury for the few. That belief is deeply rooted in lived experience: she was raised in a family where the humanities love was plentiful but money and traditional education were not! So Valerie knows firsthand how local public institutions—museums, groups that host free classical music and opera concerts, public libraries—can sustain and inspire communities. When she thinks about what draws her to the public humanities, she always comes back to the importance of paying those early opportunities forward to her neighbors. The field deserves to be shared and shaped and treasured by people from all kinds of backgrounds. The work of NJCH makes this possible.
About Colleen Tryner
Colleen Tryner is the Office Manager at the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH). She joins the staff after five years with the Alice Paul Institute (API), a South Jersey based non-profit focused on history and leadership. At API, Colleen held several roles, but her most recent was Operations Director. In that role she managed the office workflow, bookkeeping, and site maintenance of a National Historic Landmark while being a connection point for volunteers, interns, and other community members. Colleen is excited to bring her passion for management to support all the staff at NJCH. She has always had a passion for the humanities, graduating from Rowan University with a B.A. in History and Art, minors in Art History and Business Administration, and a concentration in International Studies. When not at work, Colleen can be found enjoying board games and conversation friends, new and old.
Colleen has always enjoyed the humanities. As she grew older, she saw how a humanities education, both traditional and non-traditional, allows people to better understand one another. At the heart of the humanities are humans and their culture, whether it is communicated through literature, history, or art. And learning for those disciplines does not have to happen within a higher education institution, which is why public humanities programs supported by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities are so important. One can engage in beautiful conversations of different lived experiences with one another through the humanities, and it is important to keep that accessible to every New Jerseyan.
Contact information for all NJCH staff is available on the Staff webpage.