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About Our Founder

"Erica presented a webinar for our members on how to hook your audience and it was very well received. 'I've enjoyed TAA webinars, but this one was the most valuable to me, even after publishing a few books and 13 editions of one of them."

 --Kim Pawlak

Director of Publishing and Operations

(Textbook and Academic Authors Association)

Read More Testimonials Here

Erica Machulak (she/her), PhD, is the Founder and Lead Facilitator of Hikma, a social impact startup with a mission to mobilize scholarship for the public good through consulting, capacity building, and storytelling. Over the past two years, Hikma clients have secured $6M+ in research funding, informed new policies, and published their work in media outlets such as Forbes and the CBC.

As a writer, editor, and facilitator, Erica believes that the world needs to hear more from people who resist easy answers. Since completing her dissertation on Arabic influences in medieval English literature, Erica has written articles for Inside Higher Ed, Intellect Ltd, and Humanities, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (BA), the University of Oxford (MSt.), and the University of Notre Dame (PhD).

Visit her LinkedIn Profile.

Speaking and Events Portfolio

"Office Hours." Entrepreneurship for Humanists Series. University of California, Irvine Humanities Center. February 20, 2024.


"Fireside Chat: Informational Interview Training with the Hikma Collective." UBC Arts Amplifier. February 14, 2024.


"Session 2: Develop client relationships." Entrepreneurship for Humanists Series. University of California, Irvine Humanities Center. February 13, 2024.


 "Clarify Your Research Project." Miniaturized Intelligent Construction Robot for Optimal Building Operations and Defect Detection (MICRO-BODD). Hikma Professional Development Series. February 12, 2024.


"Session 1: Choose what to offer." Entrepreneurship for Humanists Series. University of California, Irvine Humanities Center. February 6, 2024.


"Writing Your Lay Summary, Part 2: Communicating with Target Audiences." Miniaturized Intelligent Construction Robot for Optimal Building Operations and Defect Detection (MICRO-BODD). Hikma Professional Development Series. November 20, 2023.


"Three questions to ask your next collaborator." Lightning Round #2: Community Memory and History. National Humanities Conference. October 28, 2023.


"Writing Your Lay Summary, Part 1: Research Content: “The How”." Miniaturized Intelligent Construction Robot for Optimal Building Operations and Defect Detection (MICRO-BODD). Hikma Professional Development Series. October 19, 2023.


"Ace Your Elevator Pitch." Miniaturized Intelligent Construction Robot for Optimal Building Operations and Defect Detection
(MICRO-BODD). Hikma Professional Development Series. September 20, 2023.


"Leverage Curiosity to Foster Effective Partnerships." Michael Smith Health Research BC and Arthritis Research Canada. Knowledge Translation (KT) Connects Webinar Series. August 25, 2023.


"Evergreen Content." Federation of State Humanities Councils. Communications & Development Happy Hours. August 9, 2023.


"Making Your Story Accessible with the Hikma Collective." Princeton GradFUTURES Forum. March 30, 2023.


"How to Hook Your Audience: Crafting Research Narratives for Multiple Publics." CUNY PublicsLab. October 20, 2022.


“Memorable, Generative Informational Interviews.” Princeton GradFUTURES Forum. April 2, 2022.


"Part 3: Map the Context for Your Research." Knowledge Exchange Training Series. Research Cluster for Microplastics, Health & the Environment. University of British Columbia. March 17, 2022. 


"Part 2: Ask Generative Questions." Knowledge Exchange Training Series. Research Cluster for Microplastics, Health & the Environment. University of British Columbia. March 10, 2022.


"Part 1: Communicate with Non-Specialists." Knowledge Exchange Training Series. Research Cluster for Microplastics, Health & the Environment. University of British Columbia. March 3, 2022.


“Career Pathways for Job Seekers in Languages.” MLA 2022 Convention. Modern Language Association. January 6, 2022.


“Map Your Context.” 2022 Mellon/Public Fellows Seminar. American Council of Learned Societies. January 4, 2022.


“How to Hook Your Audience.” Membership Preview Week. Textbook & Academic Authors Association. December 9, 2021.


“How to Tell Intractable Stories.” Editors Transform Conference 2021. Editors Canada. June 12, 2021. 


“Leading Edge Fellows Career Development Workshop.” American Council of Learned Societies. June 3-4, 2021. Instructional Designer and Lead Facilitator.


Machulak, Erica. “Innovation for Humanists.” Celebrate and Build Creative Connections: A PechaKucha Event. Simon Fraser University. December 10, 2020.


Knowledge Exchange Summer InstituteThe University of British Columbia Microplastics Cluster. Knowledge Exchange Training Series. July 20-24, 2020. Instructional Designer, Co-coordinator, and Lead Facilitator.


“Empowering Communities Through Ethical Storytelling.” National Humanities Conference. Honolulu, HI. November 8, 2019. Presenter.


“How’d You Get There: Career Narratives Panel.” Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. June 4, 2019. Panelist.


“Communicating, Engaging, and Creating Relationships with Researchers.” CARA West Conference. Kelowna, BC. December 7, 2018. Presenter.


“Collaborating with Indigenous Communities in Canada.” National Humanities Conference. New Orleans, LA. November 9, 2018. Presenter.


“Forging Effective Social Sciences and Humanities Partnerships with Non-Academic Organizations.” University of British Columbia. May 14 and August 1, 2018. Presenter, Co-coordinator, and Moderator.


“Arabic’s Gutenberg: Cultural Difference Through the Lens of Print.” 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies. University of Western Michigan. May 2017.


“The Secretum secretorum (Kitāb sirr al-asrār) and Medieval English Intellectuals.” Modern Language Association 2017 Convention. January 2017.


“Langland’s Aristotle: ‘The Philosopher’ as Pop Icon in Middle English Literature.” 10th IDEA Conference (European Society for the Study of English). Bogazici University, Istanbul. April 2016.


“Chaucer's Arabic Inheritance: Scientific Sources and Middle English Invention.” Pathways of Transmission: Literary and Social Transfer in the Fourteenth Century. University of Notre Dame Global Gateways, London. March 2016.


“The Leech and the Philosopher: Theorizing Practical Medicine in þe Priuyté of Priuyteis.” Medicine of Words. St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. September 2015.


“Imaginations Translating ‘Imagination’: Arabic Science in Medieval Western Culture.” Middle East Studies Association Conference. November 2014 Chair of first session. Imagining Medieval English. University of Notre Dame. September 2014.


“Recasting Eurydice in Sir Orfeo.” 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies. University of Western Michigan. May 2014.


“Insomnia in Hoccleve’s Series,” International Congress on Medieval Studies, University of Western Michigan, May 2012.


“Experiments in Truth-Telling: Pamela’s Shift in Narrative Habit,” Penn English Undergraduate Academic Conference, April 30, 2009.


“En Media Res,” Kelly Writer’s House Medieval Literature Symposium, October 2008.


Beyond the Career Panel

Inside Higher Ed. August 31, 2023.

Andrea Webb and Erica Machulak explore four ways faculty members and administrators can foster professional agency among graduate students. Read More

Find Your Inner Entrepreneur

Inside Higher Ed. March 23, 2021.

Writing a dissertation leads us to the core competencies of entrepreneurship. Once you spot them, you can build an intentional system and position yourself for success in any professional context. Read More

Mukurtu: A Digital Platform That Does More Than Manage Content

Humanities. Fall 2020.

Through Mukurtu, communities are able to present objects from their cultural heritage in context, providing rich histories and cultural explanations and, often, revising problematic descriptions from existing records. Read More

Professionalize Your Ph.D.s by Honoring Skills They Already Have

Inside Higher Ed. September 17, 2020.

Grad students should recognize and articulate the work experience they've gained through teaching and their dissertation, and academic departments should help them to do so. Read More

Zaydi Manuscript Tradition

HUMANITIES, Fall 2019, Volume 40, Number 4

The Zaydi Manuscript Tradition (ZMT), a collaboration between the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) at Saint John’s University, is working to digitize a dynamic body of literature, theology, astronomy, legal sources, and other materials spanning a millennium. This work becomes ever more urgent as Zaydi manuscripts, one of the richest threads of our global intellectual history, are further threatened by air raids, smugglers, and obscurity. Read More

Texting in Ancient Mayan Hieroglyphs - What Unicode Will Make Possible 

Humanities. Winter 2018.

If King Tut were around today, could he send a text in Egyptian hieroglyphics? Yes, with the right font and keyboard. That’s because the writing system of the pharaohs has already been included in the Unicode Standard. Read More

Building a Bridge Without a Plan

Humanities. Fall 2017.

Like the language of those who build it, the Q’eswachaka links traces the past and present together. “It is forbidden to fly over the bridge with drones,” reads the brochure distributed by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, during the three days of building. Read More

Langland’s Sages: Reading Aristotle and Solomon in their Medieval Context

Yearbook of Langland Studies. Vol. 31. 2017.

Erica Machulak argues that the changing characterizations of Aristotle and Solomon within medieval culture shaped William Langland's attitude toward authority and knowledge in Piers Plowman. Read More

Before Prohibition, Breweries Made Advertising an Art 

Humanities. Fall 2016.

On a dark night in rural Wisconsin, Miller marketing guru A. C. Paul gets lost in the Northwoods. No doubt having sampled his own wares, he staggers through the wilderness, trying in vain to find his way out. Then a beautiful woman appears in the moon and steers him back to civilization. Or so the legend goes. Read More

How Americans View Muslims—And What They Don’t See

Featured article in Humanities, the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Summer 2016, Volume 37, Number 3.

 Read More

In Defense of Chaucer's Astrolabe

Medieval Studies Research Blog. April 2016.

Chaucer’s Treatise on the Astrolabe has not, historically, won the hearts of many academics—much less the hearts of undergraduates making their first forays into medieval literature. The text is a manual supposedly meant to explain the construction and use of the astronomical tool known as the astrolabe. Most interest in Chaucer’s Astrolabe has focused on its preface, where the author professes to write for his ten-year-old son “Lyte Lowys” (“little Lewis,” l. 1) but also speaks to a much more highly educated audience. In this preface, Chaucer makes claims about medieval education, science, and languages that help us piece together a medieval worldview. Few have ventured beyond these opening lines, however, to understand the mechanics of the astrolabe itself. The task is well worth the effort—Chaucer’s Astrolabe, for all of its technicality, can help us understand the role of science in more traditionally “literary” works like The Canterbury Tales. Read More

Thinking in Scripts: The Look of Arabic

Chapter 6 in Spellbound: Rethinking the Alphabet, eds. Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel. Intellect Ltd. 2016.

This chapter contextualizes the development of Arabic script within the development of Muslim culture, using a fourteenth-century mihrab as a point of departure. Read More

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