Alumni Voices, Research and Ideas

CSIS Alum Mirae Kim Receives Award for Outstanding Article

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Mirae Kim, recent winner of the award for Outstanding Article in NVSQ, talked to us about her research  and reflected on her time in our Summer Doctoral Fellows Program. We’re currently accepting applications for this summer’s program; read on for more information!

Mirae Kim, a 2013 participant in Dr. Frumkin’s summer Doctoral Fellows Program, was recently named a recipient of the award for Outstanding Article in Nonprofit and Volunteer Sector Quarterly (NVSQ)  for her paper “The Relationship of Nonprofits’ Financial Health to Program Outcomes: Empirical Evidence from Nonprofit Arts Organizations.” She presented her research at the ARNOVA Annual Conference in Austin, TX in November. Kim teaches at Georgia State University, where her research focuses on interorganizational partnerships and the role of nonprofits in civil society, among other things. She reflected on her time as a Doctoral Fellow and told us about some of her upcoming projects.

For Kim, “the best part of the Fellow Program was its design; the program schedule incentivized us to spend enough time to improve our own research projects by sharing feedback [with] each other [but] still enjoy ourselves with many interesting outdoor activities.” In particular, she remembers taking a cooking class at a nearby museum with her cohort. The experience was “a lot more than simply working on a paper for four weeks”–she was able to make new friends, explore Philadelphia, and have “invigorating” discussions that sparked new interests and ideas. She has carried this lesson with her as a faculty member, and maintains a healthy balance between work and fun.

Kim’s vision of the research process has also changed since participating in the program. “[Peter Frumkin’s] advice to look for more provocative and really meaningful research questions, rather than simply focusing on publishable or manageable research work, has particularly inspired me to continuously re-evaluate my research work,” she says. She has fond memories of the other Fellows as well, whom she describes as “life-long friends.” They continue to support each other as their academic lives grow and change.

One of Kim’s current projects looks at “the dilemma nonprofit executive directors face between offering fair and competitive salaries for their employees and keeping their overhead costs low.” The objective of keeping overhead costs low has long been a debate within the nonprofit sector, with motivations ranging from reducing fundraising obligations, to funding more programs, satisfying donors, and of course maintaining competitive salaries. So far, Kim has conducted an online study of 500 nonprofit executives. She’s interested in how nonprofit leaders navigate the tension between reducing overhead costs and retaining talented employees.

“[Peter Frumkin’s] advice to look for more provocative and really meaningful research questions, rather than simply focusing on publishable or manageable research work, has particularly inspired me to continuously re-evaluate my research work,” Kim says.

Kim is grateful that she was able to participate in the Doctoral Fellows Program–where she worked on the research for her NVSQ paper–and is excited to have won this award. She encourages current doctoral candidates to take advantage of any opportunities like the Doctoral Fellows Program. “There are a lot of good opportunities available for doctoral students that many happen to miss,” she notes.

We congratulate Kim on this impressive accomplishment, and look forward to seeing her influence in this sector continue to grow.

Current doctoral students with an unpublished paper-in-progress are welcome to apply to the 2019 Summer Doctoral Fellows Program. Under the guidance of Professor Peter Frumkin, fellows will explore emerging issues in the world of nonprofit organizations, social enterprise, international civil society, and more. This summer’s program will take place from June 3-25 on the campus of The University of Pennsylvania; all fellows will receive nearby housing and a $3,000 stipend. For more information, read about the program here or email Maeve Flynn.