Month: May 2020

Jenifer Gaitán (HIST Stamford) Awarded SURF Grant

Concourse (atrium) at Uconn Stamford on Oct. 17, 2018. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

The Office of Undergraduate Research has announced the selection of 50 undergraduate students to receive SURF Awards in support of their summer undergraduate research projects.

Jenifer Gaitán, a senior honors History major / Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor will research a project titled “Voces: FirstGeneration Latinx Students Discuss Their Support Networks.” Jenifer’s faculty mentor is Dr. Laura Bunyan, Sociology.

This research project is in support of Jenifer’s University Scholar project by the same name. Her faculty advisor committee members are: Laura Bunyan, Sociology (Chair); Ingrid Semaan, Sociology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and Joel Blatt, History.

Project Summary: In the last decade, the number of Latinx students who have enrolled in college has increased by over 80%. Many of these students are first-generation college students, who as a whole make up approximately one-third of all college students. Despite being the largest ethnic minority group in the U.S., Latinx students are understudied. Those who are the first in their families face unique challenges while often balancing familial, work, and academic responsibilities with limited institutional support. Through in-person interviews, this project explores the systems of support first-generation Latinx students utilize through the completion of their undergraduate educations.

Jenifer is also the President of Husky Outreach for Minority Education (HOME). She is a first-generation college student and proud daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants.

Prof. McElya Contributes to WashPo on Mourning & COVID-19

Professor Micki McElya‘s latest op-ed adds a powerful voice to the pages of the Washington Post. Building off of her recently published book, The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery, which was finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, McElya asks why there is no collective mourning for those Americans lost to Covid-19. She answers, “The reason is as simple as it is terrible: We share no understanding of these staggering losses as ours, as belonging to all Americans, as national.” McElya argues that a sense “national kinship” is lost as the pandemic’s victims are “disproportionately urban, people of color, immigrants, the undocumented, the incarcerated, the elderly in nursing homes and state care facilities, the poor, the uninsured, the chronically ill, service workers and delivery people.”

To read more of this timely op-ed, please click here. Or, find it in this Sunday’s print edition!

Ph.D. Candidate Stauffer Receives O’Donnell Grant and NPIHP

Lauren Stauffer, doctoral student, History Dept, University of ConnecticutPh.D. Candidate Lauren Stauffer received two announcements this spring that will help further her research on NATO. First, the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs awarded Stauffer the O’Donnell Grant for research at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and at the Scowcroft Institute Archives. Both collections are housed at Texas A&M University.

Second, the Woodrow Wilson Center accepted Stauffer into the Center’s Nuclear Proliferation International History Project’s (NPIHP) 2020 Nuclear History Boot Camp. The Boot Camp selects a handful of international participants from disciplines such as history, political science, and international affairs, to travel to Rome. The participants gather at the University of Roma Tre at a former ACE High NATO communications relay site in the village of Allumiere, Italy, for ten days of research and discussion.


Sopcak-Joseph Ph.D. (’19) Wins McNeil Center Dissertation Prize

Amy Sopcak-Joseph2020A hearty congratulations to UConn History Ph.D. (’19) alum, Amy Sopcak-Joseph, for receiving the Zuckerman Dissertation Prize in American Studies from the McNeil Center for Early American History at the University of Pennsylvania. The Zuckerman prize is awarded to “the best dissertation connecting American history (in any period) with literature and/or art… evaluated for the seriousness and originality with which the dissertation engages relationships among history, art and/or literature, the significance of the treatment to scholarship in the field, and the overall quality of the writing.” Sopcak-Joseph’s dissertation, titled “Fashioning American Women: Godey’s Lady’s Book, Female Consumers, and Periodical Publishing in the Nineteenth Century,” wonderfully explored the production, dissemination, content, and reception of an exceptionally popular antebellum American periodical called Godey’s Lady’s Book.

Well done, Amy!

Efforts to Document the Pandemic Featured in UConn Today

In comparison to the little documentation of the 1918 flu pandemic’s impact on Storrs, the University is ensuring that the experience of COVID-19 will be remembered. Through an initiative launched by the University Archives & Special Collections (ASC) in the UConn Library, stories from the UConn community students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and other affiliated community members – are being collected by the ASC, preserved for posterity, and then made accessible for research and study in what will be known as the UConn COVID-19 Collection. Three classes this semester took part in the initiative, including two courses taught by History professors. Helen M. Rozwadowski, a professor of history and maritime studies at Avery Point and Sylvia Schafer, an associate professor of history at Storrs altered their writing assignments to offer students the opportunity to reflect on the effects of the pandemic.

UConn Covid-19

To read about more about the teaching experiences of Professor Rozwadowski and OSchafer, or the initiative launched by the ASC, click here.


Luisa Arrieta Receives UConn Digital Humanities Fellowship

Luisa Arrieta ProfileWe are pleased to announce that Ph.D. Candidate Luisa Arrieta has received the UConn Greenhouse Studios Diversity Fellowship in Digital Humanities for 2020-2022. Arrieta is one of two doctoral students to receive the Fellowship, which aims “to enhance the academic and professional experience of students from historically underrepresented groups by providing two years of hands-on experience in digital humanities research and method with Greenhouse Studios in lieu of regular teaching assistant duties.” This opportunity will enable Arrieta to further her research interests that relate to cultural nationalism and citizenship, museums and visual narratives, African diaspora, popular culture, and human rights in the Americas.

Ph.D. David Evans Earns Human Rights Institute Fellowship

David Evans, doctoral student, History Dept., UConnCongratulations to Ph.D. Candidate David Evans for receiving a Dissertation Research Fellowship from the UConn Human Rights Institute! Evans is one of two recipients for 2020 who will receive $5,000 to support their primary research. His research interests include human rights, particularly as it relates to the right to adequate food, humanitarianism and foreign aid, and US foreign relations.

Danielle Dumaine and Nathan Braccio Recognized by Aetna Awards

The 2020 Aetna Graduate Critical Writing Award recognized the work of two newly minted History Ph.D.s. Danielle Dumaine received 2nd place and Nathan Braccio received an honorable mention. The award is sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing and recognizes excellent critical nonfiction composed by a graduate student. Winners are awarded cash prizes and publicly recognized at the annual Aetna Celebration of Student Writing.


Ph.D. Candidate Nicole Breault Receives Huntington Fellowship

Nicole Breault, doctoral student, History Department, UConnCongratulations to Ph.D Candidate Nicole Breault who was named the Robert L. Middlekauff Fellow at The Huntington Library for two months in 2020-2021. This short-term award will further Nicole’s research for her dissertation titled “The Night Watch of Boston: Law and Governance in Eighteenth-Century British America”.

Ph.D. Student Kathryn Angelica Receives NYPL Fellowship

Congratulations to Ph.D. student Kathryn Angelica who has received a competitive Short-Term Research Fellowship from the New York Public Library (NYPL). Kathryn was awarded the maximum short-term fellowship for a total of 4 weeks between August 2020 and Fall 2021 (shifted due to Covid-19). At the NYPL, she will look at the United States Sanitary Commission records, specifically all the women led branches, including the Women’s Central Relief Association.