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Summer History Fellows engage with creative research

Monday, August 19, 2019 - 11:04am
By:
Alan Flurry

The history department hosted eight undergraduate students during July for the History Fellows Summer Institute. The program is an opportunity to share the University of Georgia with college students from underrepresented groups attending schools around the region and to build better relationships with their institutions. The focus of the History Fellows Summer Institute is to create broad new inroads for underrepresented students from Georgia and beyond on campus, including women in STEM disciplines, older returning students, military veterans and first-generation college students. 

“Very few history departments are running anything like our summer program, and we’re excited and optimistic about its potential. Diversifying higher education is a huge priority, and recent studies suggest that improving the pipelines into graduate school is the key to success,” said Stephen Berry, the Gregory Professor of the Civil War Era and faculty coordinator of the summer program. “Our program is also a lot of fun. It is an intensive residential experience, so we all get to know each other well, which gives us a chance to gel as a cohort. The talent and energy of these students is incredible.”

The Summer Fellows spent July at UGA living on campus and becoming immersed in the rigors of historical research. Under the supervision of faculty, fellows learn how to work in archival materials, interpret photography and material culture, create digital projects, formulate arguments about the past and manage their own research projects. In addition to their time in the classroom, the group also spent time at historical landmarks in Georgia including the Chief Vann House, a brick home constructed in 1804 by James Vann, a Cherokee Native American leader and wealthy businessman. 

Now in its second year, the program has evolved to include a specific research project for each of the students focused around a theme. This year’s theme was “The Water Project,” inspired by the Global Georgia Initiative at the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. 

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