Graduate Students Win Fellowships and Research Grants

Author: Mike Weiler

Four doctoral students in the Department of History won external awards this year—including a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship and a Fulbright grant—that will allow them to advance their research while traveling to countries such as Peru, Ukraine, France, and Switzerland.

“These prestigious awards reflect both the range and the quality of research conducted by history graduate students at Notre Dame,” says Thomas F.X. Noble, chairman of the Department of History. “We are pleased they are being recognized and that they have these new opportunities to continue their work abroad.”

Colonial Peru

Katy Kole

“I find colonial Latin American history fascinating because it sheds light on the processes of conflict and accommodation between pre–Columbian cultures and the Spanish Empire,” says Kole, who conducted research in Peru this summer.Katy Kole is using her four–year Javits fellowship to continue her study of colonial Latin American history. Her most recent project examines Lima’s municipal council and the legal framework it constructed with respect to urbanization and natural resource management from 1535–1585. In the course of her research, she will use the fellowship to further develop her language skills in Spanish, Quechua, and Latin.

“I am in a special position because the Javits fellowship provides the unique opportunity to begin intensive research at an early stage in a doctoral program,” she adds. “It allows for more time to research and I will still be able to finish the program within a reasonable amount of time.”

The Javits is one of the most competitive federal fellowships, awarded to approximately 30 exceptional students each year from a variety of fields in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Winners are chosen on the basis of achievement, promise, and financial need.

Students must apply during the first year of graduate study, which can be an added challenge, Kole says. That is why she feels “extraordinarily grateful” to Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C. College of Arts and Letters Chair Sabine MacCormack and William P. Reynolds Professor of History Felipe Fernández–Armesto for supporting her proposal.

Military Research

Mike Westrate

“By collecting their personal archives and conducting interviews, I will research how these families negotiated shifting social, cultural, and political realities from Khrushchev’s ouster to the eve of the Orange Revolution,” he says. “Analyzing the experiences of this group will broaden our understanding of the Soviet Union, the ‘new’ Ukraine, and transitional societies generally, uncovering the roots of both change and continuity.”Mike Westrate, who studies modern Russian and Eurasian history, received a Fulbright grant to complete research for his dissertation on the lives of eastern Ukraine’s military families from the 1960s to the present.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program funds up to a year of research and study abroad in more than 140 countries. Approximately 1,000 winners are selected each year, based on their academic and leadership potential.

Westrate says he has already accessed some of the program’s benefits, including assistance from the U.S. Department of State and the opportunity to network with distinguished alumni of the Fulbright program.

“The Fulbright is much more than money,” he says. “For example, Ukraine is famous for bureaucratic red tape and corruption, but the State Department maintains a year–round Fulbright office in Kiev, and the people there have already used their connections and gravitas to help me.”

Identity Formation

Graduate student Adam Asher Duker received a three–year Harvey Fellowship from the Mustard Seed Foundation. The Harvey Fellows Program provides scholarships to Christian graduate students who are pursuing graduate studies in leading programs at premier institutions. His research examines how the Old Testament shaped the identity of French Protestants and Catholics during the 16th century Wars of Religion. His fellowship award will help fund the purchase of research materials and support travel to conferences and archives in France and Switzerland.

Christopher Lane was awarded a Bourse Jeanne Marandon from the Sociètè des Professeurs Français et Francophones d’Amèrique. He is spending this year doing research in France, including at the Archives Nationales and the Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne in Paris. Lane’s dissertation focuses on the formation of youth—including vocation—in early modern France.

The Bourse Jeanne Marandon is a humanities fellowship for U.S. graduate students studying in France or Quebec. The Harvey Fellows Program provides scholarships to Christian graduate students in fields the Mustard Seed Foundation considers to be underrepresented by Christians.

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