Prestigious Fellowship Awarded to Texas Tech Graduate Student

Valerie McKito, a doctoral student in the Department of History recently won a short-term residential research fellowship.

Written by: Gretchen Pressley

A doctoral student in the Department of History at Texas Tech recently won one of 14 short-term residential research fellowships awarded by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York.

Valerie McKito, the first fellowship winner from Texas Tech, will spend the month of July 2007 at the institute, where she will use its extensive library and research collection to study historical documents relating to her dissertation work.

“The Gilder Fellowship is very prestigious but is not well known here,” McKito said. “There are a number of exciting things about this fellowship. The level of access to the collections I get is phenomenal. They will enable me to get a large amount of research done in one place.”

McKito’s dissertation is called In the Shadow of Victory: Loyalists in the aftermath of the Revolution. She is studying the influence of Loyalists who left America after the Revolutionary War, went to various countries within the British Empire, and then returned to the United States, rising to prominence in their communities.

“It’s a topic in history that hasn’t really been explored,” McKito said. “Upon their return, these men really weren’t seen as Loyalists. It’s a very different take on the creation of America.”

According to the institute’s Web site, McKito will have access to the Gilder Lehrman Collection, containing more than 60,000 documents detailing the political and social history of the United States. The collection's holdings include manuscript letters, diaries, maps, photographs, printed books and pamphlets ranging from 1493 through modern times. Fellowship stipends range from $1,500 to $4,000.

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CONTACT: Valerie McKito, doctoral student in the Department of History, (806) 742-1004 or