Texas Tech Graduate Student Earns Second Prestigious Fellowship

A graduate student in the Department of History earns her second fellowship to aid in researching her dissertation.

Written by: Gretchen Pressley

A doctoral student in the Department of History at Texas Tech recently won a Hall J. and Kate Peterson Fellowship for 2007-08, awarded by the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass.

Valerie McKito will spend the month of July 2008 with the society, where she will use its research collection to study historical documents relating to her dissertation work. The society is the premier research library for American history and culture prior to 1876.

Approximately 20 fellows are named each year from a national competition that includes all ranks in all fields of the humanities working in the time period.

"The American Antiquarian Society was founded in 1812 and has since become one of the premier libraries for America's early period from colonialism to the Civil War," McKito said. "One of the Loyalists I am researching for my dissertation actually helped found the society. Needless to say, the Peterson Fellowship to its library is tremendously important to my project."

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."

Valerie McKito also earned one of 14 short-term residential research fellowships awarded by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York. The first fellowship winner from Texas Tech, she will spend the month of July 2007 researching her dissertation at the institute.

CONTACT: Valerie McKito, doctoral student in the Department of History, (806) 742-1004 or valerie.h.mckito@ttu.edu