Four to experience off-campus destinations with history award

A special award is paving the way for four Cornell students to study history and conduct research off campus.

Elizabeth Coghlan ’19, Tessa McEarchern ’19, Amy Harrison ’18, and Lily Niswonger ’18 recently received the Richard H. Thomas History Scholar Awards.

The award honors the educational legacy of Rev. Richard H. Thomas, professor emeritus of history, chaplain emeritus, and college historian, who remains an important member of the Hilltop and surrounding community. The endowment was created with a generous gift from the family of Thomas with the goal of supporting Cornell students’ opportunities for off-campus research, study, and experiential learning.

Amy Harrison
Amy Harrison ’18

McEarchern and Harrison will use their awards to participate in Professor Misha Quill’s new course in anthropology, Changing Ireland, which takes place in Ireland Block 2 during the fall of 2017. The course will feature visits to key historical and archaeological sites, which will include Newgrange, Trinity College, Book of Kells, Cork Gaol, and sites like Skellig Michael. Students will also visit standing stones and dolmens (portal tombs) used in the Neolithic Period. Students will each pick a topic for individual research and will use what they learn on the trip, as well as independent reading, to write a final paper.

Coghlan will use the money to help cover the cost of her participation in Professor Carol Enns’ Psychology of the Holocaust course offered in Europe next spring, Block 7 of 2018.

Lily Niswonger and Elizabeth Coghlan
Niswonger ’18 & Coghlan ’19

Niswonger will use the award to support her summer internship in public history with the Historical Society of Denver. She’s helping to survey historic buildings and educate the public about important figures in the city’s history, such as “The Unsinkable” Molly Brown  who became a progressive community leader and philanthropist.

This internship will allow me to put my passion for American history towards an organization that is advocating and doing valuable work for its community,” Niswonger said. “It will give me an opportunity to play an active role in a number of programs and will provide me with direct experience working in historic preservation and project management. After I graduate from Cornell, I hope to work in a museum as an exhibit and program coordinator or in historical preservation.”

The Richard H. Thomas History Scholar Award is available to students with history majors and history minors. The department considers applicants based on the student’s academic standing, the value of the proposed off-campus opportunity to the student’s career objectives, and documentation of financial need.