Graduate Research Associates

With funding from the NHPRC, the Civil War Governors of Kentucky has recruited 23 Graduate Research Associates (GRAs) from premier history programs across the United States to help annotate the project's documents.

The GRAs underscore a core principle of CWGK and KHS, that how the work of history gets done is as important as the fact that it gets done. The GRA positions allow CWGK to nurture research skills in emerging scholars as well as exposing them to digital project startup and management, collaborative work as a member of a research team, the establishment and maintenance of project policies, and the production of historical knowledge in diverse forms for audiences beyond academia. Working as a GRA on the CWGK project not only builds these students' digital humanities skills portfolios, it makes them better scholarly researchers by encouraging them to flip their engagement with the archive and to think seriously about how research collections are built and curated as well as how they are used by audiences beyond academic researchers like themselves.

2023 Graduate Research Associates

A. J. Blaylock is currently finishing his M. A. in History at the University of Alabama under the direction of Dr. Lesley Gordon. His research focuses on African American state militia organizing in the nineteenth-century U. S. South and the intersections of historical memory, military service, and nation building. Prior to joining CWGK, A. J. worked as a graduate assistant for both the Civil War and Reconstruction Governors of Mississippi (CWRGM) and Civil War and Reconstruction Governors of Alabama (CWRGA) digital projects. He has also served as a Graduate Council Fellow and treasurer of the Graduate History Association at UA.

Daniel Farrell is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cincinnati working under the direction of Dr. Christopher Phillips. He studies the politics of loyalty and dissent in the Civil War North. He has published chapters in Useful Captives: The Role of POWs in American Military Conflicts and Southern History on Screen: Race and Rights, 1976-2016.

Jeremy Knoll is a Ph.D. student at The Ohio State University. He studies the military history of the Civil War Era under the direction of Dr. Mark Grimsley and has minor fields in digital history and early U.S. history. His research focuses on military mobilization during the Civil War, using a comparative perspective to determine how Union and Confederate states approached the challenges associated with mobilization. Knoll has previously worked as an interpretive intern at Gettysburg National Military Park and as an intern with the Oral History Program at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

2022 Graduate Research Associates

Matthew Roberts is a direct-track Ph.D. candidate at Auburn University working under Professor Keith Hebert. His research focuses include United States history, Public history, and War & Society. His dissertation examines the role and impact of Confederate military industry during the Civil War and during the fall of the Confederacy. Matthew has worked as both a GTA and GRA and is currently working with the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve.

Stephens is a PhD student at the University of Kentucky working with Dr. Kathryn Newfont. Her research focuses on public health and racism in the nineteenth-century U.S. South. She has worked as a graduate teaching assistant and research assistant at UK. Prior to joining CWGK, she was an AIA-CKC Fellow at the Filson Historical Society. She currently serves as the President of UK's History Graduate Student Association.

Montana Williamson is a Ph.D. candidate at West Virginia University working under the direction of Dr. Brian Luskey. She is currently researching the lives and experiences of enslaved women in Texas.

2021 Graduate Research Associates

Celano is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Virginia studying 19th Century legal history under Dr. Elizabeth Varon. Celano is the current J. Carl Sewell Graduate Research Fellow of Civil War History for the Nau Center at UVA and also works as a graduate teaching assistant and graduate research assistant at UVA. Her Master’s thesis surveyed the erosion of fugitive slave law in Civil War Kentucky, while her dissertation examines the interplay between fugitive slave litigation and civil liberties claims in Kentucky, from the Civil War through the ratification of the 14th Amendment.

McPartland is a PhD candidate at the University of Cincinnati working under Dr. Christopher Phillips. His research focuses on the Southern press and its role in creating, sustaining, and undermining Confederate nationalism. In particular, it examines the regional variances in the South's wartime experiences, and how the press responded to these differences in their war coverage. McPartland is currently the Fellow in the UC Emeriti Oral History project, a digital program working to preserve the institutional memory of emeriti faculty.

Nicholas is a Ph.D. student at West Virginia University. She studies nineteenth-century U.S. history with Dr. Brian Luskey and has minor fields in public history, early America, and British imperialism. Nicholas' research examines the impact of black movement across borderlands during the Civil War. In turn, she also examines how borderlands shaped black movement. Nicholas is currently a GRA for Chronicling America’s NDNP grant with the West Virginia and Regional History Center and a park ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park.

2020 Graduate Research Associates

Phillips is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Alabama. His research examines North Georgia during the Civil War and Reconstruction, with special attention placed on race, identity, loyalty, and patterns of irregular violence across the region. Phillips currently serves as the assistant editor to the Southern Historian graduate journal and will transition to editor for the 2020-2021 academic year. Prior to joining CWGK, he served as a graduate research and digital assistant at the University of Alabama's W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library and Archives.

Bailey is a Ph.D. student at West Virginia University, where she studies under Dr. Jason Phillips.  Her research on the political economy of the West Virginia statehood movement focuses on the tensions between competing interests which shaped this important border state’s transition to independent statehood.  Bailey has worked as both a graduate teaching assistant and as a graduate research assistant at WVU.  As a part of her public history minor field, Bailey has worked extensively on a multi-semester local and public history project in rural Pocahontas County, West Virginia which focuses on the intersection of industrial and cultural changes that accompanied extractive timber operations.

2019 Graduate Research Associates

DeVelvis is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of South Carolina studying the nineteenth-century U.S. South under Dr. Mark Smith. Her dissertation examines gender and secession in South Carolina and the intersection of emotion and politics. DeVelvis also works as an interpretive guide for the Historic Columbia Foundation and as a graduate manuscript processing assistant at the South Caroliniana Library. Most recently, she processed the collection of the late Bishop John Hurst Adams, Civil Rights and religious leader.

Thomas is a history Ph.D. candidate at Auburn University studying Civil War-era America under Dr. Kenneth Noe. He received two degrees in Economics and History from Emory & Henry College and an M.A. in History from the University of North Florida  . While at UNF, he defended a master’s thesis that explored the Civil War soldier’s transition from citizen to soldier, and he also worked closely with the Jacksonville Historical Society. At Auburn, in addition to his duties as a graduate teaching assistant for the history department, Thomas has worked as an editor and author for the Encyclopedia of Alabama, a cultural resource specialist for the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities, and a graduate research assistant for Dr. Elijah Gaddis, who co-founded Community Histories Workshop. Thomas’s dissertation research combines the methods of environmental and military historians in order to understand the relationship between Civil War soldiers and military encampments. Thomas plans to teach an upper-level Civil War and Reconstruction course this summer at Auburn, and in the fall and spring he is scheduled to teach World History survey courses.

2018 Graduate Research Associates

Kirk is a history Ph.D. student at the University of Virginia studying the Civil War and Reconstruction under Dr. Elizabeth Varon. A 2015 graduate of Gettysburg College, her research interests focus on the immediate post-war period and Civil War memory. After graduating from Gettysburg, Kirk entered the public history world and worked at the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia, as the Lead Historical Interpreter and Visitor Engagement Supervisor. While there, she spoke on various topics related to Civil War history and memory, and even learned how to fire a rifled musket and a cannon. Now back in the academic world, Kirk is currently writing her master’s thesis on the Norfolk Race Riot that occurred in Norfolk, Virginia, in April 1866.

Somers is a history Ph.D. student at the University of Southern Mississippi studying the era of the American Civil War and Reconstruction under Dr. Susannah J. Ural. He received a B.A. and M.A. in History from Western Kentucky University where he served as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Institute for Civil War Studies and completed a master’s thesis in which he explored the reported dreams and visions of Abraham Lincoln. While at USM, Somers has worked as a graduate researcher for the Beauvoir Veteran Project and is working toward the Graduate Certificate in Public History. Somers aims to write a dissertation which will examine ways communities in the South dealt with the trauma and suffering of the Civil War.


2016-2017 Graduate Research Associates

Buchkoski is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of history at the University of Oklahoma. Her research examines emigration aid companies and the idea of “benevolent colonization” in the Civil War American West. Her work has been published in Perspectives on History and the Journal of the Civil War Era

Campbell graduated with his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida in 2014, Magna Cum Laude, and continues his studies as a graduate student at that institution. His research investigates Southern dissent during the Civil War, with a focus on soldiers’ motivations to join Union regiments in southern states. Tyler is also interested in Florida history and digital applications for historical research, specifically the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Tyler has published a paper in the Florida Conference of Historians Annals and is working on several forthcoming digital projects on Florida history.

Kinslow is a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University. She entered the program in 2011 and is working with Nina Silber. Her dissertation, "Contesting the Centennial," examines the relationship between the 1876 World's Fair and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Far from being a united event, the celebration underscored cultural, political, and racial differences in the country and Americans contested the Centennial. She has presented her work at numerous conferences. In addition, her reviews have appeared in Civil War History and the Civil War Monitor. She has also contributed to the American Yawp and Ideas and Movements in American History.

A 2016 recipient of a M.A. in History from Florida State University, McAllister’s Master’s Thesis research focused on sexual assault and rape during the Civil War. He is continuing to pursue his Ph.D. at Florida State. Prior to earning his graduate degree in history, James worked for the State of Florida for fifteen years in a variety of positions including software development. He used his project management experience to organize the Florida State Graduate Conference in the spring of 2016.

Nasta is a Ph.D. Candidate in U.S. History at Northwestern University, with a focus in African American and socio-legal history. His dissertation, “Making Slavery’s Borders: Legal Culture and the Transformation of Slavery’s Northwestern Frontier, 1787-1865,” examines how diverse groups gave legal meaning to the Mississippi River border between gradually-free and slave states. Nasta has held fellowships in The Chabraja Center for Historical Studies and Wesleyan University’s Writing Program, where he has mentored students in historical research and writing.

A 2014 recipient of a B.A. in History from Murray State University O’Daniel is currently a M.A. in History student at the University of Louisville.  She studies race, gender, and religion in nineteenth century Kentucky.  O’Daniel previously interned in digital oral history collections at KHS and Murray State University.  She assisted and co-produced digital projects at UofL, including Parkland Neighborhood History: Memories of Resistance and Rebirth in a West Louisville Community (2015), Discover Indiana (2016), and a digital story, All of our Grandmothers, for the art exhibition Capturing Women's History: Quilts, Activism, and Storytelling (2016).

Powell is ABD in the Department of History at Mississippi State University. His research interests focus on identity construction and concepts of union in Maryland during the Civil War and Reconstruction.  Powell is currently interning at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library in Starkville, Mississippi, helping to annotate a new edition of Grant’s memoirs.  In 2014, he wrote “The Postmaster and the General: Benjamin Franklin and Edward Braddock in Frederick,” an article published in Catoctin History. He teaches history at the Whitby School in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Whittaker is a M.A. student with the University of Cincinnati History Department. His work focuses on nineteenth century United States political history, particularly in the Border South. Past research topics include third party use of mass media, the Election of 1860 in Kentucky, and the Constitutional Union Party. Sam graduated from the University of Louisville with a B.A. in History in 2015. Prior to joining CWG-K, he worked as an archival assistant at the Senator Mitch McConnell and Secretary Elaine L. Chao Archives.