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ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award Winners

The ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award recognizes exceptional and unusually interesting work produced by doctoral students. Each year Rackham invites faculty to nominate the dissertations produced in their programs that were outstanding. The nomination dossiers submitted then are read and discussed by a review panel of faculty members who identify the finalists. Then, members of the Michigan Society of Fellows read the finalists’ dissertations, review the merits, and select the winners. Listed here as well are the Distinguished Dissertation Award honorable mentions, who also produced outstanding and noteworthy dissertations.

The recipients of this year’s dissertation awards are:

The Graduate Student Summer: Fostering a Balanced Summer Self

For those of us who grew up in the American public school system, it is hard to forget those blissful days when the ring of the final bell on the final day of school meant three months of blissful summer freedom. Yes, many of us still had “work” to do over the summer: summer jobs, perhaps, or summer school and studying to help us “get ahead” or “catch up” in one way or another. But despite those responsibilities, the summers of my childhood were always a chance to take a deep breath and recuperate from the fast pace of the fall, winter, and spring months. A chance to get lost in the woods behind my house, swim in a muddy river, and spend evenings at the local drive-in (yes, we had one of those).

Writing the Dissertation, One Chapter at a Time

As a Ph.D. Candidate in History, I'm working on the intersections between the history of American antislavery and the history of families. My dissertation traces the journey of African American families as they migrated from North America to West Africa during the early nineteenth century, locating settlers and missionaries as they established new lives for themselves in the American colonies at Liberia. These migrants often kept in close contact with family members that remained in the United States after the Atlantic crossing was made, and I have been working on uncovering the histories of these connections.

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