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Doctoral Student Earns Competitive Summer Fellowship

University of Mississippi doctoral student Sarah Heying has earned a highly competitive fellowship that will send her to Texas A&M University this summer to participate in a unique research opportunity.

UM doctoral student Sarah Heying plans to spend the summer at Texas A&M University conducting research funded by the Liberal Arts/Cushing Library Don Kelly Research Collection Fellowship. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services.

Heying, a second-year Ph.D. student in English, will have access to the Don Kelly Research Collection of Gay Literature and Culture housed in Texas A&M’s Cushing Memorial Library and Archives. The fellowship will give Heying a chance to advance her research on the ways national and regional periodicals provided outlets for LGBTQ people to stay connected before the internet age.

“It’s incredibly validating that the librarians and selection committee at the archives see value in my work,” Heying said. “It’s exciting when someone says, ‘We’re interested in what you’re doing and want to make sure you can keep doing it.’”

The Liberal Arts/Cushing Library Don Kelly Research Collection Fellowship will fund Heying’s expenses over the duration of her stay. While there, she will take advantage of her access to the renowned collection and write about her findings.

Heying said access to the archives will provide material for her dissertation, and the work she produces during the fellowship also will be on display.

“At the end of my stay, I’ll give a public lecture or presentation on what I’ve found,” she said. “Any work that’s produced from my research will also be stored at the library.”

Heying, originally from Kansas City, Missouri, stood out among other candidates through a rigorous application process.

She said the selection helps validate her research aspirations.

“It shows me that people want to hear more about what I work so hard to research, which, at this early stage in my degree program, will give me the fuel, confidence and material I need to write my way to a dissertation,” Heying said.

Heying earned her master’s degree in creative writing at McNeese State University before enrolling at Ole Miss to pursue her doctorate. She is president of OUTGrads, the university’s LGBTQ+ organization for graduate and professional students.

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