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History Student Awarded Prestigious Fellowship

Ashleen Williams

A doctoral student at the University of Mississippi who recently was recognized as a future leader in higher education has been selected to receive a second prestigious academic award.

Ashleen Williams, who also teaches in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, is among the 2021 recipients of the National Humanities Without Walls Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.

Graduate students from across the country selected for this program will engage in intensive discussions with organizers of public humanities projects, leaders of university presses and learned societies, experts in the various domains of the digital humanities, representatives of governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and holders of important nonfaculty positions in colleges and universities.

Williams is the first Ole Miss student to be named an HWW fellow.

“This is going to be an incredible way to think about career diversity and the ways in which I can pursue a career in the humanities,” Williams said. “It is also an important opportunity to consider public humanities, and how the humanities shape and are shaped by the community.

“As a recipient, now my goal is to share information and strategies with other humanities students based on the information I gain through the workshops.”

The HWW workshop is a limited submission application with a nomination from the dean of the Graduate School. It is designed to help participants explore diverse future careers, particularly those outside of academia and/or the traditional tenure-track university system.

The 2021 winners will be recognized at the group’s first virtual Pre-Doctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshop in summer 2021.

“The stipend from the award allows me to focus on being a fully engaged fellow throughout the three-week workshop,” Williams said. “After the workshop, I think it will assist me in continuing to pursue work in the community that I am passionate about.”

Williams’ recognition is well deserved, said Vivian Ibrahim, director of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement.

“The funds and predoctoral career diversity workshop will complement Ashleen’s commitment to the centrality and value of humanities in our society,” said Ibrahim, who is Williams’ dissertation adviser.

Williams’ honor speaks well of the caliber of instruction occurring within the UM Arch Dalrymple III Department of History, said Marc Lerner, associate professor of history.

“The history department is thrilled by the news that Ashleen has won the Humanities Without Walls award,” he said.

Earlier this year, Williams was given the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ annual K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award. That award recognizes graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education and who are committed to academic innovation in the areas of equity, community engagement, and teaching and learning.

As an undergraduate at the University of Montana, Williams was president of the Associated Students and a student/student mentor at the Davidson Honors College. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and history and also studied Arabic as a Georgetown-Qatar Fellow at Qatar University and at the Yemen College for Middle East studies in Sana’a.

For more information about HWW, its workshop or the Pre-Doctoral Fellows Program, click here.

By Edwin B. Smith

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