As Jeff, Jen, and I move ever closer to commencement, we want to take a moment to reflect on our time as Civil War Institute fellows. We have been part of this fellows program for three years and spent countless hours researching topics we are passionate about, engaging with the Civil War community, and creating an active academic atmosphere for our fellow budding historians. Our time at Gettysburg may be coming to an end, but the experiences we have had here will continue to shape our futures. Here is what the CWI fellowship means to us:
My involvement with the CWI began the day after my high school graduation when I attended the Summer Conference as a scholarship student. Though I was not necessarily a Civil War buff at the time, I knew at that moment that I wanted to get more involved with the Institute. I began a Fellowship and have enjoyed every minute of it, from researching and writing blogs to becoming the social media coordinator. Being a CWI Fellow has brought me so many opportunities, not only to enhance my academic experience, but also to meet the wonderful staff at the CWI. The Civil War Institute has greatly shaped by experience at Gettysburg, and I am so grateful for my time here. – Jen Simone
Over the past three years, the Civil War Institute Fellows program has allowed me to fight in the war over Civil War history and memory in ways that I could never imagine. During my time as a Fellow, I’ve witnessed and played a part in a very real battle over the memory of the War and Confederate battle flags, interviewing neo-Confederate and Antifa soldiers in that war. I’ve fought in a spat on Twitter over a piece I wrote about President Trump and Reconstruction. I’ve also engaged in meaningful discussions over how we should interact with our hallowed grounds. More recently, I’ve had the opportunity to help shape the interpretation of the Bryan farm on the Gettysburg battlefield. When I look back on my time as a Fellow, these are the experiences that will define my time here, on the front lines of history. – Jeffrey Lauck
I attribute the CWI fellowship with my growth as a historian, an activist, and a member of a tight knit academic community. From the very beginning, the CWI has allowed me to research and bring light to issues that are dear to me, such as wartime sexual assault, gendered history, and pop culture understandings of a shared past. It has also exposed me to and trained me in important historical skills that I have not had the chance to study as an English major, such as historiography. Most valuable to me is the impact our fellows have on the Civil War community and the engagement we have with the public. I am grateful to have had an outlet to combine creative and academic work and find my niche in the field of Civil War Era Studies. – Anika Jensen
We thank you for sticking with us for four years, and we look forward to what the next class of Fellows has to offer.