From the CWI to the Green and Grey

By Eric J. Mink

In this third of our three-part series on the CWI conference scholarship program, NPS historian Eric Mink reflects on the program’s impact on his decision to pursue a career in public history.

NOTE: Applications to participate in the 2017 High School Student Scholarship Program are due February 15 at 4:00 pm.

Brochures from the 1987 Civil War Institute Summer Conference.
Brochures from the 1987 Civil War Institute Summer Conference.

I first attended the Civil War Institute Summer Conference at Gettysburg College on a student scholarship in 1987. As a rising high school senior, the Institute opened my eyes to see battlefields and Civil War history in a different way and it proved to be a formative experience that would help to define both my educational and career paths.

When I was eleven, my family moved to Gettysburg. For me, it was a wonderful place to grow up and indulge an interest in the Civil War. My family’s house sat just half a block from the fields across which Lee sent his divisions on July 3, 1863. I poured over my father’s copy of William Frassanito’s photographic study of Gettysburg and rode my bike to find the same rocks pictured in the wartime images. I first heard about the Institute from my high school history teacher, Terry Fox, who knew of my interest in the Civil War and suggested that I apply for one of the student scholarships offered by the Institute. When I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship sponsored by the Lincoln Group of D.C., I honestly did not know what to expect from the conference and certainly had no idea how much I would come to value that one week’s experience. Continue reading “From the CWI to the Green and Grey”