CWGK Welcomes Graduate Research Associates—Scott Ackerman and Brianna Kirk

Once again, with funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the Civil War Governors of Kentucky (CWGK) recruited two Graduate Research Associates (GRAs) from premier history programs across the United States to help annotate 300 documents in 2018.

The GRAs underscore a core principle of CWGK and KHS, that how the work of history gets done is as important as the fact that it gets done. The GRA positions allow CWGK to nurture research skills in emerging scholars as well as exposing them to digital project startup and management, collaborative work as a member of a research team, the establishment and maintenance of project policies, and the production of historical knowledge in diverse forms for audiences beyond academia. Working as a GRA on the CWGK project not only builds these students’ digital humanities skills portfolios, it makes them better scholarly researchers by encouraging them to flip their engagement with the archive and to think seriously about how research collection are built and curated as well as how they are used by audiences beyond academic researchers like themselves.

The 2018 GRA class is as follows:

Scott Ackerman
City University of New York

Ackerman is a Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His dissertation, entitled “Men Whose Hearts Are In The Work’: The Union Army and the Implementation of Federal Emancipation Policy, 1862-1865,” examines the links between military emancipation and the broader antislavery agenda of the Republican Party. He holds an MA in American History from George Mason University and a BA in history from Dickinson College. A practicing museum professional and public historian, he has previously worked for President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C., and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. He currently serves as a Writing Across the Curriculum Fellow at Bronx Community College.

Brianna Kirk
University of Virginia

Kirk is a history Ph.D. student at the University of Virginia studying the Civil War and Reconstruction under Dr. Elizabeth Varon. A 2015 graduate of Gettysburg College, her research interests focus on the immediate post-war period and Civil War memory. After graduating from Gettysburg, Kirk entered the public history world and worked at the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia, as the Lead Historical Interpreter and Visitor Engagement Supervisor. While there, she spoke on various topics related to Civil War history and memory, and even learned how to fire a rifled musket and a cannon. Now back in the academic world, Kirk is currently writing her master’s thesis on the Norfolk Race Riot that occurred in Norfolk, Virginia, in April 1866.