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Uncommon Sense

By oieahc · December 13, 2019

Meet the OI apprentices

apprentices 11 min read

As the fall semester at W&M winds to a close, we at the Omohundro Institute are particularly grateful for the work of the OI Editorial Apprentices. The decades-long program introduces entering graduate students to the practices of scholarly publishing and historical editing. Each year, students participate in two weeks of full-time training in August, followed by part-time work during the academic year on OI books and the William and Mary Quarterly. Over the years, apprentices have gone on to careers in academic and trade publishing or documentary editing. Many have continued to pursue research and teaching, armed with a better understanding of historical documentation, writing, and publishing conventions.

Here they are in their own words.

Erna Andersson: I am a second-year Ph.D. candidate in the American Studies Program, where I interrogate the function of fictional orphans in American literature and how they inform—and are informed by—American identity formations. Before coming to William & Mary, I studied at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, where I also worked as a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. I wanted to be an OI apprentice because I have a deep-rooted fascination with words, text, and context, and I wanted to learn more about how words wind up in texts and why.

Laura Beltran-Rubio: I am a Ph.D. student in the American Studies Program at William & Mary. I completed my bachelor’s degree in economics at the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, and my M.A. in fashion studies at Parsons School of Design in New York. My research lies at the intersection of dress history and art history, with an emphasis on the early modern Atlantic world. I expect to complete a dissertation that studies the different iterations of fashionable styles, their importance in the construction of local identities and artistic practices, and their role as an economic force in late-colonial Spanish America. Along with my dissertation research, I am working on a digital database of resources for the study of fashion in colonial Spanish America. As an OI apprentice, I hope to be exposed to the current literature on vast early America and to learn more about the process of editing and publishing academic work.

Sarah Donovan: After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history from Lycoming College in 2017, I went on to earn my M.A. in history at SUNY Brockport in 2019. I am excited to be continuing my education at William & Mary. In addition to my academic study of history, I have also remained passionate about public history, and I have worked as a historical interpreter at the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford, N.Y. In my research at William & Mary, I am interested in the creation of identity through extralegal violence along the mid-Atlantic frontier on the eve of the American Revolution. I am very excited to be working with the Georgian Papers Programme as a digital apprentice, and I am looking forward to learning more about how digital humanities projects reach a broader public.

Justin Estreicher: I received my BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania. My research focuses on the interactions of Native and Euro-American societies, assimilation policy, and issues of representation and colonial ideologies, primarily in the nineteenth century. Though not an early Americanist, I am drawn to the OI editorial apprenticeship for the opportunity to gain experience in the world of academic publishing at an institution known for high-quality scholarship. My prior experiences as an undergraduate writing tutor and a member of the Penn History Review editorial board had already exposed me to the critical role of the editor in the presentation and dissemination of scholarly knowledge, leading me to view editorial work as an exciting potential career path.

Tamia K. Haygood: Before beginning my graduate studies in history at William & Mary, I taught high school social studies in Charlotte, North Carolina. My research interests focus on the study of bound labor in the Atlantic world. I was drawn to apprentice work for the OI because I would like to learn more about the process of academic publication.

Bennett Herson-Roeser: I am currently an M.A. student at William & Mary interested in studying the legal development of the U.S. territorial system and colonial encounters in the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. From Green Bay, Wisconsin. originally, I graduated from Carleton College in 2018 with a B.A. in political science. Following graduation, I served through AmeriCorps as a high school Promise Fellow, designing an online credit recovery program for seniors and running my school’s study center. I chose to attend William & Mary because of its excellence in the field of early American history, and I am excited to work at the Omohundro Institute and be at the forefront of efforts to move the field toward a more “vast” early America.    

Yusuf Mansoor: I am a 2019 graduate from the George Washington University, where I majored in history and international affairs. My research at William & Mary focuses on Native Americans in early colonial New England. Having used many of the works published by the Omohundro Institute in my undergraduate experience, I am eager to work as an apprentice with the OI.

Jen Motter: I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in history. After graduation, I spent time abroad in the Netherlands learning the Dutch language at Leiden University. I came to William & Mary to continue my studies of early modern history in the Dutch Atlantic, and am currently looking forward to working with the Curaçao Papers in my research. As an OI apprentice, I enjoy being at the forefront of academic publishing and being a part of this collaborative effort.

Kayla Pittman:  I am a Ph.D. student in history at William & Mary and come most recently from the University of Connecticut in the Institute of Materials Science, where I worked as an administrative assistant in the director’s office. Before that, I worked for Historic Westville in Columbus, Ga., as the Director of Education and for Wethersfield Historical Society in Wethersfield, Conn., as the Director of Research and Interpretation. I am currently interested in studying the impact slavery had on gendered knowledge in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, with a specific focus on women before and after Indian Removal. Currently, I serve as the digital apprentice for the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, where I hope to gain a better understanding of how historians employ digital platforms to broaden their accessibility to diverse audiences. 

Eliot Warren: I received my undergraduate degree in political science and history from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. I originally thought my career would be in politics and that my history degree would be more or less just for fun. However, the more I delved into historical research, the more I realized history was my real passion. My research focuses on the Atlantic world, specifically on the British and the French. Within this context I am fascinated by revolutions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and how ordinary people participated in them. I am excited to be an OI apprentice so that I can dive deeper into the world of academic publishing and learn about the processes that go into producing scholarly books and journal articles.

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