History Student Awarded $33,000 Fellowship

By Laila Rashid, CHASS Dean’s Office Student Intern
June 28, 2013

Kevin Whalen, a Ph.D. student in the department of history, was recently awarded a $33,000 dissertation completion fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies. According to the Mellon/ACLS, the fellowship supports a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and related social sciences in the final year of Ph.D. dissertation writing. Criteria used in judging the applicants include the quality of the proposal and its potential to make an original and significant contribution to knowledge. This was the seventh annual competition for the fellowship–65 fellowships will be awarded for the 2013-2014 academic year with the total award being up to $33,000.

His dissertation titled “Beyond School Walls: Race, Labor, and Indian Education in Southern California, 1902-1940,” which he expects to complete in 2014, discusses how students at Sherman Institute were not isolated or trapped, but rather they actively sought out wage labor jobs and moved to urban areas to transition into the rapidly industrializing Western United States. The Sherman Institute became Sherman Indian High School in 1970, a Native American boarding school to help American Indian children in their attempted assimilation.

Mr. Whalen recently presented additional research titled “Indian School and Company Town: Sherman Student-Laborers at Fontana Farms Company, 1907-1930 in a UCR symposium in February. Clifford E. Trafzer, Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs at UC Riverside and co-editor of the recently published book “The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images from Sherman Institute,” said Whalen used documents from Sherman Museum and those found in three branches of the National Archives to conduct groundbreaking research.

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