Elizabeth Kolmer Award
The Elizabeth Kolmer Award is given annually to honor teaching and mentoring in the field of American Studies and service to MAASA. The $250 cash prize is named in honor of former MAASA President Sr. Elizabeth Kolmer, professor emerita in History and American Studies at St. Louis University and the first recipient of the award.
Michael McCollum, left, Melissa Ford, Matt Mancini, and Adam Kloppe
Dr. Matt Mancini, chair of the American Studies Department at St. Louis University, was honored with the $250 Elizabeth Kolmer Award for mentoring and service at the 2012 conference in Tulsa. Matt served as the MAASA President in 2002–2003, was the program chair for MAASA conferences in 2002 and 2006, and has helped to produce the MAASA newsletter. Colleagues hailed him for his commitment to American Studies as a discipline and his effort in building both SLU’s program and a community of American Studies scholars. Nominations emphasized his deep intellectual engagement with graduate students, which resulted most recently in the awarding of a Gabriel prize to SLU Ph.D. Rob Hawkins. Nominating letters noted that his work duly honors Elizabeth Kolmer’s legacy, and that many of his former students are “trying to carry Dr. Mancini’s legacy forward by mentoring our own graduate students with the same care that we were mentored.”
Dr. Marguerite Shaffer of the American Studies Department at Miami University of Ohio was selected as the winner of the $250 Elizabeth Kolmer Award for mentoring and service. Peggy has been the director of the program for a decade, during which she reinvented the program and created an “Acting Locally” think tank for students that encouraged them to turn their intellectual engagements into real social change. Her commitment to fostering public culture is evident in both her undergraduate courses and her research, for which she’s lauded as a “model of the engaged scholar-teacher.”
John Raeburn (PhD, American Civilization, Penn), professor of American Studies and English at the University of Iowa, where he has taught American 20th-century cultural history, American photography, American film, American literature after 1865, and the history of the book since 1974, was the recipient of the 2010 Elizabeth Kolmer award for graduate mentoring. Professor Raeburn’s students thank him for teaching them to become stronger writers, leading job search information sessions, writing recommendation letters “famous for their thoroughness and persuasiveness,” and providing generous professional and emotional support during and after graduate school. “Perhaps most of all,” one student wrote, John “has provided me with a model for a balanced, responsible, and caring teacher and academic professional… [who] knew that the academic world was not the center of the universe, and that other personal needs sometimes trumped professional success.”