Gilkey Scholarship Winners Announced


Murphy Library is pleased to announce the two recipients of the 2018 George Gilkey – Special Collections Research Scholarship: Rebekah Bain and Erika Lichtfuss.

The scholarship is open to any current UWL student enrolled full-time and in good academic standing.  Applicants must submit a single-authored intellectual product that used materials from Special Collections or the Area Research Center.  The works will be judged on the research use of Special Collections, development and argumentation of the ideas presented, originality of the research, quality of writing and documentation, and overall or potential contribution to academic scholarship.

First place winner Rebekah Bain wrote the paper “Language and Identity: Transition from German to English in La Crosse, Wisconsin” for a History 490 class. She made extensive use of Special Collections materials including church vertical files, manuscript collections, the La Crosse Tribune, Nordstern, church anniversary publications, and more. Rebekah also received an undergraduate research grant to create the project “History On the Go” in coordination with the La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility. For that project, she researched the history of local transportation and printed trivia facts on signs on city buses. The signs contained QR codes connecting people to trivia answers and a survey about their experiences on the city buses, which will be submitted to the Municipal Transit Utility at the end of the semester. Rebekah also worked with Alicia Carlson to create the highly-successful Special Collections Trivia Night, a first-ever event that exposed many students to Special Collections resources.

Rebekah will graduate this spring with a degree in history — public and policy emphasis, and a German minor. She has applied to several graduate programs in history and library information science and plans to afterwards work in the archival field at an academic institution.

Second place winner Erika Lichtfuss wrote the paper “Demographics Unearthed: Social Constructs Recreated in Oak Grove Cemetery,” also for a History 490 class. For her research, Erika made extensive use of Oak Grove Cemetery burial records on microfilm from the years 1880 and 1920, the Board of Trade Annual Report booklets from 1879 through 1905, and some maps and other less utilized items. She unearthed the demographics of the cemetery, which revealed a separation along class lines manifested in the nature of the lot sections and monuments. Erika shared her findings in a presentation at the Wisconsin History Society’s Eleventh Annual Local History and Historic Preservation Conference.

Erika will be a senior next year. She is majoring in social studies education in the Broadfield Social Studies program, has a TESOL minor, and plans to be a high school teacher in any of the social sciences, but preferably in history.

The George Gilkey Special Collections Research Scholarship Fund is administered through the UWL Foundation.