by Julie Lineback

The University of West Georgia’s College of Arts and Humanities (COAH) recently announced this academic year’s recipients of the COAH Graduate Studies Fellowship for Underrepresented Minority Students.

The awardees of the fellowship’s second round are Amber “Deni” Harling, music; Daiyaan Hutson, English; and Heather Rodriguez, history. Each will receive $500 to use for professional development, conference travel, books or supplies; mentorship and support from faculty; out-of-state waivers; and leadership opportunities within the college.

The initiative extends from COAH and the Graduate School’s commitment to the value of inclusiveness, one UWG places at the core of its vision to be the best place to work, learn and succeed. It aims to help increase the number of underrepresented minority students who complete graduate degrees in the college.

“Diversifying our graduate student body is one of the single most important things we can do to provide a rich educational environment reflective of the real world they will face upon graduation,” said Dr. Pauline Gagnon, COAH dean.

Amber “Deni” Harling

Amber “Deni” Harling“For my graduate recital, I want to do something not just out of the ordinary, but something that stands out. I’ve always surrounded myself with the concept of love – not just personal but also professional and spiritual. So I looked up levels of love based on ancient Greek psychology. People don’t think about all the levels. People tend to associate love with pleasure or marriage, but it’s deeper than that. Love is everything, and I believe sending that message will get people thinking.”

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan; Conyers, Georgia

Major: Music education

Research: Repertoire centered on theme of love

What faculty says about her: “Deni is a standout among her peers in her pursuit of professional and personal goals. As a singer, she enjoys the challenge of performing and exploring varied musical styles. She brings her teaching and mass communications skills into play through a variety of scholastic and community events and projects. Classmates, faculty and coworkers enjoy her enthusiastic approach to life.” –Dr. Dawn McCord, associate professor of music education and organ

Daiyaan Hutson

Daiyaan Hutson“Government-sponsored post-war films are valuable materials to look at in terms of understanding post-war culture and the immediate anxieties of the Cold War. There was a sense of needing to work with the boom of consumerism and of GIs coming back from the war to start families. There was this sense that these new, younger parents needed to be educated about the new world they were a part of creating.”

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

Major: English

Research: Post-war films, culture

What faculty says about him: “It is possible that Daiyaan Hutson was born a graduate student. He voraciously seeks knowledge and puts that endeavor above everything else. When he has a break from coursework, he uses it to fill in what he recognizes as his scholarly gaps. He returns to the classroom with an encyclopedia of new texts along with theories and history with which to understand them. He takes pleasure in the life of the mind, which is the mark of a true scholar.” – Dr. Erin Lee Mock, assistant professor and director of film studies

Heather Rodriguez

Heather Rodriguez“Venereal disease rates were particularly high going into WWII. People infected with syphilis or gonorrhea would go to these rapid treatment centers (RTC) to ensure they completed the entire round of treatment. It would take multiple weeks – people often dropped out because of the expense. When I got further into my research, it became clear that some of the women didn’t go there willingly. Prostitutes could be interned there or given a choice of RTC or jail. I am really interested to see how sex education, which was compulsory for draftees, played a role in these centers. What did they learn? How was it different?”

Hometown: Cumming, Georgia

Major: History

Research: 1930s-’40s rapid treatment centers

What faculty says about her: “Heather is an outstanding researcher and writer. I am most impressed by the seriousness with which she has taken her study. She decided early on that she wanted to work in the history of science. She completed an internship last summer at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum. It must have gone so well that they offered her a job to help curate the exhibition that she was researching last summer. It’s almost like a dream come true for her. She is working part-time there now, while she finishes her last two classes, but then she will start working full-time at the end of the semester. I'm so proud of her for achieving her dream!” – Dr. Ann McCleary, professor and director of the Center for Public History

Photography by Julia Mothersole

Posted on March 13, 2019