This year the Department of History is pleased to honor co-recipients of the 2020 Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Both recipients drew wide praise from faculty for their talent and determination. This year’s winners are Toni Berry and Rebekah Knaggs.
Rebekah Knaggs earned her B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati and chose CSU’s Museum Studies specialization in the History M.A. program in tandem with accepting a new position as a Park Ranger at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor. During her time in the program, Rebekah worked full-time in season and part-time in the off season at JAGNHS while attending CSU full-time. Rebekah also completed an internship at the site in which she combined collections management activities, developing specialized guided tours, and participating an education program called Every Kid in a Park. Rebekah also served as a graduate assistant in various capacities, including substantial involvement in the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities, in which she co-developed an audio walking tour of Euclid Avenue as well as several Cleveland Historical stories, most recently one on Liberty Hall, the headquarters of the Cleveland chapter of Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association that grew out of research she conducted in a course with Dr. Karen Sotiropoulos.
Toni Berry returned to CSU after earning her undergraduate degree in History to pursue an M.A. During her time her, Toni has impressed all who have taught her. Faculty have praised her “astute comments” and “rambling incisiveness” in reading discussions, her “upbeat” demeanor when grappling with the challenges of a new project, and her willingness to mentor fellow students. During her tenure in the program, Toni assisted Dr. Shelley Rose with Gender Studies Resources, an Omeka-based finding aid for digital projects and worked with Dr. Mark Souther to collect oral histories in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood in partnership with Literary Cleveland. In addition, Toni had the opportunity to research and develop a detailed guide of the Real Property Inventory, a nationally significant mid-20th century Cleveland demographic research collection housed in the CSU Library Special Collections, to assist efforts to seek grant funding to digitize the resource. Toni was also one of two recipients of this year’s Marjorie S. Shorrock Award.
Congratulations to Rebekah and Toni!