The History Department is pleased to offer a scholarship provided by the Center for the Study of Religion and Spirituality in African and the African Diaspora, or RASHAD, which was founded by Dr. Regennia Williams in 2006 and funded generously in part by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Before becoming an assistant professor in the History Department at Cleveland State in 2001, Dr. Williams took a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve. While at CSU, she organized high-profile celebrations of notable Ohio historical figures such as Langston Hughes, and she organized, along with the Michael Schwartz Library, the Praying Grounds Oral History Project. Dr. Williams retired from CSU in 2015.
This year’s recipient of the RASHAD award is Asha Tinker-Phelps. Asha is a junior History and Social Studies major. Faculty in the CSU history department consider her to be a creative scholar who looks at the past from a variety of angles. Dr. Shelley Rose describes her as “an extraordinary student” who “embraces the opportunity to use her creativity and engage with material in different formats.” For Dr. Rose’s HIS 299 Introduction to Historical Studies course, Asha exhibited a painting commemorating the Cleveland Latin American Mission Team in El Salvador and the murder of four churchwomen (including two from Cleveland) in 1980. Asha’s blending of art and history is a beautiful way of capturing and interpreting history.
Dr. Hinnershitz also had the pleasure of having Asha in her HIS303 Recent U.S. History, 1989-2008 course this semester. This class presents the challenge of creating a historical narrative of more recent events. In many ways, students are writing the history of events like the Columbine massacre, the Clinton administration, and 9/11. Asha always brings her detailed understanding of the past to analyze these more recent themes and skillfully weaves cultural, political, and social history.
Asha loves traveling, spending time with her wife and puppies, and plans on becoming a high school history teaching after graduating from CSU’s MUST program with an MA in Education.