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Historical awards

Department of History doctoral candidate Tiffany Gonzalez earns two prestigious awards supporting women and students of color for her research on Latinas in politics.

By Alix P ’18

Tiffany Gonzalez, Department of History doctoral candidate, has been awarded two distinguished fellowships this spring for her doctoral work on the involvement of Latinas in politics.

Gonzalez was awarded the 2019 Huggins-Quarles award from the Organization of American Historians (OAH) on April 5, 2019. According to the OAH website, this annual award is given to graduate students of color to assist with travel expenses for Ph.D. dissertation research, and was “established to promote greater diversity in the historical profession.” The OAH is the largest professional society dedicated to the teaching and study of American history.

“Studying history allows for a deeper understanding of the human experience: imperfections, contradictions, mistakes, and positive outcomes. Knowing where we come from is important.”

Gonzalez’s dissertation is titled “Representation for a Change: Women in Government and the Chicana/o Civil Rights Movement in Texas.” According to Gonzalez, it conceptualizes the meaning of representation and places Latinas at the center of decision-making processes to transform American politics, particularly the Democratic Party.

“It’s important to know this history in order to truly comprehend why it is essential to have Latinas in government and how electoral politics helps and hinders the advancement of Latinas,” Gonzalez said. “We cannot understand the meaning behind representation and democracy without centering the US Latina experience within those narratives.”

This prestigious award will allow Gonzalez to travel to two archives at Harvard University and the Gerald R. ford Presidential Library to fill in the remaining gaps in her dissertation. The award was presented on April 5 by OAH’s current and next-term president.

“I feel motivated that the selection committee saw value and believe in my work to receive the award. I’m following the path of several scholars who have positively shaped the historical field,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez was also recently awarded the 2019-2020 American Association of University Women (AAUW) dissertation fellowship. This highly competitive and selective fellowship allows Gonzalez to finish the writing of her dissertation with an allowance of $20,000 through June 2020. The AAUW is one of the world’s largest sources of funding for graduate women, and one of the nation’s oldest foundations to support the study of women’s history. 

After earning her Ph.D. Gonzalez aims to become a history professor, researcher, and mentor, and to use her talents to help other students, especially women of color, find their place in higher education.

As a Mexican-American woman, it’s taken me a long time to get where I am and I wouldn’t have made it this far without my constant supporters here at Texas A&M and across the nation. The people in my corner have all unlocked doors and provided resources during my Ph.D. training,” Gonzalez said. Studying history allows for a deeper understanding of the human experience: imperfections, contradictions, mistakes, and positive outcomes. We have to learn from the past, to understand the present, and build for the future. Knowing where we come from is important.”