Semiquincentennial Student Fellowship Project funded by the Gardiner Foundation

Dr. Michael Oberg

When Distinguished Professor of History Michael Leroy Oberg launched the Center for Local and Municipal History 2018, he had little experience writing proposals for grants funding. Since then he has submitted several proposals to federal agencies and private foundations and been awarded three grants. A recent proposal, The Gardiner Foundation Semiquincentennial Student Fellowship Project was submitted in response to an invitation from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, which primarily supports the study of New York State History. The Geneseo Center’s mission is to promote local history in New York State. Dr. Oberg’s impetus to create the center was his recognition that SUNY Geneseo students know little about local history in a state with an extraordinary and entirely unparalleled infrastructure for studying the state’s unique history.

The three-year, close to half-a-million dollars Gardiner-funded project will cultivate community discussions and promote interest in local histories in New York related to the American Revolution and its legacy as we approach the 250th Anniversary of American Independence. Starting this fall, it will partner 50 undergraduate student fellows from seven colleges and universities across New York State with government-appointed local historians (hosts) and academic historians (mentors). The partner institutions include Brooklyn College, Canisius College, Cornell University, and SUNY New Paltz, Potsdam, and Stony Brook. The Center’s website and other websites will document the undergraduate fellows’ projects and encourage local civic discussions and education about the American Revolution in New York State.

SUNY Geneseo and partner institutions will cost-share funding to support:

  • 50 undergraduate student fellows ($4,800 each) for a summer applied research opportunity
  • Summer salary and course reassignments for Dr. Oberg
  • Stipends for the seven academic historian mentors
  • Compensation for the government-appointed local historian hosts
  • Travel for mentors and the program director to visit mentees at their fellowship sites
  • An undergraduate webmaster to upload student projects onto the Center’s website
  • An undergraduate administrative assistant
  • Costs to mail letters to New York State’s 1,600 government-appointed local historians
  • Final seminar in Long Island
  • Costs to produce a free PDF or ePub downloadable book that compiles all projects produced during the grant period.

Dr. Oberg continues to search for grants and write proposals to retain the Director of the Center, Dr. Joel Helfrich.

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