Seanna Viechweg ’19 Wins Augustus Taber Murray Fellowship
The recent Fulbright fellow begins her English Ph.D. program at the University of Virginia this fall with financial support from this long-standing Haverford fellowship for graduate study.
Seanna Viechweg ’19 is the winner of the 2020 Augustus Taber Murray Fellowship, which will help support her pursuit of an English Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. The fellowship, which was established in 1964 by two anonymous friends "in recognition of the scholarly attainments of Augustus Taber Murray, a distinguished alumnus of Haverford College of the Class of 1885,” is given each May to a senior or alum to help further their graduate study of English literature or philology, the classics, or German literature or philology.
Viechweg, a scholar of Caribbean literature, spent last year on a Fulbright Scholarship in Barbados, where she researched the relationship between Caribbean science fiction and the islands’ history at University of the West Indies, Cave Hill until COVID-19 cut that work short and sent her back to the States. This fall, she will start at UVA, where she plans to study African American, global Anglophone, and post-colonial literature.
“After having my Fulbright grant cut short due to the ongoing pandemic, as well as partially losing the momentum to continue the research I initiated in Barbados, the news of the Murray Fellowship could not have come at a better time,” said Viechweg. “Being selected for the Murray Fellowship reminded me of what I have to look forward to during these uncertain times—namely, the intellectual excitement and drive of being a student again.”
At UVA, she will be a part of the university’s first cohort of the Caribbean Literatures, Arts, and Cultures research cluster as an interdisciplinary doctoral fellow, which will give her access to enhanced research support, professional development, and workshops facilitated by the Greater Caribbean Studies Network at UVA.
The Murray Fellowship—one of two different awards the College offers to seniors and alumni pursuing graduate study—supports education-related expenses, from tuition, fees, and supplies to research activities, professional development, or general living expenses.
“The Committee [for College Honors, Fellowships, and Prizes] was impressed by Seanna's academic record, from her research and scholarship to her classroom engagement and other academic activities,” said Jason Chan, fellowship and career advisor and assistant director of the Center for Career and Professional Advising, which manages the awards process. “Her research agenda on science fiction as a mode for amplifying the collective histories and identities of the Caribbean people is interesting, innovative, and grounded in her own educational and personal journeys. The committee found Seanna's potential to be an influential scholar, teacher, and leader in academia to be quite promising.”
Viechweg credits her Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF), a national program dedicated to encouraging and preparing students of color for careers in academia, with teaching her the importance of applying for fellowships to further her research goals, and one of her mentors, Professor Maud McInerney, with pointing her toward the Murray in particular.
“Receiving the Murray Fellowship,” said Viechweg, “feels reassuring in knowing that, although I am no longer a student at Haverford, that as an institution, it still holds ways to support my professional endeavors.”