Pursuing her passion

Casey Near

Casey Near is a senior with a passion for U.S. history. Her proposed thesis centers on the first mass-printed newspapers in the United States, specifically Philadelphia. So what better way to extend her research than on a SHEAR Mellon Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s McNeil Center for Early American History?

Near was one of only 10 undergraduates from liberal arts colleges to receive the fellowship, which allows the students to learn history research methods and do archival work. The fellowship program also helps students discover a new thesis topic or further their current research.

During June, Near found primary documents in the Pennsylvania Historical Society that showed the ways newspapers influenced how people were discussed, viewed, and treated in society.

“My absolute favorite part of the program was the time we were able to spend in the archives, looking for materials for our thesis.” In late June, Near’s thesis reader, Professor Rita Roberts, joined her in Philadelphia, where Roberts was coincidentally doing research herself for an upcoming book.


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