Sophomore/Junior Oral History Fellowship: Making History in the Time of COVID

By: Department of History,  Department of History
October 12, 2020

The Cornell Public History Initiative, in partnership with The History Center in Tompkins County, is excited to announce Making History in the Time of COVID: The History Center/Cornell Oral History Fellowship 2020-2021. 

This year-long, funded fellowship will give six Cornell sophomores and juniors the opportunity to work with The History Center in Tompkins Country to conduct oral history interviews with community members and leaders about their ongoing responses to social and economic challenges related to COVID-19, as part of The History Center’s larger oral history initiatives. Potential topics include political leadership, community organizing, food security, and responses among local business owners, including hotels and restaurants.

Students will work with Professor Stephen Vider, Director of the Cornell Public History Initiative; Ben Sandberg, Director of The History Center; Professor Edward Baptist; Professor Derek Chang; and Julia Taylor, community educator and director of Civic Ensemble, to receive training and ongoing supervision in conducting, transcribing, and interpreting oral histories. The fellowship will both provide students practical experience in public and oral history methodologies and contribute to historical knowledge about Tompkins County and its communities. Following the fellowship, the oral histories that students have conducted will be accessioned into The History Center's archives, where they will be accessible to the public through The History Center’s Story Vault and other digital platforms. Students will also make a public presentation of their research in the spring during a Zoom event co-sponsored by The History Center and the Public History Initiative.

We have limited this year’s fellowship to sophomores and juniors with the goal of building ongoing relationships between Cornell and The History Center.

For more information and to apply, please visit the short application portal here:

Applications must be completed by Monday, October 19, at 11:59 pm. 

Please email Professor Stephen Vider ( with any questions.

The fellowship is made possible by an Engaged Curriculum Grant from Engaged Cornell, and support for The History Center by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

To learn more about The History Center:

To learn more about the Public History Initiative: