The Mary Catherine Mita Prize

This award was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Francis L. Mita C’1976 in honor of their daughter, Mary Catherine Mita. The prize is presented to the student in the American Studies Program whose senior thesis has been selected by a committee of faculty as most worthy of recognition and publication.  Selection criteria include rigor of research and overall contribution to the field.  This cash award is given annually.

2023 Amanda Yen

“So, Where Are You Really From?:
Late Generation Asian Americans and Roots Reimagined in 20th Century Santa Clara Valley”

2022 Grace Elicker

“for Dignity and Pride, We Need 1199 On Our Side”: The Rise of Civil Rights Unionism at Georgetown University, 1970-1975″

2021 Gabriela Gura

“Ripped-Off Rhythm n’ Borrowed Blues: Legislating Black Creative Legacy via the White Mirror Cover Song, 1950-1957”

Advised by Dr Ben Harbert

2020 Omoyele Okunola

“Codifying Servitude: Unsound Slaves and Efforts to Maintain U.S. Slavery, 1830-1860”

Advised by Dr Adam Rothman

2019 Jonathan Gibson

“What Does Remembrance Look Like? Memorializing the 1910 Slocum Massacre Amidst Uncertainty”

Advised by Dr Marcia Chatelain

2018 Aidan Kenney

“STeel Beams, myths, and memes: How Late Millennials Reframe 9/11 Online”

Advised by Dr Ellen Gorman 

2017 Emily Troisi

“Remaking Rape-Revenge: Navigating Wartime Moral Anxieties through the The Last House on The Left (1972/2009) and I Spit on Your Grave (1978/2010)”

Advised by Dr Caetlin Benson-Allott 

2016 Anna Frenzilli

“The Memorial That Dies: Understanding the Memorial Tree’s Conventional Failures and Public Popularity in 1918 and Today”

Advised by Dr Lisa Strong 

2015 Mary Zost 

“Phanton of the Operator: Negotiating Female Gender Identity in Telephonic Technology from Operator to Apple iOS” 

Advised by Dr Brian Hochman 

2014 Timothy DeVita

“Fighting a Plague: Doctors’ Stories of Challenge and Innovation Combatting the AIDS Epidemic in 1980s New York City”

 Advised by Shiva Subbaraman 

2013 Grace Wallack 

 “Eat Dirt: Understanding the Local Food Movement through the stories of Philosopher Farmers”

Advised by Dr Timothy Beach 

2012  Caroline Klibanoff 

“News Literacy, Informed Citizens and Consumer-Driven Media: The Future Landscape of American Journalism”

Advised by Dr Kim Meltzer 

2012 Laura Kelly 

[Under construction] 

2011 Mary Jane Reen

“Objective Subjectivity: Thomas Kuhn and Vermont Eugenics”

Advised by Dr Catherine Benton-Cohen 

2010 Kathleen Berggren

“On Earth as It Is in Heaven”

Advised by Dr Hugh Cloke

2010 Katherine Jones 

“My Beef with Beef: Environmental and Sustainability Problems of the Modern American Beef Industry and What We Can Do About Them”

2009 Katherine Thompson

“The Batteries of the Literary Republic: Literature, Politics and the Southern Periodical Press, 1834-1864”

2008 Matthew Appenfeller

“Recreated Civita: The Birth and Transformation of an Italian-American Transnational Neighborhood”

Advised by Dr Sharon Leon 

2008 Catherine Kaplun

“Exhibiting Controversy: The West as America and the Cultural Responsibility of the Smithsonian Institution”

Advised by Dr Harriet McNamee

2007 Noreen Malone

“Hippogriff, Dodo, or Reality?: Changing Perceptions of the Great American Novel”

Advised by Dr Lucy Maddox 

2007 Sarah Walk

“O Come Angel Band: The Purpose of Worship Music in Appalachian Holiness-Pentecostal and Baptist Churches”

Advised by Dr Lauve Steenhuisen and Dr Patricia E. O’Connor 

2006 Meghan O’Neil

“To Teach or Not to Teach: Intelligent Design, Evolution, and the Freedom of American Education”

Advised by Dr Diana Owen 

2005 Christina Weyl

“The Professionalization of an American Woman Printmaker: The Early Career of Grace Albee, 1915-1933”

2004 Philippa Koch

“Family History: A Genealogical Account of American Origins”

2003 Mark Smith

“White Supremacy and the Lost Cause: Faithful Slave Narratives in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century America” 

Advised Dr Hugh Cloke 

2002 Sarah Chieffo

“Glorifying the Nymphet: Censorship, Popular Culture, and the Cinematic Adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita” 

Advised by Dr Bernie Cook 

2001 Aaron Hiatt

“Success Beyond the Ark: A Study of Post-Colony Life amount South Dakota Hutterite Colony Defectors” 

Advised by Dr Ed Ingebretsen 

2000 Bonnie Schreiber

“Hate Speech: Censor or Censure – Marching Nazis, Cyber Hate, and the Future of the First Amendment” 

Advised by Dr James Lengle 

2000 Jennifer Seidenberg

“Playing Indian: The Rise of Cultural Appropriation and Ethnic Consumerism in the United States”

Advised by Dr Diana Owen 

1999 Margaret Gramins

“Morons, Imbeciles, and Idiots: Virginia’s Eugenicists”

Advised by Dr Elizabeth McKeown 

1998 Anthony O’Brien

“Mourning, Celebration. and Pilgrimage: How Irish-Americans Perceive and Perform the Northern Ireland Troubles” 

1997 Sharon Leon

“Coloring Inside the Lines: Early Twentieth Century Objections to Racial Mixing”

Advised by Dr Elizabeth McKeown 

1997 Erin Royston

“The Politics of Cultural Intervention: The National Endowment for the Arts and Public Sector Folklore”

Advised by Dr Hugh Cloke 

1996 Kimberly Hamlin

“Artists, Critics, and the I.W.W.: America’s Flirtation with Radical Causes, 1912-1917”

Advised by Dr Alison Hilton 

1995 Andrew Perry

“Boys in the Woods: The Boy Scout Handbook and the Adventure of Adolescence, Masculinity, and America, 1910-1995”

1994 Hannah McCann

“In the American West: Artist, Audience, Subject”

1994 Mary Strunk

“Dumb and Not Beautiful’: Malleable Myths Surrounding Women Gangsters of the 1930s and Their Translation into Films”

Advised by Dr Dorothy Brown 

1993 Matthew Uelmen

“Cannibal Culture, Technology, and American Music” 

Advised by Dr Ron Johnson and Dr John Hirsh 

1992 Jason Gould

“Power Play: The Story of Television and The Civil Rights Movement”

Advised by Dr Dorothy Brown and Dr Ron Johnson 

1992 Joshua Nickerson

“Fitting In: Chinese, Filipino, and Korean Immigrants in American Life, 1965-1975”

Advised by Dr Emmett Curren 

1991 Gregory Milano

“In the Name of God and the Law: American Sanctuary for Central American Refugees” 

Advised by Dr Charles Keely and Dr John Hirsh 

1991 Katherine Tomsho

“The Debate About Family Life Education in Prince William County: “Shirtsleeves Democracy”

1990 Amelia (Amy) J. Uelmen

“Seeing the USA: The Landscapes of Walt Disney”

Advised by Dr Elizabeth McKeown

1988 Julie Magid (Manning)

The Rev. Joseph T. Durkin, S.J. Award

The Rev. Joseph T. Durkin, S.J. Award in American Studies is presented to a student for his or her outstanding intellectual and service contributions to the American Studies Program. The award represents the highest levels of commitment to interdisciplinary work and the ideals of the American Studies community at Georgetown University. This cash award is given annually.

NOTE:  There are some gaps in our list of Durkin Award winners.  In the Georgetown University College of Arts & Sciences Tropaia booklets from each graduation year, the Durkin Award is listed as “to be announced.”  As the booklets are the primary record of award winners, it has proven difficult to fill in these gaps. If you have any information on the Durkin award winners between 1978 and 1996, please email us.

2023 Veronica Williams

2022 Seo Young Lee

2021 Meena Morar

2020 Megan McKenna

2019 Celine Calpo

2018 Megan Howell 

2017 Ellen Yaeger 

2016 Timothy Annick and Victoria Hotchkiss 

2015 Nevada Schadler 

2014 Morgan Brown 

2013 Sydney Schauer 

2012 Nadia Omar Mahmassani 

2011 Cristina Cardenal 

2010 Natalie Murchison 

2009 Jordan Gray 

2008 Jennifer Foldvary and Julia Tarnell 

2007 Jenna Karamanos (Borgia) 

2006 Elizabeth Nelson 

2005 John McRae

2004 Nicole Diamant 

2003 Danielle DeCerbo 

2002 Adam Hoit 

2001 Elizabeth Whitehorn 

2000 Preetmohan Sabharwal 

1999 Sara Cantwell 

1998 Brian Reilly 

1997 William Hudson III

1988 Stephanie Yuhl and Elizabeth Hughes 

1987 Karen Beil 

1986 Stephen J. Leisz and Andrew Law 

1982 William Ferraro

1980 Mary Jean Ryan

1979 Richard Fiesta

1977 Ted Leonsis 

Note: From 1978 to 1996, the Durkin Award winner had not been made public and included in the College’s Tropaia Exercises booklet. If you won the award between 1978 and 1996, please email us and let us know!