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CSUEB history major selected for prestigious undergrad fellowship


Dexter Coleman hopes to one day be a high school history teacher.

  • May 3, 2011

Dexter Coleman, a senior history major, has been selected to participate in the Gilder Lehrman Institute's History Scholars Program, one of the most prestigious awards for undergraduate history students in the country. 

Coleman will spend the week of June 18-25 in New York City with leading American historians such as Eric Foner and Steven Hahn, and visit top archives and historical landmarks related to the Civil War – the theme of this year’s program. 

“For students interested in US history, from the founding to reconstruction periods in particular, nothing matches the distinction of this award,” said Bridget Ford, assistant professor of history.

“Certainly, there are no more prestigious historians working and publishing today than Eric Foner (Columbia University), who just won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in history for his work, ‘The Fiery Trial,’ and Steven Hahn (University of Pennsylvania, and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize),” said Ford.

Coleman is the first CSUEB student to be selected for this award.

“The winners tend to come from research one universities, or private liberal arts schools,” said Ford. “It really is special, I think, for us to be sending off one of our undergraduates to NYC for research and rubbing shoulders with the nation's top undergraduates in history, and with distinguished historians.” she said.

Coleman, a current Hayward resident who hails from San Diego, became interested in history when he took high school AP courses.

“I like history because it is much more intellectually challenging than science or business, and it deals with current issues, both personal and social,” said Coleman. “My passion is philosophy, and history is my academic trade. By this I mean that philosophy is the doctrine by which I live my life and history is the field to which I apply my philosophical beliefs.”

During his time away from the university, Coleman is a community organizer at the Center for Progressive Action in Oakland, where he does lobbying, outreach and participates in events to raise political awareness. Eventually, he hopes to teach high school history.

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