Thomas J. Peterson LGBTQ Studies Scholars
With generous support from alum Thomas J. Peterson, this scholarship was established in 2020 to offer financial support for undergraduate students who are engaged in LGBTQ research at the University of Pittsburgh and to create an academic home for LGBTQ research at the University of Pittsburgh. This project focus is inspired by our donor who was born and raised in a Pittsburgh suburb, attended and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and was a participant in the LGBTQ movement. Awardees will be part of an innovative and collaborative Pitt LGBTQ Archives Project to develop work towards a collective and ongoing history of Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ community with a specific focus on the intersection of national issues and events with the emergence and advancement of the LGBTQ community in the Pittsburgh area and the western Pennsylvania region. The first-person aspect of this initiative is expected to provide a unique perspective on the LGBTQ movement and give direction to the research effort and the interpretation and understanding of events and milestones.
This innovative and collective LGBTQ history project provides an opportunity for student researchers to work directly with Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ archives across the city (including Hillman Library, The Warhol, Heinz History, Pittsburgh Equality Center, etc.). By connecting this history with our donor’s experience in Pittsburgh, this scholarship adds a personal connection to history, and it serves as a model for fostering the transference of intergenerational knowledge in LGBTQ community. In addition to building on and helping to preserve existing histories of LGBTQ Pittsburgh, the Thomas J. Peterson LGBTQ Studies Scholarship connects this history to the future by asking, what can Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ history tell us about crafting cities, workplaces, and communities in the future? Through this approach, the scholarship provides students with the opportunity to connect history to a wide range of disciplines and future professional work.
Olivia Mania — Mania’s participation in the LGBTQ Archival Education Project focuses on the criminalization and policing of sexuality within the city of Pittsburgh.
Philippa Zang — Zang’s work for the LGBTQ Archival Education Project is designed to explore the ways that, in the face of grief and constraint, trans and queer communities in Pittsburgh have cultivated fabrics of mutual aid, artistry, joy, and humor. This work is part of their commitment to uncovering and promoting intergenerational networks of care and resistance in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Samantha Watkins — Watkins's project, "A Postmodern Visualization of LGBTQ+ Archival Data," combined data mining, data modeling, and collage to explore archival materials in a novel way.