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Kierstyn Williams first to receive new $2,000 Antietam Institute scholarship

ISSUED: 27 September 2022

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Thanks to a partnership between Shepherd University’s George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, the Shepherd University Foundation, and the Antietam Institute, Shepherd history major Kierstyn Williams of Kearneysville is receiving a $2,000 scholarship.

“This is a brand-new scholarship that we started this year working with the Center to inspire one of our young historians,” said Christopher Vincent, president, Antietam Institute. “One of our missions is to support education, so we wanted to start this scholarship program and we want to continue it every year, along with an internship that we’re hoping to offer each year as well.”

The Antietam Institute was founded in February 2021. Its main objective is to educate the public on the importance of the Battle of Antietam and the outcome of the 1862 Maryland Campaign, which Vincent said led President Abraham Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. The Institute offers two symposiums and other programming throughout the year focusing on both the battle at Antietam and the Maryland Campaign.

Photo of Christopher Benson, James Broomall, Kierstyn Willams, and Monica Lingenfelter standing in front of Civil War center. Pictured (l. to r.) are Christopher Vincent, president, Antietam Institute; Dr. James J. Broomall, director, George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War; Kierstyn Williams, scholarship recipient; and Monica Lingenfelter, executive vice president, Shepherd University Foundation.

“Any opportunity for a history student to engage in organizations that are education based with a nonprofit orientation gives them some insights into potential career paths that they might pursue,” said Dr. James J. Broomall, associate professor of history and Civil War Center director. “In terms of underpinning the cost of education, it’s very important that we support our undergraduate students in a number of different capacities that are not only inside the classroom but beyond it.”

Broomall pointed out the scholarship provides Williams an opportunity to advance her education with resources donated through the Antietam Institute, a partner the Civil War Center deeply values.

“Receiving this scholarship means the world to me because I also have two kids and my education has been delayed and delayed and delayed,” Williams said. “This is giving me the opportunity to continue my education without having to worry. I’m excited to work with the Antietam Institute because my focus has been on how the Battle of Antietam affected the community.”

Williams plans to do her capstone, or final academic project, on how the battle affected the local folks living in Shepherdstown and Sharpsburg, Maryland. Those living in or near Sharpsburg suffered a loss of property and crops and damage from artillery shelling, and saw their homes turned into field hospitals. People escaping the battle crossed the Potomac River flooding into Shepherdstown, where many buildings were turned into field hospitals and food was scarce.

Williams credits a high school teacher who was living history oriented—incorporating historical tools, activities, and dress into interactive presentations—for inspiring her interest in the topic.

“During my first interaction with him, he brought a cannon that they set up in the back of the school and let students shoot it off themselves,” she said, smiling. “I was hooked from there.”

Williams hopes to become a teacher or work in public history after she graduates.

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