Elisabeth Davis

University at Buffalo
Candidate for Executive Council Graduate Student Representative

Candidate statement

I am honored to be selected as a graduate student candidate for the ACHA’s Executive Council. As an advanced doctoral candidate at the University at Buffalo, my dissertation examines nineteen-century Catholicism, focusing on the gendered politics and authority between women religious and the male clergy.

As an ACHA member for the past 2 years, I both presented at and participated in the conferences in Emmitsburg and Chicago. Attending ACHA for the first time was a homecoming for me – I was welcomed into a fold of scholars who actively support graduate student research.  I am grateful for the invaluable mentorship and the feedback I received from members of the Association.  In addition to the mentorship and personal support I received through ACHA, I am also very grateful for the generous funding I’ve received from graduate student travel grants and the John Ellis Dissertation Award. The ACHA’s work to support graduate students, both through mentorship and providing research funding, is a mission that is near and dear to my heart. As a member of the Executive Council, I will actively create a space where other young scholars can find similar help within a supportive community.

I am honored to be asked to serve as the Graduate Student Representative for the Executive Council.  As a member of the UB community, I have held several leadership positions.. I was the vice-president and the webmistress of the Graduate History Association. As such, I helped organize various academic graduate conferences.  I also ran the social media and website for the Graduate History Association and the History Department. As such, I founded the Facebook Live series for the Department of History, a series of interviews that highlighted faculty and student achievements. 

If elected to the position of Graduate Student Representative, I will advocate for graduate students by promoting mentorship and research opportunities. I will also push for frank conversations on the job market, particularly with the rise of non-teaching jobs.  I will also advertise ACHA to students at non-Catholic universities. While I attend a secular institute, my advisor is a specialist in Protestant America. I discovered ACHA almost by accident, due to a lucky Google search.  Rather than leaving new membership to such chance encounters, I will actively reach out to similar institutions, and promote ACHA among students like myself, who are looking to join a community of scholars of the History of Catholicism but who come from a school that does not provide that support network.  The connections graduate students make at ACHA is so important for our research as well as our future careers, either inside or outside of the academy, and contributes to not only the careers of individuals, but also their lifelong investment in and commitment to organizations like the ACHA. As a Graduate Student member of the Executive Board, I am a firm believer in building a strong ACHA membership, whose lifelong commitment will continue to contribute to the community that has become an academic home for so many of us. 


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