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Fellowship Award Winners

SESAH is pleased to announce two new winners for the 2022 Graduate Student Research Fellowship: Sarah Owen (University of Georgia) and Stephanie Haire (Middle Tennessee State University)

Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen is a second-year master of historic preservation student at the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. Her research uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore the interactions between the built environment, the natural environment, and culture in the American South. Her work has been recognized by University of Georgia’s Willson Center for Humanities & Arts. 

Sarah’s thesis uses two house museums dedicated to Flannery O’Connor—her childhood home in Savannah and her farm, Andalusia, near Milledgeville, where she spent her final years—as case studies to analyze how writers’ house museums use literature, biography, and history to develop site interpretation.

Stefanie Haire

Stefanie Haire serves as the Historic Preservation Planner at the Southeast Tennessee Development District. She is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee and received her BS in Anthropology/Archaeology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2016. She spent several years working for the National Park Service museum program in Utah and Arizona before returning home to earn her MA in Public History from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in 2019. Ms. Haire is currently a PhD student at MTSU studying public history and historic preservation and lives outside Chattanooga with her young son.

Stephanie’s research focuses on Horace Maynard Brazelton (1877-1956), the first African American portrait photographer to operate a professional studio in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His career spanned the course of almost fifty years, amidst Jim Crow segregation and racism. Despite the related challenges, Mr. Brazelton and his wife Hettie (Hodge) Brazelton acted as pillars of their community. Unfortunately, photos that were created by Mr. Brazelton are now difficult to locate or have not yet surfaced from private collections. As such, his remarkable story is largely unknown in Chattanooga. His forgotten contributions to the black business district on East Ninth Street (now known as MLK Boulevard) are also not the only examples of lost stories or silenced voices, further hinting at a broader erasure of African American history. Stefanie Haire’s doctoral research aims to fill this void by documenting Brazelton’s life and career, including his time as an elder at Leonard Street Presbyterian Church. This church building has since been lost to urban renewal, though the associated records are still housed at the Presbyterian Historical Society. 

For more about SESAH’s Graduate Student Research Fellowship, click here.