Gettysburg College and the Civil War Institute are pleased to announce the creation of the Brian C. Pohanka Fellows Program, thanks to the generosity of the John J. Pohanka Family Foundation. The program benefits Gettysburg College students who are enrolled in summer internship programs at historic sites with the National Park Service. Eligible students, if selected as Fellows by the Director of the Civil War Institute, will receive a stipend for assistance with their cost of living expenses during their internship.
Pohanka, born in 1955, was a graduate of Sidwell Friends School in Washington and Dickinson College, where he majored in history. He had a passion for 19th- and 20th-century military history, becoming a leading authority on the Battle of Little Bighorn. He loved Civil War reenacting, consulting for numerous films and television productions, and serving on the boards of several local preservation associations. Civil War Preservation Trust and the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust named Pohanka "Battlefield Preservationist of the Year" in 2004. His final project, after more than a quarter-century of research, was a regimental history of the 5th New York Infantry, which is being published posthumously. The Fellows, named in honor of Pohanka, are a fitting tribute to his legacy.
"It is so exciting to be selected as a Brian Pohanka Fellow," says Gettysburg College sophomore Brian Johnson, interning this summer at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. "Without the support, I would not be able to share my passion for the Civil War with the public. Working in the National Park Service has been a phenomenal experience and I am grateful to the Pohanka Foundation for making my internship possible."
The following eight Gettysburg College students have been selected as the 2011 Brian C. Pohanka Fellows: Nathan Hill and Katelyn Stauffer, interning at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park; Gabriella Hornbeck, interning at Gettysburg National Military Park; Brian Johnson, Rebekah Oakes, Mary Roll, and Tricia Runzel at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park; and Thomas Skaggs at Appomattox National Historical Park.
Gettysburg College senior Mary Roll believes "we have a unique duty to educate the public about our Civil War past. The Brian Pohanka Fellowship has given me an opportunity to become a professional historian, even before I graduate. At Fredericksburg National Park I will be speaking to thousands of people about our nation's history, and because of a Pohanka Fellowship I have this incredible opportunity to teach people about the value of preserving and protecting the places where Civil War history was made."
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition that includes Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate and other distinguished scholars among its alumni. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Tina Grim, Program Manager
Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College