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Charles Strauss Named as Mentor to Lilly Graduate Fellows

Nicole Patterson

Charles Strauss with Cohort

Charles Strauss with Martha Green Eads and the students they will mentor.

Mount St. Mary’s University Associate Professor of History Charles Strauss, Ph.D., a former Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow, has been selected to serve for three years as a co-mentor for the 12th cohort of the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program. The program supports and recognizes academically exceptional graduate students from Lilly Network Schools who are interested in becoming teacher-scholars at church-related colleges and universities across the United States.

charles-strauss_headshot-in-text.jpg“It would not be hyperbole to say that the Lilly Network changed my life. As a graduate student finishing up years of archival research and writing in 2011, the Lilly postdoctoral fellowship provided me time, resources, and mentorship to hit the ground running as a new professor at the Mount in 2013,” Strauss said. “I have since tried my hardest to carry on the tradition of Mount greats Bill Portier and Carol Hinds to extend the opportunities afforded by Lilly to more of our students and faculty.” 
Strauss and Professor Martha Green Eads, Ph.D., who teaches English at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), will support their cohort of 10 fellows who are entering Ph.D. or equivalent graduate programs in humanities and the arts at the schools of their choice. Their fellows represent various humanities and arts programs at institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Boston College, Georgetown University, Ohio State University, Stony Brook University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Michigan.  
“He’s an impressive historian, a person of deep Catholic faith and a lively conversationalist,” Eads said to Randi B. Hagi from EMU. “I could hardly believe my good fortune when Joe Creech in the LFP office invited me to mentor, but when he went on to say that he was asking Charles to be my teammate, I knew the experience would be too much fun to pass up.”  
Over the span of three years, fellows attend four conferences, an online colloquium and establish strong relationships with their two mentors in areas such as research, professional development and teaching; they also receive three annual $3,000 fellowship awards.  
The Mount joined the Lilly Fellows Program (LFP), a network of approximately 100 faith-based colleges and universities in October 1998. Former Professor of Theology Bill Portier, Ph.D., was the first faculty representative and former provost and current University Professor Carol Hinds, Ph.D., was the administrator representative. Prior to arriving at the Mount, Strauss’ doctoral advisor was John McGreevy, former dean of liberal arts at Notre Dame, who was also a Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow. 
“I have enjoyed serving as a Lilly Fellows representative for the Mount since taking over for a Lilly legend, University Professor Carol Hinds,” Strauss said. “Since serving in this role, I have worked with four successful graduate fellows applicants and three successful grant proposals for faculty programming. I think this is because Mount faculty care deeply about our students as whole persons, and consistently seek to engage our students in questions about vocation.”  
Katherine Schmidt, C’10, who was a Lilly Graduate Fellow from 2010-2013 while earning a Ph.D. from University of Dayton, is currently an assistant professor of theology at Molloy College. John-Paul Heil, C’15, a 2015-2018 Lilly Fellow, is pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. This month, Heil, recipient of a Fulbright Research Study Award in Italy, will travel to Italy to begin his research. A 2016-2019 Lilly Fellow, Micaela Kowalski, C’16, is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. Saribel Morales Rodriguez, C’18, a current Lilly Fellow who joined the 11th cohort in 2019, is pursuing a Ph.D. on contemporary European history at University of California San Diego. In total, the Mount has had six successful applicants; five chose to accept the fellowship. Other recipients include John Laracy, C’07 (2007-2010) and Emily Madeline Wells, C’13 (2013-2016). 
The Mount was recently awarded a $12,000 Mentoring Faculty for an Integrated and Sequential Core Curriculum grant by the Lilly Fellows Program. “We will be enrolling faculty in a year-long discussion group on orienting faculty to teach in the Core,” Strauss explained. Professor of Biology Dana Ward, Ph.D., University Professor of English Carol Hinds, Ph.D., and Grants Manager Kathy Criasia assisted in writing and managing the grant. They will be joined by Director of Academic Programming Greg Murry, Ph.D., in administering this program from October 2021 through May 2022.
Additionally, Strauss previously worked with Ward, Hinds and Criasia to receive a $40,000 “Reframing our Institutional Saga” grant to fund the writing of a new Mount history. This was made possible by the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE), which similar to the Lilly Fellows Program, has been supported by the Lilly Endowment. 

The Lilly Endowment Inc. was founded in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. for the “promotion and support of religious, educational or charitable purposes.” Throughout its history, the Endowment has sought to nurture the human spirit, intellect and character. The Lilly Fellows Program and NetVUE are two longstanding projects that have received support from the Lilly Endowment.

Nicole Patterson