Stillman College Faculty Awarded Prestigious UNCF Henry C. McBay Faculty Research Fellowship

Dr. Allison Upshaw and Dr. Craig Soaries, esteemed faculty members at Stillman College, have been awarded the prestigious UNCF 2024-2025 Henry C. McBay Faculty Research Fellowship. This fellowship is designed to provide doctorate-level UNCF faculty with the necessary support to conduct research critical to their disciplines and their professional development.

Soaries, who serves as the Director of the Harte Honors College/Interdisciplinary Studies and Associate Professor, Upshaw, an Associate Professor of Music, are set to embark on research projects that promise to advance their respective fields. Their selection for this fellowship underscores their dedication to academic excellence and professional growth.

Upshaw will address “Student reFraming: Narratives of African American Female Landownership in Alabama’s Black Belt,” a collaborative project designed to use historical records in a research based, artistic endeavor for K-20 students. It is envisioned as a collaboration of students, educators, and community-based individuals, improving their ability to utilize public records while performing historical research. The public records that will be used in this project include, but are not limited to, birth/marriage/death records, deeds, cemetery records, court documents, census records, tax records, and genealogical data. These public records will provide the foundation for research into the history, culture, and family of African American female landowners in the Alabama Black Belt. In addition to the research of these public records, students will then create character sketches and digital shorts based on the research data and share them with the community at large.

Meanwhile, Soaries will focus his fellowship on “Discovering and Developing the Stillman Harte Honors College As An Exemplary Honors College Experience”. His research will delve into the historical significance and contemporary relevance of Honors Colleges at UNCF institutions. Specifically, it will compare and contrast Stillman’s Honors College experience with those at other UNCF-affiliated colleges and universities. Through comprehensive research, interviews, surveys and analysis, he proposes to uncover the role, importance, and efficacy of Honors Colleges in nurturing academic excellence, fostering leadership development, and driving societal progress among selected Students (Palmer, Davis, & Hilton, 2009; Kim, 2011).

The Henry C. McBay Faculty Research Fellowship is named in honor of Dr. Henry Ransom Cecil McBay, a renowned chemist and educator who taught in the Atlanta University System, including Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Atlanta University, for over 41 years. McBay was one of the seven founders of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). His enduring legacy is marked by his passion for educating students in STEM and his significant contributions to chemistry.