Meet the 2023 Preservation Scholars (Summer 2023)

Past Matters Summer 2023; posted on 06/19/2023

Join us in welcoming the Preservation Scholars Class of 2023! Each year, the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission places undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented communities in internships with the Texas Historical Commission. This program, now in its 15th year, seeks to engage a wider range of communities, perspectives, and voices in the effort to discover and share Texas’ historical narrative. Our goal is to build interest in historic preservation among students, and to build awareness about the breadth of academic backgrounds that are involved in the work of preservation in Texas.

For 10 weeks, these students will learn new skills, build relationships with professionals, and take on projects designed to challenge and inspire them.

Algae Guzman earned their bachelor’s degree in English from Texas A&M University and is currently enrolled at the University of Illinois Chicago in the Latin American and Latino studies master’s program. Algae became interested in historic and heritage preservation after a trip to the Rio Grande Valley where they became enlightened by the region’s rich history. Algae has published numerous creative prose and poetic pieces on their border town’s residents and is continuing to research Roma’s border culture for their master’s thesis. As a Preservation Scholar they hope to research and nominate Latine-owned businesses for the Texas Treasure Business Award as well as gain insight into cultural heritage tourism throughout the Lone Star state. Algae aspires to return to Texas following their master’s program to support fellow Tejanos by highlighting their unknown histories through community partnerships and further publications.

Algae’s internship with the Community Heritage Development Division will focus on researching taquerias and tortillerias that qualify for nomination through the Texas Treasure Business Award. Their research and community engagement will help capture these unique business stories and share them with the public in an online platform.

Christine Sanchez is a first-generation college student who received her undergraduate degree (BA) from the University of Texas at Austin in 2023 with majors in cultural anthropology and Latin American studies and minors in art history and archeology. She also earned a certificate in forensic science. She is an incoming graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin in the masters-to-Ph.D. program in archeology. During her undergrad, she found how crucial history and the historic preservation of materials, places, spaces, and intangible artifacts are as a tool for future research and analysis. She hopes to gain more knowledge on how to better utilize technology as a part of her research, hone her collaboration and writing skills, network with professionals and peers, and learn how to involve the community in her studies.

Christine’s internship with the Archeology Division involves working on the State Waterway Archeology Mapping Project, which seeks to “rediscover” the states’ river crossings, tribal crossings, ferry launches, and forgotten river ports as the basis of a geospatial mapping project.

Dzifa Tse is a rising senior at Sam Houston State University, majoring in history and minoring in legal studies. She’s interested in historic preservation because she comes from a culture with a tradition of oral histories, and she thinks it is imperative for us to be able to hold and pass down our stories. She hopes that throughout this internship she can learn more about the finer details of what goes into preservation work.

Dzifa is working with the History Programs Division to do in-depth research on African American businesses and people that were listed in various travel guides dating from the early 1930s to late 1960s. Her research will include looking for articles, city directories, postcards, photographs, advertisements, etc., and then using these sources to write historical narratives in order to create backgrounds for each site.

Gilbert Martinez is an undergraduate history major at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is excited to learn more about how the study of history and preservation work go together. He believes preservation allows us, as a society, to see our origins and learn from our past for a better future. With this internship opportunity, he looks forward to contributing to preserving our shared history by working with archeological collections at the Texas Historical Commission. He also hopes to learn new skills that will help him succeed in the field he loves as both a UTSA student and future employment seeker.

During his internship, Gilbert is assisting the state archeologist and staff archeologists with ongoing division projects. These projects include public outreach, archeological site research, GIS mapping, and data review and analysis for programs such as Texas Archeology Month, the Texas Archeological Stewardship Network, the Texas Archeological Sites Atlas, State Antiquities Landmarks and various projects being undertaken by staff across the state.

Lauren Huffmaster is a rising senior at Rice University, studying history with a minor in medieval and early-modern studies. Her primary area of historical interest is medieval Iberia, especially as it pertains to the lives of women. However, as a Texas native, Lauren is also interested in Spanish and Mexican Texas, and the study of Hispanic and Latino Americans throughout Texas history. During her time at the Texas Historical Commission, Lauren hopes to learn about under-studied aspects of Texas history, develop research skills, and serve the public by making history more accessible.

This summer, Lauren’s internship project with the History Program Division will help deepen public understanding of extraordinary marker stories through supplemental webpage development, educational material, social media content creation, and other outlets. She’ll also work with other divisions to learn how a kaleidoscope of skills comes together to tell public history.

Logan Dovalina is a graduate student at the University of North Texas majoring in interdisciplinary studies. He is originally from Mission and grew up in a mid-century modern neighborhood, which he is now working to have designated as a National Register of Historic Places district. Outside of historic preservation, Logan is an avid choral singer, a Texas Master Naturalist, and a private pilot in training. He looks forward to digitizing the THC Oral History Collection and gaining valuable archival experience at the Texas Historical Commission.

Logan is working with the History Programs Division to prepare the THC Oral History Collection for transfer to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for digitization. Working from an existing inventory, Logan will gather, organize, and package items in the collection for transfer, and may also digitize items, transcribe digitized recordings, and plan for online presentation.

Miriam Chen is a rising senior pursuing a double major in international studies and history at Texas A&M University. Her interest in history and preservation stems from the idea that the historical is often personalpreserving history allows individuals to connect with cultural identities and communities that may otherwise be forgotten by mainstream narratives, which also plays a role in shaping the social and political landscape today. She is particularly passionate about using accessible and engaging media to share underrepresented stories with a wider audience. Through this internship, Miriam hopes to learn more about public history and the intersection between history, education, and public policy.

Working with the French Legation State Historic Site, Miriam’s internship involves researching the development and growth of the Robertson Hill Freedman Colony, named for the longest owners of the French Legationthe Robertson family. Her research will help with the development of future exhibitions about this site.