National Archives Foundation Announces Two Awardees for Second Annual Cokie Roberts Women’s History Fellowship
August 3, 2022
Jessica Kahkoska and Randa Tawil Selected as Awardees
WASHINGTON D.C. – The National Archives Foundation, the nonprofit partner of the National Archives and Records Administration, announces the selection of the 2022 Cokie Roberts Women’s History Fellowship. Jessica Kahkoska and Randa Tawil were selected as the second annual Cokie Roberts Women’s History Fellows, and will each receive $7,500 along with support of their research projects at the National Archives.
This year’s diverse pool of more than 56 applicants came with an array of project proposals on women’s history topics that included chronicling the struggles of Jewish immigrants attempting to enter the United States during WWII to capturing how women were depicted on television once it became a mass-commodity.
“Jessica Kahkoska and Randa Tawil are both doing exactly the kind of research Cokie loved,” says Rebecca Boggs Roberts, a writer of women’s history and Cokie Roberts’ daughter. “Their work is smart, rigorous, surprising, and accessible. Their projects will highlight women’s stories in all their fascinating, diverse complexity.”
The fellowship is supported by the Foundation’s Cokie Roberts Research Fund for Women’s History, which was launched in 2019 to honor the noted author and journalist Cokie Roberts who spent her career shining light on the stories of countless women in U.S. history that were previously unknown to the public. Roberts served as a board member of the Foundation for nearly 20 years. The fund in her honor encourages new research at the National Archives in the field of women’s history.
Jessica Kahkoska is a writer and research producer for theater and TV. She earned her BA at Northwestern University and is an adjunct professor at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. Her plays and musicals have been seen in New York and across the nation, and she has worked as a researcher and associate producer for series and films at CNN, Discovery, Discovery+, the History Channel, the Magnolia Network, and Spotify. Jessica’s research at the Archives will serve to bring the stories of women during the Nuremberg Trials to life, via a historical-drama TV series, The Women of Nuremberg. Featuring an all-female leading cast, the series will delve into the experiences of the women who worked at Nuremberg Trials, and how the events and outcomes change each of their lives. Using Department of State records, the Collection of World War II War Crimes Records, the personal papers of Katherine Fite Lincoln, a female prosecutor at Nuremberg, and more, Jessica will bring the never-told stories of this group of women from the Archives’ holdings to our living room televisions.
Randa Tawil received her PhD in American Studies from Yale University in 2020 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Texas Christian University. She has published articles on immigration and its impact on other public policies, the intersection of race and feminism, and modern-day imperialism. Texas Christian University awarded her the Wise Woman Teacher of the Year in 2021, and she has been awarded more than a dozen grants and fellowships including the Mellon Initiative for Just Futures. Randa’s work at the National Archives will center on the criminalization of migrant mothers in the United States, and how the state used evolving medical technology and the stigma of pregnancy as a “disease” to police immigrant women and use pregnancy as a grounds for deportation. Using Record Group 85, which documents investigations into pregnant women, Randa will weave together a narrative of the intersections between migration, law, and medicine that she will publish in an upcoming book.
The Fellows research projects will be featured in a National Archives public program in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives Museum and online through National Archives and Foundation channels.
The National Archives Foundation is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world. Learn more at www.archivesfoundation.org.
About the National Archives
The National Archives is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving our Government’s records so that people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at: archives.gov.