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2014 Bilinski Foundation Fellowship Recipients

Rebecca Ellis

Rebecca Ellis

Rebecca Ellis is an advanced Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History. She spent the last year working and living in Argentina where she was developing her current dissertation project. In her dissertation Rebecca examines the creation of political communities among blind students and immigrants in Argentina during the first half of the twentieth century. Her project attempts to understand how the blind attempted to generate better and more diverse labor opportunities by differentiating themselves from other disability categories that policy makers in Argentina increasingly labeled as dangerous. Understanding how disability was differentiated in Argentina both internally and externally to the blind movement will help further our understanding of the ways in which early twentieth century political movements promoting the interests of disabled persons established the basis of later twentieth century movements grouping persons with disabilities into a single cause.

Mary Hudgens Henderson

Mary Henderson

Mary Hudgens Henderson is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Linguistics in the Spanish and Portuguese Department. She has an M.A. in Spanish and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language, and taught in bilingual elementary schools in Colorado. Her dissertation is an extension of a project she originally began with her second-grade students of tracking “formal” and “informal” language variants. The dialect-awareness curriculum teaches bilingual students about modern sociolinguistics and style-shifting to context-appropriate language. Students explore issues of accent prejudice and the connection between speech and identity.

Nicholas Schwartz

Nicholas Scwartz

Nicholas Schwartz is a fifth year Ph.D candidate in English at the University of New Mexico. His dissertation focuses on the numerous and varied writings of Archbishop Wulfstan of York (d. 1023) in order to show that this important late Anglo-Saxon churchman had a much more extensive relationship with and interest in the history of his land than has been previously noted. The history of Anglo-Saxon England is something which Wulfstan mines, suppresses, and even invents. Ultimately, Nicholas’ project will show that the events, people, and texts from previous eras of Anglo-Saxon England were often used by Wulfstan to shape religion and society in his own present day.

Gino Signoracci

Gino Signoracci

Gino Signoracci is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy. His dissertation explores the reception of philosophies of India in German intellectual circles during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Specifically, it critiques G.W.F. Hegel's account of Indian culture and thought, which although deeply problematic contributed to an abiding sense among Western philosophers that Asian traditions were not "truly" philosophical. The work looks at local debates motivating Hegel's judgments and also appeals to the self-understanding of representatives of Indian traditions. Gino's research interests include classical and contemporary Indian philosophies, social and political philosophy, German Idealism, and the history of philosophy.

Rachel Spaulding

Rachel Spaulding

Rachel Spaulding is an advanced Ph.D. candidate in colonial literature in the Spanish and Portuguese Department. Her dissertation focuses on the textual productions and mystical experiences of three early modern Afro-women: Spain's Sister Teresa Juliana de Santo Domingo, also known as Chicaba, Peru's Úrsula de Jesús and Brazil's Rosa Maria Egipçíaca. Her interdisciplinary research applies performance theory to explain how these women's texts foster a reading of transformation from slave subject to mystical agent and it situates these women's words and experiences within field of Ibero-Atlantic history.

About the
Bilinski Educational Foundation

Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski's goal in life was to be independent and challenged intellectually. They strongly believed in people being self-sufficient, ambitious, and above all, responsible. Both Russell and Dorothy were true intellectuals, as well as being adventuresome, independent and driven. Russell was a researcher, academician and an entrepreneur. Dorothy was an accomplished artist and patron of the arts. Russell and Dorothy believed that education was a means to obtain independence, and this is the legacy they wished to pass on to others.

In furtherance of that goal, when Russell and Dorothy died, they left a significant gift for the formation of a nonprofit corporate foundation. The Bilinski Educational Foundation seeks to fulfill this legacy by providing fellowship funds for post-secondary education for students who have demonstrated, and are likely to maintain, both the highest academic achievement and good moral character, but who lack the financial resources to complete their post-secondary education.

All student inquiries should be directed to or (505) 277-4621