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Melody Mott wins $300 scholarship

melody mott with certificate

March 28, 2024

By: Dr. Andrew Yox, Honors Director

Melody Haruna Mott, NTCC’s assistant honors director, a student mentor, and an advisor for NTCC’s work with Phi Theta Kappa has just won a major award for a graduate-level essay.  Her work on the Texas-Mexico borderlands before the Civil War provides an exclusive comparison with the oft-portrayed United States-Canada borderlands of this period.  Many have studied the underground railroad, and the escape routes of American slaves to the north.  Mott, however, shows how the 1,250-mile southern Texas border, as long as the Canadian border from Maine to New York, functioned as an equally controversial zone of diffusion during the 1850s.  Mexican serfs came north. Slaves, and Black Seminoles—those of mixed Indian and African ancestry, escaped south. Sympathetic Texans, sometimes–Germans, and sometimes Anglo unionists, provided safe passage.

Mott’s name was read during the Caldwell Award announcements in College Station at the Texas State Historical Association meeting, 2 March.  Though she won as a graduate student at UT-Tyler, the NTCC student contingent present, greeted themelody mott announcement with an excited shout and ovation.

NTCC Honors Director, Dr. Andrew Yox notes: “Mott was a star NTCC honors student with us back in 2016 when she became the only student in our history to win a $500 Smallwood Scholarship Award, for her anomalous work on Japanese-Texas relations. We are so thankful to have her back, mentoring our student research now.  We are equally thankful for her special knowledge in regional history, and impressed with this recent award, which ranked her second in the state.”

Mott has also been an important enabler of several NTCC projects, the recent film on the traveling preachers, several Phi Theta Kappa projects, and several student award entries. She was the primary recommender behind a student Leader of Promise Award last fall.

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