Carnegie Mellon University Home

Dietrich College News

Caroline Acker (left) and Katherine Lynch (right) stand with Dawn Winters after she receives her award from the National Society of Colonial Dames.

March 2013

History Ph.D. Candidate Wins Award From National Society of Colonial Dames

Dawn Winters, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, has received a $5,000 award from the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in recognition for her research. The society gives four awards each year to recipients in alternating regions of the U.S.

The society has been a leader in the field of historic preservation, restoration and the interpretation of historic sites since 1897. Its members are ancestors of those who immigrated to an American Colony prior to 1750.

In January, members of the society’s Pennsylvania and Southwestern Pennsylvania chapters joined History Department faculty members for a ceremony and reception honoring Winters.

Caroline Acker, head of the History Department, called the award a wonderful opportunity for Winters and thanked the society for their support.

"The Society's work to support local historical societies around the country is the kind of effort we historians depend on,” Acker said. “Only when people's letters, local newspapers, and other sources have been collected and preserved can historians begin to reconstruct the past."

Winters, who moved to Pittsburgh to pursue her doctoral degree after a career in healthcare administration, is a women’s historian. Her dissertation focuses on women’s local activism during the mid-19th century Temperance Movement. She chose this area to study because of the lack of historical work that exists on local women during the period involving state enacted prohibition laws.

“There were widespread cases of collective violence – women arming themselves, targeting liquor establishments and destroying liquor items,” Winters said. “These women were arrested and in court, and my work looks at how they interacted with the court system.”

Her dissertation includes 115 cases of this type of violence from 1852-1872 that she uncovered during research. Liquor was a hot topic in the mid 1800s due to pervasive alcoholism, the middle class changing and changing demographics across the country.

“They weren’t isolated actions,” she said. “They were very choreographed and there was widespread reporting of them in newspapers from Maine to California. However, most cases were in the Midwest – in small villages and up and coming towns, not urban areas.”

Lisa Tetrault, associate professor of history and Winters’ adviser, praised her work saying, “She also challenges conventional stories of women’s reform in this period by focusing on local, Midwestern women, working at the grassroots. Historians, by contrast, have focused on the Northeastern United States and on relatively high profile women. So, Dawn is also shedding light on a hitherto unknown group of women and their efforts to have a voice in the progress of the nation.”

For more information, visit

To learn more about the humanities at Carnegie Mellon University, watch this video:

Stay connected with CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Twitter and Facebook.

Other sources of Carnegie Mellon news include the university news service website and the Carnegie Mellon Today magazine.

Contact Shilo Rea, Director of Public Relations at or (412) 268-6094.


About the Quick Links

Follow the Dietrich College on Twitter and Facebook.
Sign up to receive Dietrich College News, the college's monthly e-newsletter.

  Four Dietrich College Graduates Receive Fulbright Awards
From addressing clean water shortages in urban Mexican communities to teaching English in Brazil, Germany, Montenegro and Turkey, five recent CMU graduates – four from the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences – will be making a global impact through this year’s Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Read more.
  Dietrich College News: July 2014
Features this month include new autism and health psychology research, what the World Cup and the Russian Revolution have in common, alumni stories, faculty accomplishments and much more. Read Dietrich College News.
  Autism Stems Mostly From Common Genes
Using new statistical tools, Kathryn Roeder has led an international team of researchers to discover that most of the genetic risk for autism comes from versions of genes that are common in the population rather than from rare variants or spontaneous glitches. Read more.
  International Impact of the Humanities
Sports fans may have had their eyes on Brazil as it hosts the 2014 World Cup, but beyond the soccer fields, the country is facing a different form of competition. Many of the issues are eerily similar to those raised in the 1917 Russian Revolution, putting historian Wendy Goldman's work in the spotlight. Read more.
  Only 25 Minutes of Mindfulness Meditation Alleviates Stress
Mindfulness meditation has become an increasingly popular way for people to improve their mental and physical health, yet most research supporting its benefits has focused on lengthy, weeks-long training programs. Read more.
  Save the Date: Celebrating the Work of Steven Klepper
The Dietrich College and Department of Social and Decision Sciences will hold an academic conference and community memorial event on October 17, 2014 to celebrate the work of Steven Klepper. Read more (pdf).
  Heavily Decorated Classrooms Disrupt Attention and Learning In Young Children
Published in Psychological Science, CMU's Anna V. Fisher, Karrie E. Godwin and Howard Seltman looked at whether classroom displays affected children's ability to maintain focus during instruction and to learn the lesson content. They found that children in highly decorated classrooms were more distracted, spent more time off-task and demonstrated smaller learning gains than when the decorations were removed. Read more.   Watch a video.
  Four Students Begin Dietrich Honors Fellowship Program
The program provides summer funding to rising seniors in the Dietrich College's senior honors program as they undertake early-stage research and development of their thesis topics. In this video, the four students participating in program's inaugural year discuss their projects which range from relationship research to anthropology and ethnography studies. Watch the videoFind out more about the program.
  Mapping the Future of the Humanities and Social Sciences
Carnegie Mellon University — which has a long history of the humanities and social sciences collaborating with other fields to solve problems — and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences held the first Pittsburgh-area discussion of the "Heart of the Matter" report and its implications for improving education and creating a sustainable global society. Read more.   Watch the video.  View photos.
  New Dietrich Honors Fellowship Program Announced
The program will provide summer funding support to rising seniors in the Dietrich College senior honors program as they undertake early-stage research and development of their thesis topics. Read more.
  Richard Scheines Appointed Dean of Dietrich College
Scheines, professor and head of the Department of Philosophy, has been selected to lead the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences as dean, effective July 1, 2014. He will succeed John Lehoczky, who has served as dean since 2000 and will return to the Department of Statistics’ faculty. Read more.
  Students, Alumni Attend Under Construction
Nearly 60 alumni returned to support 150 current students and help them build their careers. The second annual “Under Construction: Building Your Future” event encouraged students and alumni to explore the diverse fields available after graduation. Read more.
  Video: The Humanities at Carnegie Mellon University
The Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences is proud to have distinguished faculty and talented students who are leading the humanities into the 21st century. In this short video, Dietrich College faculty, staff and alumni talk about the college’s excellence in the humanities. Watch the video.


H&SS Home | Admissions | Advising & Careers | Departments & Programs | Research | Computing & Libraries | News | Alumni

Site Index | About H&SS | Message from the Dean


Carnegie Mellon University
College of Humanities & Social Sciences | 5000 Forbes Avenue | Baker Hall 154 | Pittsburgh, PA 15213 | (412) 268-2830