Dr. Cathy Pearce sits among bouquet of congratulatory balloons in her office at KPC.
It’s now officially Dr. Cathryn Pearce as “Cathy” has become University of Alaska’s newest PhD professor of History at the Kenai River Campus. Dr. Pearce successfully defended her dissertation this March in London at the Greenwich Maritime Institute at the University of Greenwich, London. “My specialty has been British maritime history and I had wanted to go to England for a long time. Greenwich Institute has a fine reputation for producing excellent maritime history graduates and I was excited to have the opportunity,” Dr. Pearce told the Dispatch. The main campus for the University of Greenwich is the old Royal Naval Academy originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren, “It’s a campus that permeates history and is actually located on top of the birthplace of Queen Elizabeth I,” said Pearce. Cathy says that the experience has given her many examples of history that she can bring into the classroom for her students, “The entire experience was absolutely wonderful. To be able to be among some of the top scholars in the world was phenomenal. So my students now know that I’m a real historian, that I have actually done it and know what I’m talking about. I’ve had students tell me that they’ve been inspired by what I’ve done,” she said.
The title of Pearce’s proposal was “Lured by False Lights: Cornish Wrecking and Victorian Myth.” She added that she was nervous when it came time to defend her dissertation, “That’s part and parcel with getting your PhD over there. It’s one of the hoops that you have to go through and you have that sense of terror first. I didn’t know my examiners as they came from institutions outside of my own, one of them actually came from Yorkshire at the University of Hall, so yes I was very frightened not knowing what they would ask, but they were extremely supportive and very complementary of my research, which made me very happy.” Pearce has been contacted by Boydell and Brewer, an academic publisher for maritime history and additionally Oxford, Yale, and Cambridge have expressed interest in her research. Pearce was the recipient of the 2007 Chancellor’s Fund Competition that will enable her to continue her research in Cornwall this summer, but she intends on remaining at KPC. “Our director is very supportive of our research here and UAA has also been very supportive and helpful with funding. So at this point I will be staying at KPC and continuing my research in the summers in England,” said Dr. Pearce.
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