Skip to main content

Humanities and Social Sciences - News

CHSS News


Photo of UHD History major Helen Martinez next to alligator statue in front of UHD main building
Helen Martinez

History major Helen Martinez Earns Museum Internship
History major Helen Martinez was hesitant to apply for a summer internship, even though it deeply interested her. Although an accomplished student in the University Honors Program, she continued to doubt her academic self-worth. Ms. Martinez remembers that she felt that her achievements were “not enough.” However, her professors, as well as the knowledge that the internship provides an opportunity to underrepresented students in the humanities and social sciences, prodded her forward. She applied and was awarded a spot as an intern with the Summer Curatorial Research Project in Indigenous Arts at the University of Virginia. Her internship begins this summer. It is paid and includes housing and travel expenses.

The summer internship opens up professional possibilities for Ms. Martinez and promises to help diversify the field of museum studies. She observes, “As a first generation college student and daughter of immigrant parents, I do not always have the privilege of seeing representation in my field of study as a history major, but I believe representation and recognizing diversity and intersectionality is integral to the study of history. I hope use this opportunity to become part of that new representation and to bring a different perspective to my field that I would have benefited from when I was contemplating whether to study history. This program is an excellent way for me to gain on site experience and network before I graduate this fall. Using the GRE course and graduate school preparation offered in the program, I will to apply for graduate school next year, after which I plan to obtain my Ph.D. in history and ultimately work as a historian in a museum.”

Ms. Martinez’s fascination with museum studies began when she was seven-years-old on a school field trip to the Museum of Natural Sciences. That visit taught her the value of history, writing, and research. “My family did not always have the financial means to visit museums,” she remembers, “but the impression of my first visit inspired me to continue my education in history.”

Upon hearing the good news of her award, Ms. Martinez’s family was “ecstatic,” she says, “although we were all a little scared of the idea of me leaving for two months to a place we had never been and that is not easily accessible by car. I am the first in my family to branch out this way, but my family agrees that it will be worth it.”

Drs. Theresa Case and Mari Nicholson-Preuss encouraged Ms. Martinez to apply for the internship. Dr. Case was impressed with Ms. Martinez’s presentation at the History, Humanities, & Languages Student Research Conference. Dr. Nicholson-Preuss, director of the University Honors Program, has high praise for Ms. Martinez: “In the four years that I have known Helen I have been truly impressed by both her exceptional academic potential and her genuine interest in all things historical. She has a boundless energy when it comes to attending panels at academic conferences and her questions are always insightful. I was very pleased to hear that Helen had been offered this opportunity and I look forward to hearing about her archival adventures when she returns.” The History Program and the UHD Honors Program extend a hearty congratulations to Ms. Martinez and wish her the very best this summer.


UHD Art Students Paint the Town
Photo of UHD Art students Brenda Chapa (left) and Bobb Ramos (right)University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) art students Brenda Chapa and Bobby Ramos paint the town. have once again courageously left their mark on the Houston art scene and this time in honor of the artist who aksed that profound question.

On display now at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) is a major Van Gogh survey that brings together more than 50 masterworks by one of the most iconic artists in the history of Western art.
Read more about Chapa and Ramos


Student Leaders Invited to Join UHD Association of Latino Professionals for America
Learn More


Photograph of Dr. Jonathan Chism


Dr. Jonathan Chism, assistant professor of history, uncovers the role of leaders in COGIC and other black churches in Memphis during the civil rights movement in his new book “Saints in the Struggle” (Lexington Books, a subsidiary of Rowman & Littlefield).

Through archival research (including oral histories), Chism details the significance of grassroots activism during the height of the Civil Rights era and how black churches united (regardless of denomination) to advocate for equality.


“The book uncovers many of the lesser known activists in the Memphis area, who worked behind the scenes,” Chism said. “One of the groups highlighted in ‘Saints in the Struggle’ is Community on the Move for Equality (COME).”  Read more about Dr. Chism's book. Join us to celebrate the publication on Aprill 11, 2019 at 2:30 pm in the UHD Welcome Center in front the O'Kane Gallery.


photo of Dr. Daniel Peña on south deck of UHD


Daniel Peña’s debut novel, “Bang,” continues to be the shot heard throughout the literary world.

Peña, University of Houston-Downtown assistant professor of creative writing, has earned rave reviews for his story of undocumented brothers who are stranded in their home country of Mexico that is far different than the one they left.

Now, “Bang” has received honors from the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Texas chapter. The book earned the Tejas Foco Fiction Award during a recent conference in Houston. The award recognizes works that address topics related to the Mexican American experience in Texas.  Read more on Peña


Robin Davidson Set to Join Texas Institute of Letters

Only the state’s most distinguished authors, poets, screenwriters and artists are accepted into the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL). The organization’s members are a who’s who of literary voices and creative spirits. Soon, the University of Houston-Downtown’s (UHD) very own Dr. Robin Davidson will join their ranks.

Davidson, professor of English and former Houston Poet Laureate, was named to the 2019 class of TIL inductees. She will formally become a TIL member during its annual meeting conducted April 26 – 28 in McAllen, Texas. Read more about Dr. Davidson

Last updated 5/9/2019 8:53 AM