Nate Kuehnl
Class of 2011
Bachelor of Arts degree – English and History

During research for a seminar paper, Nate happened upon a series of letters between Samuel M. Jones (Mayor of Toledo, 1897-1904) and William A. Cocolough, an African American medical student. "The letters don't indicate where the two men met but it turns out that Jones was paying for Cocolough's tuition at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. This discovery led to my exploration of medical education for African Americans during that period.

"From there, I became fascinated with the story of black physicians and their struggles, triumphs, and everyday lives as medical professionals. Studying them opened my eyes to institutional racism within medicine that affected both physicians and patients. I ended up writing my thesis on medical professionalism among African American doctors during the early 20th century."

For his dissertation, Nate intends to focus on the civil rights movement through the lens of medicine. "The fight for equality in the field of healthcare during this time is relatively understudied. Right now, I believe I will tell the story of black physicians and nurses who participated in the movement.

"I'm hoping to add nuance to the history, and also expose the deeper roots of medical inequality. Generally speaking, African Americans are one of the major groups that lack access to healthcare and this particular group is severely underrepresented in the field of medicine. Most estimates show that only 3.5% of practicing physicians are black."

While Nate's main intent is to contribute new information to the field of history, he hopes to bring awareness to the institutional racism that continues to plague the American health system.

Doctoral student, Wayne State University

Community Involvement:
Volunteer with various community garden projects, reproductive rights and health movement organizations

Thomas C. Rumble Graduate Fellowship, Wayne State University (2013)
Barbara M. Britsch, PhD, Excellence in Literature Award, Lourdes University (2011)
Excellence in History Award, Lourdes University (2011)
St. Catherine Medal for Service, Lourdes University (2011)
Commendation for Leadership, Ohio Secretary of State (2010)

Gray Wolf Hero:
Professor Whimsy Kuehnl

Pledge to people:
Imparting great wisdom to students
Sharing the history of our world through the latest "techno tools" and fascinating lectures
Breaking down the students' fear of getting answers wrong or totally understanding every concept immediately