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Recent UH PhD Student Accepts Harvard Post Doc

Jason Theriot, who completed his PhD in history at the University of Houston in April 2011, has received a postdoctoral fellowship from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for the 2011-2012 academic year. At Harvard, he will be part of a Consortium on Energy Policy addressing offshore development and coastal restoration in the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 oil spill.

While at Harvard, Theriot will conduct research on “Economic and Ecosystem Sustainability in the Gulf Coast Region as Energy Policy.” His faculty host is Professor Alison Frank.

Theriot’s research topic at Harvard is closely related to his dissertation, “Building America’s Energy Corridor: Oil and Gas Development and the Louisiana Wetlands.” His dissertation advisor Joseph Pratt observes, “Jason’s dissertation is very good. I have no doubt that it will become a major university press book after revisions.”

Theriot recently received the John O. King Award as the history department’s outstanding graduate student. John King was the long-time chair of the history department and the author of an excellent biography of Joseph Cullinan, the first president of Texaco. He is fondly remembered by his former colleagues for his scholarship and collegiality.

Theriot has been a particularly productive graduate student at UH. He published an article drawn from his masters thesis on Cajuns in World War II in The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association. A revised and expanded version of the manuscript is now under review for publication by the University Press of Mississippi. He also co-authored an article "Who Destroyed the Marsh" with Professor Tyler Priest for the Economic History Yearbook.

While working on his dissertation, Jason also worked closely with Dr. Priest on a series of exceptionally ambitious projects sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program of the Mineral Management Service of the Department of the Interior. These grants involved extensive oral history interviews, primary research, and the writing of historical reports published on the internet. Theriot appreciates Priest’s mentorship on these projects and Priest’s recommendation of Theriot for the Harvard fellowship.

Jason’s work on offshore oil and the wetlands of Louisiana has given him an increasingly prominent voice in the history profession. He was the only graduate student chosen to contribute an essay to the Journal of American History’s forthcoming special issue on “Oil in American History.” At UH, he was the primary organizer of an outstanding conference in the fall of 2010 on the Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

See web site: University of Houston Oil Spill Symposium Webcast

Pratt adds, “All in all, Jason is the sort of graduate student we should hold up as a model to our incoming students.”