Harrisburg alum establishes scholarship for American studies graduate students

Group photo of Daniel Boustead with Penn State Harrisburg faculty members and recipients of the scholarship Boustead established

Daniel Boustead, second from right, who earned his master’s degree in American studies from Penn State Harrisburg in 2015, has established a scholarship to honor the professors who impacted him and to benefit future graduate students in the program. Here, Boustead is with John Haddad, left, professor of American studies and interim director of the School of Business Administration; Jeffrey Beck, center, director of the School of Humanities; and scholarship recipients Cuong Bui, Thomas Morrow, Jason Yanda and Kelly Lelito.

Credit: Sharon Siegfried

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — An alumnus of Penn State Harrisburg’s American studies program has established a scholarship to honor the professors who impacted him and to benefit future graduate students in the program.

Daniel Boustead, who earned his master’s degree in American studies in 2015, established the scholarship to benefit students, particularly those with an interest in World War II or international studies like himself.

“It is my honor to start this scholarship. The American studies program at Penn State Harrisburg had a major impact on my career development,” Boustead said.

Five graduate students were awarded the scholarship this year: Thomas Morrow, Peter Miele, Kelly Lelito, Cuong Bui and Jason Yanda. The students joined Boustead and others recently for a lunch, where they discussed their academic goals and research interests, which span a range of military studies.

In a letter, Morrow thanked Boustead for the support, which he said is “pivotal” in his academic journey.

“Your generosity is particularly significant to me because it directly supports my passion and academic pursuit in American studies,” Morrow wrote. “This field has captivated me for as long as I can remember, mainly through various media that explore the complexities and valor found within military narratives. The scholarship alleviates financial burdens and reaffirms my commitment to delve deeper into the study of our nation’s military past and its influence on present-day America.”

The scholarship will open doors for more research, participation in academic conferences, and engagement in community outreach programs, Morrow added.

Boustead credited the American studies program for helping him to refine his skills as a writer and historian and for helping him to gain work in the field. Boustead has worked as a researcher in several capacities through the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center.   

He said he established the scholarship primarily because of Charlie Kupfer, associate professor of American studies, and John Haddad, professor of American studies and interim director of the School of Business Administration.

“Dr. Kupfer and Dr. Haddad had a profound impact on my development as a historian,” Boustead said. “They always encouraged us to put our unique voices into our historical work.”

Haddad said it’s been gratifying to keep in touch and see Boustead doing what the American studies program trains student to do — to research and write to share knowledge with others. Boustead has published numerous articles on World War II history.

“I think it’s wonderful that he’s established this scholarship so that others who share his passion for World War II or military history, more broadly, will find financial support and be recognized for their research,” Haddad said. “And they can be inspired by Daniel’s example.”

Kupfer, whose interests also lie in military history, was Boustead’s adviser and became close with Boustead and his family. Kupfer described Boustead as a “dogged” and “gifted” researcher, who specializes in writing about military hardware, with an eye on technical details.

“He loves the [American studies] program. He feels well served by it and still feels very attached to it,” Kupfer said. “He wanted to create a legacy that would benefit future students in the program who shared an interest in military history the way he does.”

Boustead said he wants future students to benefit from the scholarship and for the American studies program to continue.

“It is a fantastic program,” he said.

Donors like Boustead advance the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve and lead. Through philanthropy, alumni and friends are helping students to join the Penn State family and prepare for lifelong success; driving research, outreach and economic development that grow our shared strength and readiness for the future; and increasing the University’s impact for families, patients and communities across the commonwealth and around the world. Learn more by visiting raise.psu.edu.