College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Nau Scholars

* For students looking for Nau Scholarship application information, please visit the Student Opportunities tab.


What is a Nau Scholar?

Our Nau scholar program began in 2013, thanks to John Nau's generous investment in our students. From that, UTSA History has forged a department that celebrates an unparalleled diversity of students- from traditional first-time college students to those who returned to academia after starting families, completing military service, or have simply recommitted themselves to their education after a break.  Our scholars bridge the divide between geographic, racial, ethnic, generational, and socio-economic borders.

Nau Scholars- past and present-  have become a true family of undergraduate and graduate students with a passion for History.  Through commitment to learning and excellence, they dedicate themselves to advancing historical research and understanding. It's this standard of excellence that is rewarded through our Nau Scholars program.  The UTSA History department is pleased to offer undergraduate research awards, first year graduate research awards, and graduate research assistantships to select students committed to academic excellence, historical research, and the continuation of education in History. 


Who is John Nau?

John L. Nau, III is President and Chief Executive Officer of Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P., the Nation's largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products.  He is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and has been instrumental in bringing a top-rated program specializing in Civil War History to UVA.  He currently serves on the Board of Visitors, a position appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and is based out of Houston, Texas.

Mr. Nau's commitment to service and passion for history is unmistakable through his wide arc of civic, community, and philanthropic endeavors in Houston and throughout the country.  His current involvement includes Vice Chairman of the National Parks Foundation Board of Directors; Civil War Trust Board of Directors; Chairman Emeritus, Baylor College of Medicine Board of Trustees; Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Board of Trustees; Honorary Trustee of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau; Honorary Trustee of Texas Heart Institute; Director  and Executive Committee member of   the Greater Houston Partnership; and Advisory Council member to the Center for Big Bend Studies.

He also serves as a Board Member for the Center for Houston’s Future, Discovery Green Conservancy, Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park, Houston Police Foundation, The Admiral Nimitz Foundation, and The Texas State Historical Association.  Additionally  he is Chairman of the Capital Campaign for The Center for Texas Cultural Heritage and Chairman of the Steering Committee for the proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area. He is founder and President of The Nau Foundation.                   [Source: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History]



Impacting students now

The impact that John Nau has had on students of History can be felt across the country, and at UTSA, we count ourselves fortunate for the support he has given our program. Since 2012, John Nau's generosity has funded 65 student scholarships at UTSA, giving undergraduate and graduate students unparalleled opportunities to further advance understanding of local, national, and international issues of historical significance. 

Amber Walker: Nau Teaching Assistantship 2016-2017

Graduate student Amber Walker is a first-generation college student and former Nau recipient.  Her journey to becoming a PhD in African History has been fueled in part due to her Nau Graduate Teaching Assistantship.  

With a focused interest in producing historical research on Somali Bantu Refugees, Amber traveled to Tanzania, gathering sources from archives, newspaper collections, and oral interviews throughout rural villages. Ultimately, she will link those pieces of research and experience to other Somali refugees in Maine and Texas. 

Her hope is to bridge the gap of knowledge and experience between members of the African diaspora both here and abroad.  As Amber further pushes toward her goals and advances her education, she intends to return to Tanzania to build on her research. 

In the unstoppable pursuit of her PhD, Amber will be able to bring her passion for Africa and African history to future generations, and continue to bring a new understanding of cultures, both in the United States and abroad.





See more about the impact John Nau has had on education:



Nau Fellows 2020-2021



Hannah Beth Kelfer Taylor 

Hannah Beth finished her Master’s degree in History in 2021. Her area of interest centers on American Jewish history, especially in the Southwest, and in women’s history in the United States. She is taking a gap year but her ultimate goal is to obtain her PhD and pursue a career teaching undergraduates, nurturing an appreciation for history. Hannah Beth obtained her undergraduate degree in History also from The University of Texas San Antonio in 2017 and decided to return in 2019 in order to pursue her dream of collegiate teaching and her passion for historical research. This year she completed an extensive original research thesis entitled “Jewish Women Stand Ready to Help Other Jewish Women”: The National Council of Jewish Women and Jewish Maternalism, 1893-1943.”  While pursuing her Master’s, Hannah Beth also worked on campus as a grader, a tutor, and a research assistant. She enjoyed all of these roles and they helped her foster her love of helping students.

Hannah Beth grew up in Austin, Texas, but San Antonio has truly become her home. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dog, reading, and painting.




Kristel Andrea Orta-Puente

If one thing can be said about Kristel Andrea Orta-Puente it is that she loves San Antonio. Her goal as a scholar is to document, analyze, and catalog and preserve the history of San Antonio and its cultural bearers. Through photography, digital media and art as methodology, she tracks the city’s historical and artistic expressions, departing from a gendered analysis framed on rasquacha sensibilities, so as to understand the ways in which feminism has influenced fashion, activism, and cultural appropriation in the context of San Antonio’s culture and civil rights. Overall, she endeavors to generate a historiographic narrative that voices and illustrates American-Mexican experiences and how these have shaped San Antonio. 

As a Nau Fellow, she had the opportunity to research Texas Artist Octavio Medellin (1907-1999) and complete a thesis. Her research began last summer at The Witte Museum on Medellin. From that wonderful experience, she interned at The Witte in the Fall and acquired skills and had some amazing opportunities. One of the things she is most proud of is an exhibition that she was trusted to research and led titled Beyond The Gallery. The exhibit focused The Witte’s amazing donors and the work they have gifted to The Witte. 

Another opportunity she was honored to be part of was to be on the winning team for Transdisciplinary Team Grand Challenge: Social Justice. The Office of Inclusive Excellence sponsored the Transdisciplinary Team Grand Challenge and she was so excited to be part of such a community-oriented and dedicated team. Each student had a role to play and relied on their skills as organizers, artists, scholars, and community advocates to tackle creating a more equitable platform for all artists and arts organizations. 

As she leaves UTSA and moves onto a Ph.D program at Southern Methodist University in their Dedman History department, she is so grateful for The Nau Fellowship. Without the support provided by Nau, she is sure that she would not have attained The Moody Fellowship at SMU and been able to continue her academic career. 

Kristel feels this year was very hard on all students, teachers, and quite frankly the world. She is proud of her fellow cohort that has all faced loss, illness, and struggle to survive a global pandemic. The Nau Fellowship not only offered support for our cohort to financially sustain their daily existence but gave them a team of others to lean on when they felt they were not ok. Onward now to more opportunities. Adelante!

Robert Grey Miller

Miller is currently pursuing a graduate degree in History at University of Texas San Antonio. His area of interest is social and cultural history. Miller is interested in writing about some of the often-untold local histories that highlight the relationships and events that exist between people. Miller holds two degrees in liberal arts, one from Palo Alto Community College, San Antonio, and one from Merced College, California. After graduating from Palo Alto Community College, Miller completed his undergraduate degree at Texas A&M San Antonio. He graduated Phi Alpha Theta from Texas A&M and Phi Theta Kappa from both Palo Alto and Merced College. Miller transferred to The University of Texas San Antonio in the Fall of 2020. He is a current member of the UTSA History Club. In his spare time Miller enjoys building his Ford Model T Car, crafting custom arcade games, playing and teaching music, as well as completing art projects. 

Matt Hinojosa

Matt Hinojosa published his undergraduate research in  Anonymous in San Anto: Chicano Identity and Alcoholism/Addiction Recovery in the Alamo City in the UTSA journal. Later, he wrote La Cultura Cura: Cultural Nationalism and Addiction Recovery in the Alamo City, 1969-1980. During his time in the UTSA master’s in history program, he earned the Nau Scholarships two years in a row: 2019-2021. He has done interviews on Texas Public Radio’s FRONTERAS show, and discussed his seminar research with the San Antonio Express News. He was a Racial Justice Fellow for UTSA’s Democratizing Racial Justice Mellon Grant.  He was accepted into several doctoral programs in history, and accepted a fully funded five year award from Princeton University, where he will hold a President’s Fellowship for two years beginning in Fall 2021.

Laura Narvaez

Laura, a 2020-2021 Nau Graduate Research Assistant, has just finished her master’s degree in History and will be continuing on to the PhD program at Southern Methodist University in the fall of 2021. Her areas of focus center on the impact of Latina activism in twentieth century social movements, as well as the impact of the Mexican Revolution on Latina/o identities in Texas. Laura believes in the importance of great museum programming and the use of oral history methodologies to enter new voices into the historical narrative. While at UTSA, she interned as a researcher for the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Maryland, at the Institute of Texas Cultures as an oral history researcher, and participated in the “Military City: Women and War Oral History Project” under the direction of Dr. Kirsten Gardner. In addition, she has presented research papers at multiple U.S. conferences and has worked for the nationally recognized McNair Scholars Program to help historically underrepresented students prepare for a future in PhD studies. 

Cristobel Lopez

I am a first-generation college graduate and graduate student pursuing an M.A. in History. My topics of interest include the Spanish Borderlands, Immigration, and State and Local History. I graduated from Tarleton State University in 2019 with a B.A. in History.  Since being awarded the Nau Fellowship in 2020, I have served as a Digital Archivist Intern for the Rodeo Heritage Museum of Dublin, located in Dublin, Texas. I currently serve as a Cultural Resource Management Intern for the Latino Heritage Internship Program at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, National Parks Service. At the end of my internship, I will be presenting my research at a conference hosted by the Department of Interior. I am a Co-Editor and Co-Founder of Beyond Boundaries: Mastering the Liberal Arts, a new graduate student led online academic journal for the College of Liberal and Fine Arts at UTSA. I am also a Co-Author of Thurber, published by Arcadia Publishing in 2021. In my free time, I like to discover local coffee shops and bakeries, go on hikes, explore San Antonio and neighboring towns, and attend live sporting events.  

Monica Palacios

Mónica Palacios is currently pursuing a master’s degree in History. Her research interests include Mexican-American, African-American, and Women’s History. She received her bachelor’s degree in 2019 from Texas A&M University-San Antonio in History, where she also earned a Texas 7-12 Social Studies Composite Teaching Certification. Mónica is currently interning with the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission as a Preservation Scholar where she is working on the African-American Travel Guide Project focusing on San Antonio sites. She has previously interned with the San Antonio African-American Community Archive and Museum through the Arise Grant in the Summer of 2019. Mo

While at UTSA, she has combined her passion for Mexican-American and Women's History with her interest in the Civil War to pursue a thesis on Confederate Widow Pension Application Files for South Texas women. 

Megan Michelac

Megan is currently pursuing her Master’s in History. Her area of interest is in United States history. She wishes to share her knowledge that she learned at UTSA with her students when she becomes a teacher.Megan transferred in to UTSA during her undergraduate degree, and graduated with her Bachelors of History with a Social Studies concentration and a 7-12 Teaching Certificate in the Spring of 2020 as Suma Cum Laude. At UTSA she has worked as a Graduate Research Assistant and a Reader/Grader for the History department to help the faculty with all their duties as educators and to broaden her own research interests. The graduate history program at UTSA has allowed her to dig deeper into the many topics of history in the US but also around the world. Megan received the NAU scholarship as an undergraduate as well. Megan grew up in San Antonio and hopes to share the rich history of the city with those around her, but to continue to learn more as well. 

Nau scholars contribute to San Antonio Tricentennial Celebration History Project

As part of the San Antonio Tricentennial Celebration, Dr. John Reynolds is spearheading a massive research venture to digitally map San Antonio from its early history, and past and present Nau recipients are a part of it!  



Former Nau scholar Thomas Holdworth works with the Center for Archaeological Research. By taking over 180 images of a rotating artifact, he can upload the photographs into a software program to create a three-dimensional image. 







Former and current Nau scholars in the GIS lab working on GIS maps and Story Map applications produced under a grant from Bexar County. 




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