The Jacob Marx Memorial Award in US History will be awarded to one student enrolled in a research MA or PhD in History with a topic in US History or comparative US History per year.
It is funded by Natalie Chung in memory of her partner, Jacob Marx who was tragically killed by a falling sign in Camden Town in London in 2013.
The couple met while studying at the University of Auckland when they were both living in O’Rorke Hall. Jacob completed a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws conjoint majoring in History.
Jacob was an intelligent, compassionate and spirited person with a passion and thirst for knowledge. He thoroughly enjoyed his years at the University of Auckland and had hoped to pursue postgraduate study in US History.
The inaugural recipient of the Award, in 2014, was Paul Atkinson. Similarly to Jacob, Paul’s interest in US history expanded because of its deep political nature, and the interesting and argumentative way that it is taught at the University of Auckland. Natalie knew that Jacob would be happy to give the opportunity to postgraduate students like Paul to do something that he would have done himself.
The Award has assisted Paul in completing part of an interdisciplinary masters thesis; a project about political ideologies in Hollywood before the Blacklist. It has allowed him to dedicate time over summer to his studies, instead of having to pick up part-time work. In addition to the practical benefits of the Award, it has meant a great deal to Paul to know that others are as passionate as him about the study of US History.
For Paul, the Award was most valuable in allowing extra time for thinking, resulting in a more sophisticated piece of work, and the experience of completing a thesis in History was a great grounding for a career in non-fiction research and writing.