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Geneva Smith

Pictured above, Millikan High School alum Geneva Smith ‘10. Photo by Tori Repp/Fotobuddy via

The Long Beach Unified School District extends its heartfelt congratulations to Millikan High School alum Geneva Smith, who has been named a winner of Princeton University’s top honor for graduate students, the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship.

Smith graduated from Millikan in 2010 as a student of the QUEST (Questioning, Understanding, Engaging Success through Technology) program.

According to the Princeton website, “the fellowships support the students’ final year of study at Princeton and are awarded to one Ph.D. student in each of the four divisions — humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering — whose work has exhibited the highest scholarly excellence.”

Smith, a sixth-year doctoral student at Princeton, has conducted extensive research on the legal history of slavery. Her dissertation titled "Slave Courts and Compensation in the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic" sheds light on the judicial system that was responsible for trying crimes committed by enslaved individuals during the 17th and 18th centuries. She has gathered a substantial archive of court records from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Jamaica to support her research.

“Archives are spaces of mystery,” Smith told Princeton. “Each manuscript piece that I find, and each court case that I compile helps us paint a more complex and richer picture of what Black life was. I really got excited by the challenge of multiple historians saying, ‘These records don’t exist.’ ‘There’s no way to tell this story.’ I think I just love going to archives and seeing the records and realizing not only are they there, but we can actually build out a really rich story with what exists.”

LBUSD wishes Smith continued success in her future endeavors and celebrates this momentous milestone with great joy and admiration.

Read more about Smith’s research at or watch the video below.

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