AHA Grants Review Panel

The AHA Grants Review Panel is an independent team of humanities scholars and other public practitioners of the humanities. This Panel reviews applications for Media Grants and Major Grants submitted to the Alabama Humanities Alliance. The Panel consists of five reviewers who bring a diversity of perspectives, geography, and expertise to AHA’s grant review process. Learn more about our panelists below!

Note: Final award decisions are determined by members of AHA’s Board of Directors after considering Panel evaluations and eligibility criteria.

Learn more about our grants

Matthew L. Downs, Ph.D.

Matthew L. Downs, Ph.D., is professor of history and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Mobile. He received his B.A. from Birmingham-Southern College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. He has published two books: Transforming the South (LSU Press, 2014), which won the James F. Sulzby Book Award from the Alabama Historical Association, and a co-edited collection, The American South and the Great War (LSU Press, 2018). In addition, Downs has published several articles and given presentations on a variety of topics focused on the modernization of the American South during the middle of the twentieth century. He currently serves as editor of the Alabama Review, the scholarly journal of the Alabama Historical Association. He lives in Daphne, Alabama, with his wife and two children.

Eric Kirkman, Ed.D.

Eric Kirkman, Ed.D., is an assistant professor and director of The Kilby Laboratory School and Child Development Center located at the University of North Alabama. Kirkman’s professional experience spans 23 years, as a choral and band director; career tech director; and vice principal and principal at the elementary, secondary, and collegiate levels. Under his leadership, his schools and programs have earned distinctions such as the Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School of Excellence, the International Laboratory School of the Year, and the CLAS School of Distinction Award. Kirkman serves on several boards, including the International Association of Laboratory Schools, the Shoals Symphony, Safeplace, and the Children Museum of the Shoals. He is also president of the Alabama Association of Elementary School Administrators, District 1, and the International Association of Laboratory Schools. Kirkman is the husband of Tera Kirkman, E.D., and they have two sons, Jalen and Justin.

Alisha M. Linam

Alisha M. Linam serves as director of library services and as an adjunct history instructor for Coastal Alabama Community College. Linam received her BA in History and her master’s in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama, before completing a second master’s degree in history at Middle Tennessee State University. She is the past director of the Monroeville Literary Festival, was a member of the Monroeville Main Street Board of Directors during their successful campaign to win a Partners in Preservation Grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and was on the local committee for the Monroe County Museum’s National Historic Landmark designation. In her spare time, Alisha enjoys serving as a lay minister, traveling with her husband, and being ruled by her cat, Mycroft. 

Rev. Joseph Scrivner, Ph.D.

Rev. Joseph Scrivner, Ph.D., serves in Tuscaloosa as pastor for Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and as dean of chapel for Stillman College. He has published articles and lectured about the Bible, African American biblical interpretation, and politics — including as a Road Scholar for the Alabama Humanities Alliance. He has also secured several grants as a college administrator. In addition, Scrivner was inducted into the Morehouse College Board of Preachers, and he serves as a trustee for the Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega. He earned a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a husband, dad, bonus dad, and grandfather. His hobbies include sports, chess, movies, and music.

Shari L. Williams, Ph.D.

Shari L. Williams, Ph.D. is the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in History from Auburn University. She is a social and cultural historian who researches the Modern American South with a focus on the past, present, and future of rural historic landscapes, cultural traditions, and folklife in Alabama’s Black Belt through the lens of race, gender, and class. Dr. Williams is a public history practitioner through her work as the founder and executive director of The Ridge Macon County Archaeology Project based in Warrior Stand, Alabama, and through various board of director memberships and community-based historic preservation projects.