REU Site: Digital Legal Research Lab

For information contact

Katrina Jagodinsky

Funding Source

NSF REU 2150344

See Projects


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Scholars doing research in the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities (CDRH) lab.
Scholars doing research in the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities (CDRH) lab.

Who should apply

Related fields

  • History
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Communications
  • Ethnic Studies


Participation in the Nebraska Summer Research Program is limited to students who meet the following criteria:
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Current undergraduate with at least one semester of coursework remaining before obtaining a bachelor's degree

See Eligibility for more information.

How to apply

Follow the application steps to submit the following materials.

About the Program

Our Digital Legal Research Lab is an interdisciplinary hub for the social scientific study of freedom making in the United States over the long nineteenth century. Our team explores legal mobilization among marginalized actors who leveraged the law to challenge enslavement, deportation, coercive confinement, coverture, and institutionalization. Building an interactive and relational database of petitions for freedom, our lab is committed to training undergraduates in critical legal inquiry, archival research methods, data collection and processing, and in transcription and encoding techniques that allow us to demonstrate patterns and strategies in legal mobilization and legal decision making. Vital to legal scholars and practitioners interested in concepts of justice, liberty, and due process, the database features thousands of freedom stories that are central to the American legal tradition.  

The Digital Legal Research Lab was recently recognized in the Nebraska Today. Read more about our program here:

The 2022 Digital Legal Research Lab cohort with their mentors at the banquet.
The 2022 Digital Legal Research Lab cohort with their mentors at the banquet.


  • Competitive stipend: $6,000
  • Suite-style room and meal plan
  • Travel expenses to and from Lincoln
  • Campus parking and/or bus pass
  • Full access to the Campus Recreation Center and campus library system
  • Wireless internet access

Learn more about academic and financial benefits.


  • Department seminars and presentations
  • Professional development workshops (e.g., applying to graduate school, taking the GRE)
  • Welcome picnic
  • Day trip to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
  • Outdoor adventures
  • Research symposium

Mentors and Projects

Dr. Katrina Jagodinsky Department of History

Petitioning for Freedom: Habeas Corpus in the American West

Dr. Jagodinsky’s project examines more than 8,000 habeas corpus petitions from black, Indigenous, immigrant, institutionalized, and dependent petitioners over the long nineteenth century in Washington, Oregon, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona. 

Dr. William G. Thomas III Department of History

O Say Can You See: Early Washington, D.C., Law & Family

This project documents the challenge to slavery and the quest for freedom in early Washington, D.C. by collecting, digitizing, making accessible, and analyzing freedom suits filed between 1800 and 1862, as well as tracing the multigenerational family networks they reveal.