The Carla Decker Scholarship was awarded annually from 2009 through 2016 to students demonstrating skills, achievements, and interest in history – especially the history of Newburgh and the surrounding area. Applications were open to college-bound high-school seniors or college students from the Hudson Highlands region who were interested in pursuing studies in history, historic preservation, curatorial studies, or historic archaeology. Awards were based on each candidate’s application, transcript, and essay. Funding for the scholarship was provided by Carl Decker, a long-standing member, volunteer, and former officer of the Historical Society.

2016 Recipient

Kieran O'Keefe accepts 2016 scholarship

Congratulations to Kieran O’Keefe for being selected as this year’s Scholarship winner from the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands. Kieran completed a BA at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh and a MA at the University of Vermont.

As part of his Master’s thesis, Kieran spent time at the New Windsor Cantonment, Washington’s Headquarters and the Newburgh Historical Society researching the role of the loyalists in the Newburgh area during the Revolutionary War. A summary of this research appeared in the Historical Society’s newsletter last spring.

Kieran was recently accepted into the the doctoral program in colonial history at George Washington University. He will be moving to Washington, D.C. this fall and he says the scholarship money will be very helpful in the purchase of books and research materials.

2015 Recipient


‘I have always been interested in history.’

Douglas James Indzonka of New Windsor is a busy student whose interest in history has brought him to many interesting projects. He says that his interest stems from his family’s encouragement. They visited many historic sites, he wrote in his scholarship application. Douglas is also surrounded by the remnants of history: researching his home, built in 1871, brought him to the topic of architectural history and Newburgh’s Andrew Jackson Downing.

Douglas spent part of his summer in an archeology program near Lake George looking for artifacts linked to the French and Indian War. He is an Eagle Scout, spends much time outdoors, and is also interested in re-enacting. This scholarship will help him along a journey to fulfilling his career goal of teaching history.