We would like to congratulate our History MA and Public History PhD and MA 2022 graduates. We wish them the best of luck as they go out into the world.
Public History PhD Students
Gevorg Vardanyan completed his dissertation – “Remembering Medz Yeghern: Armenian Genocide and Armenian Americans, 1890s–1965” under the direction of Dr. Tammy Gordon. His dissertation is an intricately detailed focus on a diasporic community of genocide survivors—Armenian Americans— on the years that both scholars and public participants in the dialogue around the Armenian Genocide seem to have forgotten: the 1890s through 1965. Scholars, curators, politicians, activists, psychologists, social workers, and community members aware of the genocide have tended to see Armenian diasporic public memory as starting in 1965, the year of the 50th anniversary of the most devastating years of the atrocity. Such an approach has resulted in a limited understanding of the impact of longstanding atrocities committed against Armenians starting in the 1890s, which translates to the glacial pace of repair through reparations, recognition, and policy change. Through meticulous research, often in sources that are available in English for the first time because of this translations, Vardanyan demonstrates that Armenians in the US had a long history of memorial practices that contributed not only to international policy-making but also to the growth of institutions in the US, the public dialogue about genocide in the pre-Holocaust era, and the agency of Armenians in repairing the harms and addressing the traumas of genocide.
In addition to this dissertation Gevorg is the author of one book in Armenian and has authored multiple scholarly articles in both Armenian and English. He completed his internship at the Museum of Literature and Arts, in Yerevan, Armenia.
Gevorg plans to take another year for mentorship in archival work at the Special Collections Research Center (NCSU Libraries) and then will be taking a position at the Armenian Genocide Museum – Institute in Armenia with plans for teaching at the American University of Armenia.
Public History MA Students
Kaitlin O’Connor’s MA Thesis in Public History “Jim Crow and G.I. Joe: The 54th Coast Artillery Regiment in North Carolina” was written under the direction of Dr. David Zonderman. She has focused on this all African-American unit as it trained near Fort Fisher in 1941, demonstrated a higher level of military proficiency than most comparable white unites, and fought the war for democracy at home against racism in Wilmington NC. The thesis concludes with some proposals for exhibits and public programming to interpret the Regiment’s achievements during WWII.
Kaitlin recently was named a full time staff member at Fort Fisher State Historic Site.
Nicole Ackman performed her internship at the Joel Lane Museum House in Raleigh, where she led tours, worked at special events, rewrote content for the website, and researched on Joel Lane’s children and on women’s lives on the farm. Her research became the foundation for a master’s thesis titled “‘The Best House for 100 Miles’: The History of the Joel Lane Museum House” under the direction of Craig Friend. She explored the origins and evolution of the Joel Lane Museum House as one of Raleigh’s earliest historic house museums. The Joel Lane Museum House provides a compelling microcosm of the larger history of the historic house museum movement from its amateur beginnings through professionalization and shifting interpretations.
After graduation, Nicole will continue to work as a museum educator at the Joel Lane Museum House.
Kelly Arnold specialized in exacting research and compelling interpretation on the histories of marginalized peoples. She interned at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, researching and reporting on the experiences of people enslaved and seeking freedom on the Union-occupied Outer Banks. Kelly curated the exhibit “Dare and Do! Women’s History at NC State” the the Hill Jr. Library. Says Kelly, “My most inspiring moment [in my time at NC State] came when I saw NC State alumnae interact with my Women’s History exhibit during an International Women’s Day event. It was so incredible to…have the opportunity to listen their own stories and experiences.”
After graduation Kelly will continue to work with NCSU Special Collections exhibitions. She has also won a State of North Carolina fellowship to update the interpretation at Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site.
Miranda Clinton interned at The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission as the program coordinator for the Growing Our Griots: Strengthening North Carolina’s Black
Heritage Keepers program. Miranda aided in the implementation of nine webinars and the design of eight technical leaflets, resulting in the creation of the Heritage Practitioner Resource Library on the commission’s website.
Miranda plans to continue her education with an additional masters degree in Library Science with an Archives concentration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Miranda plans to one day work for an archive or heritage organization.
Calee Eisenhuth specialized in historic sites and interpretation, especially as it relates to women’s history. She interned with the City of Raleigh Historic Resources and Museum Department where she spent two weeks each at Moore Square, Mordecai Historic Park, Tucker House, and The City of Raleigh Museum working in programming, education programming, administration, and exhibits.
After graduation Calee plans to move to Washington DC to work in historical interpretation.
DeAsia Noble interned at the John P. “Top” Greene Community Center where she cataloged historic materials for use in an exhibit on Southeast Raleigh in the new African American Cultural Center. She also conducted research for an upcoming exhibit called “Brotherhood at Bats: African American Baseball History of Raleigh Exhibit,” at the City of Raleigh Museum. In addition, she gained a competitive internship position with the National Park Service and The National Underground Railroad Revolutionary War Freedom Seeking Project.
DeAsia has accepted a position at the National Park Service working at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Anacostia, Washington DC and will continue her work with the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom Project for the United States 250th Anniversary.
Mary Schrader specialized in religious history and the public history of Ireland, producing work that inspired both her colleagues and professors. She interned at Marco Island Historical Society in Marco
Island, Florida, working mainly in collections storage with records and housing, as well in as other aspects of museum work, including community events, exhibition planning, and installation. Mary worked extensively with the History Graduate Student Association, where she practiced multi-tasking, collaboration, and event planning.
Mary’s plans after graduation are to complete a second masters, this one at UNC Chapel in Library and Information Science.
Emma Vadney worked as a collections intern at the Levine Museum of the New South, where she assisted with the downsizing and relocation of the museum. Her most inspiring moment in graduate school was reading Clint Smith’s How the Word is Passed in Dr. Gordon’s Intro to Public History class. The book was incredibly influential on Emma’s growth as a public historian and made her think for the first time about how important good historical interpretation can be and how public history can connect with and advance modern social justice.
After graduation Emma plans to work in historical interpretation on the East Coast.
Sarah Waugh specialized in Latine and African American public history. Her internship was at Duke University Libraries where she worked on the digitization of the Behind the Veil: Documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South oral history collection.
Sarah’s plans after graduation are to complete the library and information science masters at UNC Chapel Hill School of Library science.
History MA Students
James Livingston Britt first came to NCSU as an undergraduate with an interest in military history and culminated his History BA with an honors thesis on the War in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. He soon became hooked on the history of Afghanistan itself, and continued on at NC State to do a Masters degree. His Masters thesis, entitled “The Wall around a House: Borders and the Emirate of Afghanistan 1880-1901,” focuses on the beginnings of modern state-building in Afghanistan during the critical reign of the so-called “Iron Emir,” Abdur Rahman Khan, who ruled the country at the end of the 19th century. Challenging earlier authors who had seen the period of the Emir’s rule largely as one of imperial manipulation by the British and the Russians, intent on turning Afghanistan into a “buffer state,” James shows in his thesis how it was in fact the Emir himself who did much of the manipulating, using negotiations over borders to pursue his own autonomous goals for strengthening the state in Afghanistan. James also pursued the study of Persian language as part of his Masters program, and he has now been admitted to the Ph.D. Program in History at the UNC-Chapel Hill to continue his historical studies next year.
Caleb Kanani Kualii is graduating after successfully defending a Master’s thesis on the experiences of German Protestant missionaries in the area of Southeast Africa once administered as an overseas German colony and now known as part of Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania. His research utilized hundreds of digitized sources from the University of Frankfurt’s Colonial Collection, and his thesis, which earned a distinction from his History thesis committee, is now up for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Award for outstanding scholarship at the graduate level. In the award nomination letter, his faculty advisor wrote that Caleb’s thesis is “not only an original contribution to the field of German cultural and intellectual history, but … also demonstrates a level of historical research rarely seen in a master’s student.”