Meet our Outstanding Spring and Summer 2024 Graduates

We would like to congratulate our History MA and Public History PhD and MA 2024 graduates. We wish them the best of luck as they go out into the world.

Public History PhD graduates

Matt Champagne defends his dissertation

Matt Champagne completed his dissertation titled, “Things Not Allowed in the House: Interpreting the Queer Past at Museums and Historic Sites,” under the direction of Dr. Tammy Gordon. “Things Not Allowed in the House: Interpreting the Queer Past at Museums and Historic Sites” is a taxonomical analysis of interpretive approaches at sites related to queer history. By analyzing tours, exhibits, interviews with interpretive and administrative staff, visitor reviews, and scholarship on interpretation, historical memory, and queer history, Champagne demonstrates “the implicit and explicit ways institutional homophobia and transphobia plague traditional public history theory and practice. [The dissertation] also highlights some institutions that confront these problematic approaches; through which, Things Not Allowed in the House shows how some museums and historic sites are made into safe places for queer people to seek out their past.” Dissertation committee members noted how Champagne’s work breaks new ground by documenting both effective and problematic interpretive techniques and by providing concrete, evidence-based guidance for public historians interpreting queer history. 

Matt will continue working as the Manager of Learning, Interpretation, and Engagement at the Surratt House Museum in Clinton, Maryland. He has also started contract work around interpreting the queer past at museums and historic sites. In addition to speaking on such topics at Marietta House Museum, Montpelier House Museum, and Concord Pride ’24, he will be helping the National Trust for Historic Preservation interpret queer history across its portfolio as a postdoctoral fellow. 
Katie Schinabeck

Katie Schinabeck wrote a dissertation title “Monuments and Memorials of the Loyalist Diaspora” under the direction of Dr. Craig Thompson Friend. Schinabeck’s dissertation examines how Loyalists have been memorialized in the United States and Canada by examining monuments at four sites: the Joseph Brant Monument in Brantford, Ontario; the Boot and Saratoga Monuments at the Saratoga National Historical Park near Saratoga Springs, New York; the Loyalist Monument at Moores Creek National Battlefield in Pender County, North Carolina; and the Loyalist House in Saint John, New Brunswick. By studying these monuments and their creation, Schinabeck demonstrates that whether through negative representations of Loyalism in the United States or more positive representations found in other nations, at Loyalist sites of memory, communities that felt unrecognized or their identities threatened, drew on the concept of loyalty to validate and convey their own historical contributions and commitments, and to assert who belongs in local, national, and transnational contexts. Additionally, and more pragmatically, communities also imagined they could supplement local economies through tourism that includes Loyalist stories as part of a commemorative landscape that relates the totality of their pasts and presents.

In the process of earning her doctorate, Schinabeck also earned a graduate certificate in digital history. She held a position as a digital curriculum specialist and digital content producer at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation before moving to a position as an associate audio producer for Colonial Williamsburg’s Ben Franklin’s World podcast. Today, Schinabeck is a digital projects researcher for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Sylvia Bailey’s dissertation examines the genealogy of the Jewish museum in Berlin, Germany from its inception in the early 20th century, its destruction under Nazi rule, and final reopening entrenched in the unification process of Germany in the 1990s. Although the Berlin Jewish museum is one of the most prominent and politically influential European museum institutions, the historical circumstances of its formation had not been researched yet. Bailey closes this gap and argues that the museum narratives, constituents, and spaces responded to specific political and cultural challenges. On a rich archival basis, she shows how complex the task of exhibiting Jewish history in a German museum was both before and after the Holocaust.

Bailey’s research in Germany was profoundly interrupted through the COVID pandemic that closed all German archives in 2020 for more than a year just after she and her family had arrived. Yet she prevailed and saw her project through while working full-time as a high school teacher for an International School. She plans on staying in Germany with her family for the coming years while transforming her dissertation manuscript to a book.

Public History MA Graduates

Hailey Mandel

Hailey Mandel conducted research on how the evolving forms and politics of Holocaust memorials in Boston related to both the Americanization and the universalization of Holocaust memory in the United States in the late twentieth century. She worked at the North Carolina State University Special Collections Research Center as a Graduate Collections Manager/Graduate Assistant. Her internship project entailed the creation of a spatial data visualization of the Center’s archival storage facility. As part of her graduate work, she also produced a detailed proposal for a Digital Autism Archive, an autism community-led repository that would contribute to the larger effort to organize the community around a shared identity, preserve community memory, and shape the community’s future. The proposed archive would also help archival professionals and researchers to develop fuller, more representative work on autism and the autism community.

Hailey is working part-time at NC State’s Special Collections Research Center while continuing her education in the fall at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, where she will receive a Master’s in Library Science with a concentration in Archives and Records Management. 

Henry Crew

Henry Crew is a born librarian. Thoughtful, empathetic, and ready to educate the world. His committee was moved by this narrative of development, and the many creative ways he pushed passed through the various barriers that emerged on his way to attaining his masters. He navigated a complex interplay of community projects, all of which heavily shaped his view of himself and the work of archives. He sees himself as the archivist dedicated to challenging the silences of archives and collecting untold stories.

Henry Crew will be joining the Citadel, in their special collections library, where he hopes to open the university to new narratives, and share diverse stories.

Miracle Johnson

Miracle Johnson’s portfolio was judged by her committee to be one of the strongest in recent years. It demonstrated her research skills in fields such as African American and women’s history, as well as her professional experience as a Digital History Intern at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Miracle plans to attend North Carolina Central University for their Master’s of Library Science program with an Archives and Records Management concentration and have a career as a archivist promoting community archives and oral history programs. 

Cece Bartemes

CeCe Bartemes came to the Public History program with an undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology and sociology from the University of Northern Iowa. Their keen interest lies in K-12 museum education with a focus on play-based learning and gender. In their work at NCSU, Bartemes examined the intersection of gendered education, play, and domesticity from a historical perspective. During an internship at the Durham Life and Science Museum in 2023, Bartemes developed educational science curricula and museum interpretation for young audiences.

Cece will be working at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham as an Assistant Site Director and moving to Durham later this year.

Ashlie Brewer

Ashlie Brewer joined the Public History program after an undergraduate training as anthropologist and musician with a minor in Chinese. Since 2020 she works as a digitization technician for the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC), and brought her keen interest and expertise in digital archives and heritage management to her studies at NCSU. Her dual internship combined both interests by preserving and digitizing materials from the Burwell School Historic Site and making them available on the web interface of NCDHC. She participated in the study abroad program “Public History in Prague” in 2023 and successfully presented a paper at the International Heritage Conference AMPS. Her paper entitled “Utilizing Community Collaboration to Help Digitize Local History” has just been published. She plans to stay in the area and continue her important work at NCDHC.

Alana Gomez

Alana Gomez made a deep impression on her professors and colleagues. Specializing in the connection between history and community well-being, she produced innovative work focused on both theory and practice. Her committee had high praise for her portfolio as a whole, but particularly her paper “The Intergenerational Trauma Lifespan: Use and Community Ownership.” Using Web of Science, JSTOR, and Google Ngram, she examined the etymology of the term “intergenerational trauma” and its antecedents, noting the differences between scholarly usage and community usage in African American, Native, Jewish, and Latin communities inhibit effective application of the term toward community healing initiatives. She created a proposal for a City Historian position with the City of Raleigh and presented this research to the City Council, which received it positively. Alana also curated the exhibit Designing Tomorrow: 75 years of the College of Design at the Hill, Jr. Library and served as Cultural Resources Intern with the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation. Her advocacy for both communities and the cultural workers within them has been tireless.

Post graduation Alana hopes to work somewhere local where she can create and share historical educational resources with communities.

Emma Eubank

Emma Eubank’s research in the VA archives particularly inspired her vision of the archivists’ role when she noticed that local communities were blocked from accessing the unprocessed collections that spoke directly to their historical experience. This driving ethos led Emma to see every archives as a potential extension of the people who live nearby and who were most impacted by the documents and collections archives held. Emma credits the program’s focus on history and service with shaping her belief that archives should take a more prominent role in serving its community, whether its Duke Medical Archives, or the Smithsonian- two places where she received training.

Emma will spend the next year earning a MSLS with a concentration in Archives and Records Management at UNC Chapel Hill. She then hopes to return to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

DeLayne Jolly

DeLayne Jolly is a hard working, dedicated, passionate, creative, and justice-minded public historian. During her time here in the program, DeLayne has shown she is a leader, gifted writer, oral historian, and educator. She completed her internship at Historic Oak View County Park.

DeLayne’s plans for post graduation are to continue working in North Carolina museums and historic sites.

Fran Fleming

Fran Fleming found a road uniquely her own in which community and service became central aspects of her work as a public historian and archivists. Fran sees her work in the nexus between addressing the silences of the archives and power sharing between institutions and people. Her portfolio was an outstanding contribution to spatial landscape, from her public history policy paper on the history of green gentrification to her critique of architecture and spatial history of the Raleigh capital grounds.

Fran is currently job hunting and hoping to work in an archive. She is considering completing an MLS part-time in the future. 


Ginni Leeman

Ginni Leeman’s portfolio, “The Bridge That Is Public History,” demonstrates her expertise in public history, propaganda, food history, and Asian history. She has actively engaged in internships, research, and academic conferences and served as the co-president of the Graduate Student Association. She plans to continue her work at the Khayrallah Center and then study language in Korea after graduation.

Sydney Alston

Sydney Alston’s portfolio reflected a deep understanding of the Black experience and the interwoven relationship with heritage preservation, black studies, public history, and community engagement. Her work with Durham Preservation particularly shines through reflected in HER initiated project in AfAm PH course to document black laborers along the Tobacco Heritage District in Durham. It was, in short, an amazing project that Preservation Durham will implement to complicate Durham’s history from tobacco business to a broader collective narrative and relationship between worker and Durham’s economic center/business focus on business.

Sydney will join the NCSU History department PhD program in the fall. 

Tamzen Shissler has cultivated public history expertise in cultural resources theory and practice through coursework in cultural resource management, oral history, material culture, and museum studies. Many of her projects at NC State have focused on community heritage and diversifying historical narratives, interpretation, and programming. Specifically, Tamzen has worked on several projects centered on African American history and resilience and American infrastructure, policy, and development.

For her internship, Tamzen worked with the Chapel Hill Public Library in their Community History room. She researched the West Chapel Hill Cemetery, an African American Cemetery that opened in 1949. Tamzen conducted ancestry and archival research to try and identify people that would have been buried there, as more than 3/4 of the identified gravesites are not marked. Tamzen’s work is contributing to other library efforts and larger community engagement initiatives to bring African American heritage into the landscape of local memorialization where it has been historically underrepresented.

After she graduates, Tamzen plans to stay in the area and work in the realms of cultural resource management and interpretation of cultural landscapes and the natural environment.

History MA Graduates

Sarah Haney

Sarah Haney’s thesis, “Model Heredity: From Scientism to the Laws that Built American Eugenics” demonstrates how an appeal to scientific legitimacy helped foster campaigns for eugenic laws and practices in the early twentieth century. Even as any scientific support collapsed in the 1930s, eugenicists succeeded in establishing state eugenics boards, by invoking the power of science to solve social problems.

Sarah’s post graduation plans are to begin applying for Post-Graduate PhD programs to continue towards her doctorate in History of Science and Medicine. She will also continue her volunteer work with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences while working part-time.

Ashley Hunter’s thesis, “Death and Diplomacy: Colonial Interactions during Roman Expansion into Temperate Europe,” Post graduation, Ashley will continue working as a Middle School History/English teacher at Waterview Learning Academy in Wilmington NC. 



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