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Honors Alumni: Where are they now?

Kevin Adams (Class of 2015) won the Kneale History Award and the Mork Scholarship in Global History for his Honors Thesis, “International Women’s Day and Feminism in Iran 1979: Climax or Catalyst?”  He also won the Kneale Popular Culture Award for a paper, “Unifying Two Worlds:  The Significance of the Romantic Desert in Jane Porter's The Sheikh's Disobedient Bride.”  Kevin received an MA in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2020.  He recently published “Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Punk Alternative Publications: Challenges to Fugitive Materials” in Slavic and East European Resources (January 2021).  He is now the Information Literacy Librarian at Alfred University, a liaison to the History and Philosophy Department. 

Rosemary Arnold (Class of 2009) finished her MA in Museum Studies from IUPUI in the spring of 2011.  She was the Education Programs Manager at Conner Prairie in Indianapolis for many years.  In 2016 she moved to Philadelphia and began a new job at the Museum of the American Revolution where she is responsible for school programs and public programming. As of 2022 she is working at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.  She writes:  “Still in the informal education world, but now my work is more multidisciplinary."

Jessica Bair (Class of 2012) is currently working as a youth leader at First United Methodist Church in Wabash and teaching biblical history.

Lynch Bennett (Class of 2012) is pursuing his PhD in American colonial history at the College of William and Mary.

Jill Bosserman (Class of 2015) was the Department of History’s Outstanding Senior in 2016. After attending the Columbia University School of Journalism, she spent a few years as a substitute teacher of English, and she completed a Transition to Teaching program at Taylor University. Most recently she has been teaching English at an alternative high school in Virginia. She has been accepted into the Master’s in Education in Curriculum and Instruction program at the University of Virginia.

Ian Campbell (Class of 2017) was awarded the Outstanding Senior in History in 2018.  He completed his third year in law school at the University of Virginia.  While in law school he spent the summers in Cincinnati working first for the National Labor Relations Board, then for a small employment law practice.  He intends to take the Indiana state bar examination.

Kelsey Campbell (Class of 2013)  After studying at IUPUI and working as a medical files clerk at the Meridian Medical Group in Indianapolis, she will move to Washington state in fall 2021 to start a new job as a PA for the Columbia Basin Health Association. Kelsey writes: “It’s quite a departure from my history degree, but I still use the skills, and even knowledge, that I learned as a history major almost every day.” 

Ellie Carolus (Class of 2010) After a year as an au pair in Switzerland post-graduation, and a series of jobs in a variety of industries (HVAC, manufacturing, a bakery) in a variety of states, she finally settled into a career as a travel consultant. She is approaching her fourth anniversary in the business and is based in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  She writes: “My experience in the History Honors program was invaluable in helping me to get where I am today. It taught me not only how to hone my organizational and research skills but also my ability to effectively communicate in a way that has led to my continued success. Additionally, the collaborative atmosphere of the program with both my peers and the faculty and staff of the department gave me the confidence to reach out and forge new relationships with clients and other professionals in the travel community.

Lea Cejvan (Class of 2021) earned a Fulbright scholarship to study in Germany in 2021-22.  She will work with affiliates and sponsors at the Centre of Global Migration Studies in the August-Georg Universität Göttingen.  Her project is entitled, “The Positions and Perceptions of Balkan Refugees in Contemporary German Society.”

Daniele Celano (Class of 2018) is progressing through graduate school in history at the University of Virginia.  She is studying the legal history of the United States Civil War, and her current project focuses on the wartime repeal of the fugitive slave laws.  Specifically, she looks at how slaveholders tried to resist military emancipation through filing suits against Union officers in state courts, and the larger constitutional arguments denouncing federal war power launched by border state jurists and their congressmen aiming to keep slavery alive through, and after, the war.

Andrew Chapman (Class of 2020) planned on hiking the Appalachian Trail after graduation until the pandemic closed the parks. He is considering applying to graduate school in history. 

Kelsey Chapman (Class of 2018) is currently Program Coordinator, LGBTQ Center, Purdue University.

Colleen Couch (Class of 2018) worked at Notre Dame University in the Rare Books and Special Collections Department.  In fall 2018 she accepted a fellowship position at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis working in the Research and Evaluation Department focusing on visitor behavior and interaction within certain exhibits.  After teaching elementary school in Colorado, then doing archival work at a small museum in Estes Park, she will begin law school in the fall 2021.

Cade Carmichael (Class of 2013) has graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law. At Harvard Law I was a Senior Editor on the Harvard Environmental Law Review as well as a reach assistant for Professor Kate Konschink. I was also the recipient of the Tom Barron Fellowship, which honors students who work in public interest law, particularly those who focus on environmental projects in high-need, low-income areas. I am now pursuing an LL.M. in Natural Resources and International Environmental Law at the University of Iceland (Háskóli Íslands) in Reykjavík. At the University of Iceland I am a member of the Law Students' Association and will be preparing a post-J.D. thesis related to an international environmental issue next Spring.

Vince Dahl (Class of 2012) is the International Sales Associate & Operations Supervisor at Northwest Envirofan at the Hydrite Chemical Company in Oshkosh, WI.

Alex Davis (Class of 2018) earned a fellowship position at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.  In 2021 he started working at a financial services firm in Indianapolis.

Emily Dawes (Class of 2009) completed an MA in history at the American University of Beirut as well as a second MA in International Relations and Diplomacy at al-Akhawayn University in Morocco.  Her MA thesis for the American University of Beirut compared archaeological policy and politics in Ottoman Iraq from 1869-1920 and British Mandate Iraq from 1920-1932.  In 2014, she accepted an appointment at Midlands Technical College, South Carolina, as a history professor, teaching courses on the history of the Middle East, Africa and East Asia. She is currently in a Ph.D. program at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).  Her research focuses on Protestant missionary efforts in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century China among Muslim communities. Her interest in China stems from her childhood spent in Singapore and Beijing. 

Emily Durkin (Class of 2015) received the James J Shevlin Study Abroad scholarship and the Henry G. Waltmann Award. In the summer of 2015 she was an intern at the Foundling Museum, London, which preserves the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK's first children's charity and first public art gallery.

Kyle Dowd (Class of 2012) was the Assistant Rowing Coach at St. Lawrence University and completed an MA in Education.  He is now a designer at Blue Sky CGI Studios.

Allison Ferrara (Class of 2018) is pursuing a teaching career.

John Foerster (Class of 2013) graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 2016 and worked as an Associate at the Law Offices of Susan Fortino-Brown (dedicated to business immigration law services) in Chicago. As of fall 2021 he is an associate with Baker & McKenzie in Chicago, IL working in immigration law.

Ryan Freeman (Class of 2016) is currently working as the manager of an optometrist’s office, and is in the hiring process for a position in the Department of Justice.

Emma Gaier (Class of 2016) was awarded both the Brant Family Indiana Oxygen Company Scholarship and the David W. and Geryl L. Bischoff Undergraduate Scholarships.  Over the summer, she plans to volunteer at Prophetstown. She will graduate December 2016.

Katrina Galt (Class of 2011) studied music at the University of North Carolina.

Katelyn Graham (Class of 2018) is currently in her first year at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University.

Alex Griffin-Little (Class of 2021) graduated from the Honors College, and won the Outstanding Senior Award of 2021 from the Department of History.  In 2021-22 Alex will be teaching elementary school to a group of lovely 3rd graders in Chicago as part of Teach for America. Teach for America is a non-profit organization and partner with Americorps. TFA’s goal is the elimination of educational inequity. Alex is also working on their Master’s of Education with the hopes of working in the education field long term. Alex is also involved in local mutual aid and community- based organizations.

Olivia Hagedorn (Class of 2013) completed her Master’s in African-American history here at Purdue in 2015.  Her thesis, which won the 2015 CLA Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award, was entitled "'The Real Black Power:’ Mattie Coney and the Pragmatic Politics of Black Conservatism.  She is currently a PhD candidate in history at the University of Illinois.

Gregory J. Halmi (Class of 2010) Since he graduated he has served as Assistant Operations Officer of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Company Commander of the 198th Infantry Training Brigade, and is presently Chief of Operations of the 1st Infantry Division.  He has served in Italy, Afghanistan, Gerogia, and Korea.  Referring to the documents generated in the military, Greg insists that "writing as an army officer is an essential skill, and I have noticed in general that historians...have the strongest abilities compared to other majors."  He asserts that promotion in the army requires an officer to analyze battles and foreign countries, and the history honors program has given him an advantage in the research and writing of these required reports: "overall, ...history is an excellent major for a military officer.

Lauren Haslem (Class of 2015) completed her MA in American History at Purdue in 2017. Her thesis, titled "'Too Hot to Handle': LSD, Medical Activism, and the Spring Grove Studies," draws on the records of the Spring Grove State Hospital and examines psychedelic researchers’ efforts to safeguard LSD psychotherapy in the 1960s and 70s. She presented her research at the annual American Association for the History of Medicine conference and won the 2017 CLA Distinguished Master's Thesis Award. Lauren is currently at the University of Minnesota, pursuing a Ph.D. in medical history. 

Amy Heaney (Class of 2010) is currently studying art history at the University Illinois in Chicago.

Madison Heslop (Class of 2014) was a Marshall Scholarship Nominee and wond the American Studies Outstanding Senior Award, the Department of History Outstanding Senior Award, and the College of Liberal Arts Honors Outstanding Senior Award.  She attended the University of Edinburgh where she pursued a Master’s degree in American history.  She is now a PhD candidate in history at the University of Washington, specializing in the history of the North American West.  She sends congratulations and best wishes to the new history honors students. 

Eden Holmes (Class of 2017) earned the Outstanding Senior in History award in 2018.  She currently attends law school at Boston University.

Tiffany Hunsinger (Class of 2018) attends divinity school at the University of Dayton in Ohio.

Mark Johnson (Class of 2008) completed an MA in US history at the University of Maryland in 2011 and a PhD in African American social and political history at the University of Alabama in 2016.  His dissertation focuses on the presence and participation of disfranchised groups at formal political events throughout the South from 1870-1932.  He has published, “‘The Best Notes Made the Most Votes’: W. C. Handy, E. H. Crump, and Black Music as Politics," in Southern Cultures, 20/2 (summer 2014): 52-68; and “‘A Red Flag Before an Army of Old Vets’: Black Musicians and the United Confederate Veterans Reunion in New Orleans, 1903,” in Louisiana History 56/3 (summer 2015): 315-343.  He has also written a book entitled, An Irresistible History of Alabama Barbecue: From Wood Pit to White Sauce, and he has a contract for its publication with University of Mississippi Press.  He is currently a Lecturer at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  He writes: “In the History Honors program, I learned how to motivate myself.  I still use the time management skills I learned to complete all my necessary work and get ahead on future projects.”

Corrina Smith Judd (class of 2010) graduated from Indiana University School of Law in 2013.  She got married three years ago, and she and her husband live in Indianapolis, which they love. She uses her law degree in the trust department of a local bank. As an Estate Officer, her job is to settle clients' estates if they have named the bank in their estate planning documents. She likes to tell people she deals in life's certainties - death and taxes! She has found this to be an excellent way to fuel her love of history, because she gets to learn all about clients' lives after they have passed.

Roberto Kampfner (Class of 2021) will complete his senior year at Purdue in 2021-22, and he will be applying to law school.

Daniel King (Class of 2018) works in the US Park Service, Indiana Dunes.

Andrea (Matio) Kirschling (Class of 2016) Based on research for her honors thesis, she published short essays on the silent films "The Sheik" (1921) and "The Thief of Bagdad" (1924) in Daniel Bernardi and Michael Green's Race in American Cinema (ABC-Clio, 2017).  The summer after her graduation, she was a Reception and Placement intern at the Exodus Refugee in Indianapolis, where she helped assist and acclimate Syrian refugees.  Currently, she runs the only fair housing testing program in the state, which evaluates housing policies and uncovers housing discrimination.  She notes that History Honors gave her tools that contributed to her professional success because shse became a more independent and disiplined worker.  "Setting up an honor's thesis," she says, "really called on me to commit to a task and execute it at a higher level."  Andrea tailored her honor's thesis to her interest in Arab experiences, and she reports that this: "helped me empathize with different groups of people and piece together current events.  The world if forever changing but history has helped me form a more thorough picture of what systematic discrimiination looks like."

John Knight (Class of 2019) is a senior at Purdue University, and will apply to graduate programs in public history or archival and information science.

Jackie Krogmeier (Class of 2019) graduated with the Outstanding Senior Award in English and the Outstanding Senior Award in History in 2019. She currently works in Cleveland as a technical publishing assistant for Commutair, a regional carrier of United. She has been accepted into creative writing programs, and she will pursue either an MFA or PhD in history or English.

Robert Kugler (Class of 2015) wrote an honors thesis on Iraq’s foreign policy in the 1950s.  He earned the Department of History's Outstanding Senior award.  He reports that "the honors program challenged me in ways that I wasn't being challenged in some of my other classes."  After graduating, he played with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent.  Building upon his love for football and academics, he received an MA in Education (Intercollegiate Athletics Leadership) at the University of Washington.  He is currently an Assistant Offensive Line Coach with the Houston Texans.

J. T. Lang (Class of 2012) after teaching English in Spain for two years, J. T. began a Master’s Degree in Hispanic Literatures at Indiana University where he is also teaching Spanish as an assistant instructor.  

Samuel Leeds (Class of 2021) continues to run and coach cross-country.  He starts the PhD program in Comparative Pathobiology in the Vet School at Purdue University in fall 2021.

Charlotte Li (Class of 2021) spent the summer after graduation working as an assistant at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne.  This included helping the library to give away thousands of books to teens and children throughout Allen County and working in the Genealogy Center, for which the Foellinger Foundation, which funds a large part of the summer program, highlighted her on their social media. She will be attending IUPUI this fall to earn a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science.  She plans to pursue a Youth Services Specialization as well as a specialization in Public Librarianship/Adult Services.  Regarding history honors, perhaps her favorite part was going through the process of research as a class.

Rebecca Lutton (Class of 2010) received an MA from New York University in European and Mediterranean Studies in 2011.  She is currently the Senior Administrative Assistant in the Dean’s office in the College of Liberal Arts at Southern Indiana University where she is in charge of coordinating special events for the whole university.

Emma Maggart (Class of 2019) was the Department of History’s Outstanding Senior in 2020. She will begin the graduate program in history at Purdue University in the fall of 2020.

Katie Martin (Class of 2014) won Honorable Mention at the Liberal Arts Honors Colloquium for her History Honors poster on “Race and the Civilian Conservation Corps in Indiana, 1934-1941” and her Honors thesis "We Can Take It!": Race and the Civilian Conservation Corps in Indiana, 1934-1941" was published her work in the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research. In 2015, she won Outstanding Senior in American Studies and in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and was awarded the History Department's "Senior Graduating with Excellence" award.  She completed a Master of Library Science degree at Indiana University.  She is currently Assistant Archivist at the Rockefeller Archive Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  She works primarily with the Ford Foundation’s massive archive (approximately 3,000 boxes), and she works on various digital projects that involve writing code and creating websites.

Meredith Horn Masterson (Class of 2008) received an MA in Public History at IUPUI and is the Assistant Director of Education for Dayton History, Ohio, overseeing seven historic sites: Carillon Historical Park, the Archive Center, Hawthorn Hill, the Patterson Homestead, the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site, the Old Court House and Memorial Hall.  She is headquartered at the largest of these sites, Carillon Historical Park, home to the second oldest airplane in existence, the 1905 Wright Flyer III.  Meredith acts as a historical interpreter at each of the Dayton History sites, coordinating and presenting all educational programs as well as training staff and volunteers. In Meredith’s own words, “I have a fun job and I have Purdue to thank for helping put me on this path.”

Siobhan McGuire (Class of 2008) received her M. Phil. at Trinity College, Dublin, in medieval history.  She is currently working in medical research at the IU Center for Aging Research (affiliated with IU School of Medicine) in Indianapolis and is a co-author for an article published in Dementia and two other articles on aging that have recently been submitted for publication.

Emma Meyers (Class of 2008) is pursuing a Ph.D. in South Asian history at Emory University.

Wesley Morning (Class of 2021), after graduating with a double major in history and political science, is moving into the field of banking with Chase bank, and he hopes to pursue an MBA one year from now.

Samuel Needham (Class of 2009) received an MA in theology at the University of Notre Dame in spring 2011; he worked for United Methodist campus ministry at Kansas State University from 2011-2012.  He is currently finishing a Masters of Divinity at Boston University and was recently appointed as the new associate pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Elkhart, Indiana. 

Kristen Blankenbaker Noel (Class of 2013) completed her MA in modern American women’s history here at Purdue in 2015.  Her MA Thesis was entitled, "Midwives and Madonnas: Motherhood and Citizenship in the American Counterculture."  She is currently working as a Research Associate for the Purdue Research Foundation.

Jake Patterson (Class of 2020) is attending law school at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis.

Bradley Pierson (Class of 2014) is currently attending the University of Virginia, School of Law and working at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.  His History Honors thesis on the Nixon administration won second place at the university-wide Honors competition, “DiscoverU” and was featured as a "research snapshot" in the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research.

Brittany Poe (Class of 2010) is a graduate student at Fordham University, working toward a PhD in medieval studies.

Grant Priester (Class of 2014) was accepted into the University of Michigan's Masters of Urban Planning program for the fall 2015.

Alex Reisinger (Class of 2017) is pursuing a career in medicine.

Samantha Richards (Class of 2014) was admitted to the Teach for America program and taught math to 3rd and 4th graders at the Lyon Academy in Saint Louis, MO for several years.  After teaching first grade at Navy Point Elementary, Pensacola, FL, she decided to make a career change. While she loved the kids, and seeing their progress was so rewarding, she no longer wished to continue to work for administrators who break the law, are incompetent or don’t have the kids’ best interests in heart—and get away with it. “It was a very valuable experience, one that definitely helped shape who I am, but too frustrating to pursue.”  She is studying hard for the LSAT and researching different law schools.  “I feel very positive that law school and a career as a lawyer is what is best for me.” 

Mark Robison (Class of 2009) studied Library Science at the University of Indiana, graduating with his MA in 2012.  He is currently working at Valparaiso University as a First Year Experience Librarian, where he teaches library instruction and is the liaison to Social Work, Political Science, History, American Studies, ROTC, and area high schools.  He reports that he loves demystifying the research process for students.

Kevin Robey (Class of 2014) was one of the 2014 Liberal Art Honors Colloquium Prize Winners for his Honors thesis, “Turning Tables: Gangsta Rap, the LAPD, and the 1992 LA Riot.”  He is currently teaching social studies at Harrison Middle School.

Chelsea Rose (Class of 2016) was the 2016 Outstanding Senior in Political Science, a panelist at the Terror in Paris Symposium, and won third place for her Honors Thesis, “Hijacking the Conservative Movement: Terrorism, Civil Aviation Security, and Domestic Politics in the Reagan Era,” at the Liberal Arts Honors Colloquium.  Over the summer she worked with Professor William Gray, studying war and peace in Bonn, Germany.  In August she moved to Copenhagen to participate in a semester-long program studying European security and counterterrorism policy. She graduated in December 2016. She is currently working with the Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security as the private sector security liaison for Latin America and the Caribbean. She also finished her Master's at the Institute of World Politics in DC with a specialization in counterintelligence and foreign intelligence services. She is always available and excited to meet with or talk to students who are interested in the Intelligence Community, State Department, or life in DC.

Jon Schwoenwetter (Class of 2015) is currently working in real estate and construction and is applying to law schools this fall.

Nidhi Shekar (Class of 2021) will complete her final year at Purdue in the Honors College and as part of Degree-in-Three.  She will be the campus editor of the Exponent.  She will be applying to law school with the intention of becoming a public interest lawyer.

Iyad Shihadel (Class of 2008) received an MA in Modern History at the London School of Economics. He is currently working for Senator Dianne Feinstein as her Constituent Services Representative.

Nicholas Short (Class of 2020) won the Senior Graduating with Excellence Award and the Gordon R. Mork Award in Global History in 2021.  He starts the Master’s Degree program in history at the University of Cincinnati in fall 2021.

Charlie Spencer (Class of 2009) earned an MA at the University of Chicago in 2010.  He then spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in eastern Ukraine.  After serving as a second lieutenant in the Air National Guard and studying at the flight school for the Air Force in Pensacola, Florida, he is currently serving in the Air Force as a Combat Systems Officer based out of Harrisburg, PA.

Eric Stocking (Class of 2015) received the Department of History’s Stover Scholarship and won 3rd place at the Purdue Undergraduate Research poster fair in the spring of 2015.  Over the summer, he interned with the City of Chicago’s Department of Law Federal Civil Rights Litigation Division.  He is applying to law schools in the fall and plans to pursue a career in constitutional law.

Mary Strong (Class of 2017) currently attends law school.

Tatum Theaman (Class of 2019) is currently at IUPUI working on a master’s degree in Urban Education and getting a license to teach secondary social studies. Right now, she is student teaching 7th grade social studies at a middle school in Indianapolis. Next semester she will be at a high school, and hopefully this time next year she will be in a classroom of her own!

Maxine Vande Vaarst  (Class of 2010) completed a master’s degree in American Studies at the University of Wyoming in 2016.  She is currently working on a PhD in American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her dissertation focuses on squatters, urban explorers, and radical uses of urban space in New York City. She has been living in New York and conducting intensive fieldwork there since June, thanks to a pair of research fellowships from the UNC graduate school.  She writes:  “It was the Purdue history honors program that first set me on course for post-grad studies and I will always be thankful for that experience.”

Hannah Vaughn (Class of 2015) was a student assistant with the Purdue University Flight and Space Exploration Archives in 2015-16.  This coming fall (2016) she will begin her MA program in Library Science at Indiana University.

William Vogel (Class of 2011) History Honors Thesis, “Warships and Disarmament on the Inland Seas: The Great Lakes, 1815-1871” won the award for best presentation at the CLA Honors Colloquium in 2012.  He also won the 2012 Gilder Lehrman History Scholar Award. He is currently at the University of Minnesota studying the history of science and technology. 

Sam Walburn (Class of 2016) presented, “LGBTQ Erasure and Reclamation in Collective Memory: Lessons from a Trans-Atlantic Study Abroad,” at the Midwestern World History Association Conference, Wabash College, in 2015.  He will graduate from Purdue in 2017 and plans to pursue a PhD in American History.

Ryan Wettschurack (Class of 2020) graduated in 2021 with a double major in history and political science.  In fall 2022 he enters the MA program in Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Daniel Williams (Class of 2021) is considering applying to graduate school in history.

Nekoda Witsken (Class of 2015) won Best Presentation and Poster for her History Honors thesis, "Dining Room Politics: American and Japanese Women as Agents of Nineteenth-Century Imperialism," at the Liberal Arts Honors Symposium.  She is now living in Boston, working in sales and technology with EMC Corporation and furthering her art career as a muralist.

Ally Wong (Class of 2016) presented her History Honors thesis, “The Yellow Peril at Purdue University: An Examination of the Chinese Student Experience during the Exclusion Era,” at the Asian American and Asian Resource Cultural Center poster presentation. Over the summer, she will be working as a Congressman’s intern in California.