Mason Ailstock is a second year graduate student from Hot Springs, Virginia. He is on a dual-degree track for a MA in Curriculum & Instruction and a MA in History with a certificate in Public History. He graduated with a BA in History from Virginia Tech in the spring of 2015. His primary research interests include Military History from the perspective of the homefront and Socioeconomic Historical studies. Following graduation from the program, he plans to go into education, hopefully at the collegiate level.
Jenny Nehrt is a second year graduate student in the History MA program from Winchester, VA. She graduated magna cum laude from James Madison University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in History. Her Senior Honors Thesis was titled “The Models of Masculinity: Youth, Gender, and Education in Fascist Italy, 1922-1939.” Her research interests pertain to historical currents of thought and frequently leans towards gender history. She is also pursuing the certificate in Public History because she is interested in how history is consumed outside of academia.
Rebecca Williams is a second-year student from Radford, VA, pursuing the M. A. in History with a certificate in Public History. Her current research examines the development of Halloween in America by the “new middle class” from the 1880s to the 1920s, asking why and how this particular group celebrated the holiday based on their perceived needs and desires. Rebecca’s interest in being a public historian stems from experiences with department projects and multiple museum internships in places like Roanoke, VA (History Museum of Western Virginia) to Washington D. C. (National Museum of the American Indian) and all the way to North Dakota (Theodore Roosevelt Center and Digital Library). She hopes to contribute creative and technical skills to institutions looking to present history to the public in innovative ways during this digital age.
Ellen Boggs is a first year graduate student from Yorktown, Virginia. She received her undergraduate degree in History at Virginia Tech, with a minor in Appalachian Studies. Her research interests include public history and the representation of Appalachia, particularly through cultural performance (festivals, carnivals, gatherings) and media (music, television, movies, etc.). After graduate school, Ellen hopes to put her public history certificate to use by working in a museum or a national/state park.
Emily Harmon is a first year graduate student originally from the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. She graduated from Erskine College, a small liberal arts college in South Carolina, in 2012 with degrees in Political Science and English. After exploring career options in government, law, and global nonprofit work, Emily decided to return to graduate school when she had the chance! Her research interests (right now) are public history and early 20th century history.
Grace Hemmingson is a first year history MA student. Originally from Vienna, VA, Grace grew up with a deep love for history that stemmed from trips to the multitude of Civil War battlefields in the Northern Virginia region. While attending Virginia Tech as an undergrad, she had the good fortune of being selected for a unique research seminar whose focus was creating a database of all Virginians who had died of tuberculosis from 1870-1920. She was instantly drawn into the strange cultural practices and superstitions which surrounded the disease, as well as the seemingly anti-scientific methods used by physicians during that time frame. She also developed a love for museum work through her internship at Smithfield Plantation as an undergrad. Grace chose to come back to Virginia Tech in order to continue her education as a historian and to earn a certificate in public history. She hopes to spread her love for the history of infectious diseases to the public and increase awareness for the history of medicine as a field.
Heather Ryan is a first year history MA student from the best state in the Union: New York. She majored in history and minored in French and English at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Her interests include public history, social history, space history, and food history. In her spare time (ha!) she likes to bake, watch irreverent comedies, read for fun, and kayak.
Delia Tomlinson is a first year History Master’s student from Pennington Gap, Virginia. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2015 with a B.A. in History and dual minors in Leadership and Social Change and Creative Writing. Her research interests include social movements after World War II and the social and cultural history of Appalachia. Delia is working to complete a Certificate in Public History alongside her Master’s degree, and hopes to continue to work with the public upon completion of the program.