Catching Up With Alumni
Mackenzie Francis, Kutztown University, B.S., Class of 2017, Secondary Education (Social Studies)
"My name is Mackenzie Francis and I currently teach at Schuylkill Technology Centers, South Campus. The Schuylkill Technology Center is a Career and Technology high school located in Schuylkill County, Pa that services twelve sending school districts. I teach the American Studies 1, American Studies 2, and World Studies courses currently. This is a very unique experience and one that I have found extremely rewarding. The history courses at Kutztown University really helped to prepare me for my position. The professors were kind, considerate, and very knowledgeable in their content area. I enjoyed the diverse courses that were offered to me; I took everything from the History of the French Revolution to History of Women in America. I believe that Kutztown has a history department that provides a very thorough education. My one hope is for more teachers to work in a vocational school to assist with academics in the career and technical education field."
Nicholas Kime, Kutztown University, Class of 2021, B.A. History with Paralegal Studies
"I am a 2021 Kutztown University graduate (History/Paralegal Studies). I am currently a Case Manager at the York County District Attorney’s Office. During my time at Kutztown University, the education I received at Kutztown helped me get an internship as a Paralegal at the District Attorney’s Office in York. Once my internship ended, I was hired as a Paralegal and worked various hours in the office while I was still in school. Upon graduation I had a full-time job in the DA’s Office waiting for me. My major had helped me get my foot in the door with my current employer. Furthermore, my major has been a life experience/interest I have found in common with many of the Attorneys in my office. Choosing History as your major is a great choice due to its caring staff; interesting classes; and the way it sharpens your ability to read and write on a high, professional level. If you are interested in entering the legal field or interested in various topics in history, I would strongly recommend being a History major. Dr. Gabriel, Dr. Gambone and others in the History Department have been an inspiration to me and taught me the work ethic it takes for someone to be successful in the real world. I am extremely grateful for the time I have spent at Kutztown University as a History major."
Jennifer Goss, Kutztown University, Class of 2002, BSED/SS/HISTORY
Jennifer Goss is the Program Director for Echoes & Reflections, which is a partnership between the Anti-Defamation League, the U.S. Shoah Foundation & Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. She is a United States Holocaust Museum teacher fellow, an Alfred J. Lerner fellow with the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous and serves as a consultant for many Holocaust and genocide education organizations nationwide. Jennifer served on the Virginia Commission to Combat Antisemitism in 2022. Prior to her current posting Jennifer engaged students for 19 years as a teacher in Pennsylvania and Virginia. She also earned an MA in Holocaust & Genocide Studies from West Chester University thanks to the encouragement of Dr. John Delaney. Additionally, she holds an MA in American History from Pace University. Jennifer has published several articles, books and book chapters and produced the Emmy-nominated documentary, Misa's Fugue.
Derek Dombrowski, Kutztown University, Class of 2020, B.A. History
Derek is currently teaching at Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Derek said, “My experience with the History Department was nothing short of amazing. I was always surrounded by knowledgeable and extremely helpful professors and students. The dedicated staff and their expertise helped guide me on my way to becoming the educator that I am today.”
Isabelle Waddelow, Kutztown University, Class of 2020, Summa Cum Laude, B.A., History, Minor in Political Science
Isabelle Waddelow is currently an Assistant Director of Admissions at Delaware County Community College. After graduating from Kutztown with her bachelor's degree in History, Isabelle decided that she wanted to stay in higher education. Isabelle worked first at Harcum College in the admissions office where she found her passion for helping non-traditional students begin their educational journey. “I really found my passion for higher education by being surrounded by the amazing history faculty at Kutztown. I only chose Kutztown because of an information session hosted by Dr. Arnold that I visited as a high school senior. His ability to convey knowledge and passion is something that I try to emulate daily with the students I help. The Kutztown History Department gave me opportunities to individualize my experience and the faculty pushed me to live up to my full potential. The friends I gained from my history classes are now lifelong ones. I can never thank Dr. Derr, Dr. Arnold, Dr. Gabriel, Dr. Johnson, or Dr. Gambone enough for their guidance, kindness, and faith in me during my four years at Kutztown.”
Karleigh Gangwer, Kutztown University, Class of 2021, History with Paralegal
While at Kutztown I was a History major and completed the ABA-approved Paralegal Studies program held with Lehigh Carbon Community College. These two programs complemented each other to help maximize my educational experience. I was fortunate to study a subject I loved while also mastering an important skill set to use in my professional career. As a transfer student to Kutztown, the history department took me in with open arms and helped curate some of the best relationships I had during my undergraduate years, both with fellow classmates and my professors. The smaller class sizes allowed me to maintain these important relationships that were effective both inside and outside the classroom. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I was also lucky to become a Supplemental Instructor for HIS 14 & HIS 15 classes and served as President of History Club for the 20/21 academic year as well as Secretary for the 19/20 academic year. Outside of the classroom I was a student worker at the Kutztown University Card Office and was involved in Greek life. I am grateful for the connections I made throughout my college career. I graduated in May 2021 Cum Laude and I currently work as a Paralegal at a large law firm based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Rebecca Van Horn, Kutztown University, Class of 2015 - Summa Cum Laude, B.A., History
Rebecca is currently Chair of the History and Social Science Department at Morristown Beard School in Morristown, NJ. She teaches ninth grade World History courses as well as English electives, including Advanced Studies: Literature of the Modern Period and Literature of Revolutions. In addition to teaching, Rebecca is an assistant field hockey coach, international service trip chaperone, advisor to the UNICEF Club, and leads the Parent Association Fiction Book Club. Rebecca is pursuing a Ph.D. in History & Culture at Drew University, with a dissertation focused on the unpublished work of Kay Boyle. Rebecca lived in Donegal, Ireland while completing her Master’s thesis (2017), which examined Modernist Irish artists in the Mediterranean world. During her B.A., which she earned from KU in 2015, Rebecca studied history, literature, and art in Aix-en-Provence, France and Crete, Greece. Before joining MBS's faculty in 2019, Rebecca worked in international education, teaching university and high school students in Rome and London. "None of this would have been possible without the KU History Department Faculty!" --
Emily (Curley) Welsh, Kutztown University, Class of 2015, History Minor M.A., American History, George Mason University, MLIS in Archives, University of Pittsburgh
"...After I graduated from KU (BA Anthropology, MINOR IN HISTORY and Pennsylvania German Studies, 2015) I attended George Mason University M.A. in American History (2017) and worked as the University Oral Historian and became interested in archives as a career. After Mason I attended the University of Pittsburgh and got my MLIS in Archives (2018). I've worked for the Arlington Public Library's Center for Local History, the US Naval History and Heritage Command, and am now the Head Archivist at the Washington National Cathedral. I recently got married ...and my husband (also an archivist) and I live outside Washington, DC in Vienna, VA."
Lauren Pash, Kutztown University, Class of 2022, History & German Studies major, Pennsylvania German Studies minor
"I am an August 2022 Kutztown University graduate. I was a dual major in History and German Studies with a minor in Pennsylvania German Studies. In the Summer of '22, I was able to intern at the Allentown Art Museum in the collections department where I performed data clean up and entry of their museum system, specializing in exhibitions and condition records. I was also catalogued new acquisitions and assisted in rehousing. I worked with objects hands-on, including textiles, paintings, books (preservation work making enclosures), and other works of art. I helped prepare items for the reinstallation of their New American Gallery, along with assisting loans that were going to be sent out, including a late 1880s Victorian Dress which had to have a mannequin specifically manipulated for the dress. In the Fall of '22, I started graduate school at Simmons University where I will be studying Archives Management. I also started an internship at the House of Representatives Archives, where I have had the amazing opportunity to meet people like Governor Tom Wolf (pictured in the center) and other important people in our state government. I will be processing collections, entering the collections into the archives database ArchivesSpace, creating small historical biographies of former house members from the 1800s, and creating my own exhibition case."
Casey Siddons, Kutztown University, Class of 2008, BSED SEU/CIT ED/HISTORY
"I distinctly remember getting notification that I was going to be assigned to Southern Middle School in Reading to (student) teach 7th grade social studies with Rob Mazzo. I had the distinct privilege to work with students from a background very unlike my own and it made me a stronger teacher and better person ...and made me realize that I could teach anywhere with any students because I knew at my core that I believed that ALL kids can achieve at high levels given the appropriate supports and adults around them. Working with students in Reading helped me realize all the privileges that my background and family had given me, and also helped prepare me for working in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland - one of the most diverse school systems and communities in the nation. I AM SO INCREDIBLY THANKFUL FOR MY TIME AT KUZTOWN!" Casey has taught middle and high school students for many years and is currently the 7th Grade Lead Administrator and Assistant Principal at Cabin John MIddle School in Maryland where he lives with his wife and daughter.
Christopher Nasados, Kutztown University, Class of 2003, B.A History - M.P.A, Public Administration, Kutztown University
"I am currently a GS 13 team lead with the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. I work with the SNAP Employment and Training Program in the Mid Atlantic Regional Office. Previously, I worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the Department of Human Services. Kutztown University gave me a chance to succeed. I was a nontraditional student, coming back to school in my early 30's and I knew that in order to stay with the work I needed to find a major that was both interesting and challenging. I found that as a History major at Kutztown. I was able to learn how to research and keep digging for the truth, and I still use those lessons today. When I started working for the Federal Government, I was working with professionals that went to Ivy league and private schools, and I would stack up the abilities I learned at Kutztown with anything they learned. After receiving my bachelor's degree I went for another two years to get my Masters degree in Public Administration. I am currently pursuing a degree in Social Work because I still have a love of learning. I did not get to spend much social time at Kutztown; when I was there, I was working full time at night, going to class full time during the day, and raising three young children. I would not trade in that time for anything. I had many great, knowledgeable professors who shaped my vision and allowed me to succeed, including Dr. Gabriel and Dr. Kelleher. I would suggest that prospective students find something they love and follow it. Through history I have been able to live a different life than I would have if I hadn't taken the chance of applying. I am still fascinated by the time period of the late 19th/ early 20th centuries and the plight of the workers who banded together to try and scratch out a life for themselves in a society that was not looking for them to succeed. I use those lessons today in my work as I try and help people rise out of the situation they are in and find a way to stand on their own. It is not hyperbole to say that I owe my current life and career to Kutztown University and the great History Department that is housed there."
Lily Kleppertknoop, Kutztown University, Class of 2011, B.A., History, M.A. Anthropology, 2013, College of William and Mary. Register of Professional Archaeologists Member 2012-2022.
- Lily currently serves the Maryland Judiciary, Administrative Office of the Courts as a Data Specialist and Senior Researcher, serving courts statewide to better understand their statistical data and produce research into historical trends. She also consults for CHORA Creative, on matters concerning business and market research, specializing in the non-profit field. Prior, she spent four years as a Forensic Historian conducting large scale research projects into environmental litigation cases. She also spent time as a Cultural Resources Technician in the Mid-Atlantic region, attending archaeological digs, specializing in early colonial homesteads and potter’s field sites. - “I strongly urge current History students to leverage their skills in conducting research, both online and off, and being able to synthesize complex and multi-faceted issues in a concise way - an incredibly valuable asset in today’s corporate environment. Special thanks to Dr. Eric Johnson for pushing me when I needed it most.”
Matthew Harris, Kutztown University, Class of 2018, B.A., History
Matthew is attending West Virginia University, where he earned his MA in history in 2020 and is now working toward a PhD • He also assists with US History Survey courses, pre- and post-1865 • Matthew presented twice at the HECBC Conference on topics concerning Black Resettlement and military funeral traditions. He worked with faculty mentors Drs. Gabriel and Gambone. Matt said, “It’s important for undergraduates to have a support system and not think of themselves as 'islands.' [Teaching undergraduate courses] has definitely given me more appreciation for my own undergraduate professors. It is also very rewarding when students ask strong questions and show particular interest in a topic I am discussing. While you may go into a conference presentation expecting to be the one speaking and informing, you’ll often come out having learned just as much.”
Madison Weary, Kutztown University, Class of 2010, BSED-SOCIAL STUDIES
"My name is Madison Weary and I am a 2010 KU grad (Secondary Education/Social Studies). I am currently a 7th-grade social studies teacher in the Springfield School District (Delco) and an adjunct professor at West Chester University. I recently spoke to Dr. Johnson about successfully defending my dissertation in March 2021 at West Chester University, and expressed my sincere gratitude to the KU History Department (so much so that I made sure to give the department a shout-out on my acknowledgments page). I was beyond lucky to have had so many professors at KU who believed in me and am forever grateful to them for instilling within me a love of learning and a belief that I belonged in the academic world. The title of my dissertation is 'Implementing Content Literacy and Disciplinary Literacy: A Mixed Methods Study of Middle School Teachers' Pedagogical Dispositions.'"
Liz Hopkins, Kutztown University, Class of 2014, B.A., History
Liz Hopkins is a Rare Book Cataloger for The Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 2016, she pursued a career as a Textile Archivist for The Allentown Art Museum, where she cataloged and conserved objects from over fifteen centuries. As an avid reader, Liz ventured into working for independent bookstores, where she fused her knowledge of museum handling skills and books together. Today, she has worked with nearly 2,000 scarce and rare books ranging from the early 1500's to valuable signed editions from the 20th century.
Erich Lenz, Kutztown University, Class of 2016, B.A., History with Minor in PA German Studies
"I work in the courthouse as a deputy for the Lehigh County Register of Wills division. My duties include facilitating probate appointments for attorneys and their clients, processing inheritance tax documents, and providing general administrative support vital to the efficiency of our office. Our division is just one part of a larger office that handles other important matters such as Recorder of Deeds, prothonatary, and criminal matters. A history major is well-equipped to work many positions available in the public sector. Additionally, courthouse positions often require strong research skills which, ideally, most history majors will have naturally cultivated during their academic career. An interest in public history led me to work with several government owned museums and historic sites. It is a privilege to serve in this capacity. I urge prospective history majors to think outside of the box and consider all the different career paths they can pursue with the unique skills they will develop."
Carolyn Wasser, Kutztown University, Class of 2017, B.A., History & BSED Library Science
Carolyn is captain of her own tall masted sailing ship, teaching students history, marine biology, navigation, and sail training. All of the lessons are hands-on as students raise sails together, snorkel, and kayak to learn about fish and ecosystems and sail to historic ports. Carolyn reports, "I love it! I get to share my love of history and sailing while being outdoors 24/7."
Aimee Bernard, Kutztown University, Class of 2014 , B.A., History
Aimee is currently the Membership & Development Assistant at The Frick Art and Historical Center. "Studying History at Kutztown gave me the foundation I needed to pursue an M.A. in Public History. The research, analytical, and writing skills I gained in the History Department are the skills I use every day in my career. My time at Kutztown was not only some of the most enjoyable years, but the most rewarding."
Tarra (Raspanti) Quigley, Kutztown University, Class of 2015, B.A., History - M.A., University of the Arts
Tarra is Executive Assistant & Project Manager for the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health. She has previously held positions as Director of Student Engagement and Event Coordinator for Manor College and in various capacities at the Arch Street Meeting House and The Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, as well as the Wells Fargo Historical Museum.
Alyse Evans, Kutztown University, Class of 2002, B.A., History - M.A., Millersville
Alyse creates and presents programs to students about the history of the Eisenhower National Historic Site and the life and times of President Eisenhower.
Corey (Summers) Fake, Kutztown University, Class of 2015, B.A., History w/ PLG - M.A., Public Applied History, Southern New Hampshire University
Corey is currently a Records Management Specialist at PSECU and a Notary Public. Previously, she was a Solicitor's Paralegal for Franklin County, PA and held positions as a court reporter, and a Historical Guide at Thaddeus Stevens' Blacksmith Shop. She was also named Harrisburg Magazine's Young Person of the Year in 2017.
Amanda Zimmerman, Kutztown University, Class of 2010, B.A., History
Amanda Zimmerman is a Park Ranger at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park within the Division of Interpretation, Education, and Volunteers. She is stationed in the park’s Palisades District (Potomac, MD) where she acts as the lead for interpretive planning, historical research, social media, and visitor services. She also recruits, hires, and trains seasonal park staff and interns, coordinates safety and diversity training, and coordinates community engagement opportunities. Additionally, Amanda has served in the role of Park Ranger at Prince William Forest Park, Bandelier National Monument, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Hampton National Historic Site, and the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Amanda earned a B.A. in History from Kutztown University in 2010. She was enrolled in Kutztown University’s M.Ed. program with a concentration in Social Studies before enrolling in East Stroudsburg University’s graduate program where she is pursuing an M.A. in History with a concentration in Public Memory.
Kelly J. McManus, Kutztown University, Class of 2015, B.A., History - M.A., History, William Paterson University, Currently: Museum Attendant at the Dey Mansion
Since graduating from Kutztown University in 2015, Kelly has used the knowledge and skills he acquired to earn a Master’s Degree in History from William Paterson University. Kelly has gone on to employ the professional conditioning he received from these two institutions at the Dey Mansion, a Historic House Museum which portrays the stay of George Washington at the home in 1780, during the American Revolution. "It's a great thing to find work in your field of study, and the experiences I’ve had at Kutztown really made that possible. The professors are passionate and dedicated to the students here. I wouldn’t have had the amount of success I did had it not been for their counsel and guidance.”
Shane Baddick, Kutztown University, Class of 2019, B.A. History
"While I may not have stayed on the path of History, the relevant experience I obtained through my History degree at KU has certainly given me an advantage while fitting in to a new career. I currently have a job with the Rug Company in San Francisco dealing with the maintenance, as well as the shipping and receiving, of high-end luxury rugs. This may seem like it has nothing to do with history at all, however, the skills learned as a history major come into play daily. The organizational skills, communication skills, and learning how to have an eye for detail all greatly play a part in my job and likely any career after KU. Thanks to the dedicated educators in KU's history department I feel especially ready to tackle any interview, or new career move of my choice."
Alyssa Brophy, Kutztown University, Class of 2018, B.A., History - M.A., History, M.S. Library Science, Simmons University
Alyssa graduated in May 2021 from Simmons University, Boston, MA. She received a MA in History and a MS in Library Science with a concentration in Archive Management. "My graduate thesis is titled, "Paesani to Peoples: The Construction of Italian Races and Self-Identity in Philadelphia in the Early Twentieth Century." The thesis is a combination of genealogy, race science, immigration history, various government voices, and immigration legislation. I utilized genealogical research in immigration history with the use of passenger manifest, census records, and naturalization papers. (At KU) I picked the History program because it was an area that I was interested in and wanted to expand my knowledge. Luckily, I discovered that I liked the idea of researching ancestral roots during my time at KU. All the professors at KU helped me design a path that headed towards the career of genealogy. Multiple professors suggested the Library Science minor where I ended up learning about archives. Dr. Gabriel helped me obtain three internships, two of which were in a special library collection and archive. Dr. Johnson continually pushed me academically and challenged my perspective on history. I could always count on Dr. Rodriquez for a bit of life advice and some laughs. I want to thank the History Department because they allowed me to explore different routes that intrigued me in the History field. They encouraged me to take initiative towards new ideas I had while in the program."
Shane Moran, Kutztown University, Class of 2013, B.S., Secondary Ed (Social Studies) Minor (History)
Shane has been teaching AP U.S. History, World History, and Geography at Weatherly Area High School since 2014. Shane still continues to be a “lifelong learner” and encourages students to always ask questions, learn from history (and its mistakes), and better themselves by looking at moments in time from different perspectives. Shane proudly displays his loyalties with a small classroom display dedicated to Kutztown University. When he is not teaching you can find him volunteering at his local historical society or with the National Park Service. After completing his master's degree in 2020 from Wilkes University he still is striving to teach at the collegiate level.
Tim Cirino, Esq., Kutztown University, Class of 2013, B.A., History - Doctor of Law, (Juris Doctorate) in Environmental Law, Barry University - Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law 2017
Tim who is a contract attorney said, "I think people underestimate how useful a History Major is in law school!"
Samantha Miller, Kutztown University, Class of 2011, B.A., History - M.A., University of Pennsylvania
Sam is currently Salesforce Test Lead & System Administrator at Elsevier. She has also served as a Jr. Contract Administrator, and as a Digital Imaging Technician and DAMS Metadata Manager at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Guy Morrison, Kutztown University, Class of 2014, B.A., History - M.A., Villanova University - Ph.D., Cambridge University
"Receiving a history degree from Kutztown University has opened so many doors for my future as a historian. With the guidance of Dr. Saidi and Dr. Johnson (Johnson is pictured with Guy at Cambridge in the above photo), I was admitted to Villanova and then Cambridge University. The KU History department really took their time to help me reach my goals and aspirations. Whether it was in or out of the classroom, the faculty of Kutztown's history department really cared about my endeavors. I would not be where I am today without their insight."
Sheila Joy, Kutztown University, Class of 2013, B.A., History - M.A., Public History, Shippensburg
Sheila is an Archivist at United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg and a YouTube vlogger.
John Hoptak, Kutztown University, Class of 2000, B.A. History
John serves as an interpretive Park Ranger with the National Park Service and teaches courses as an adjunct instructor at American Military University. Hoptak has written articles for America's Civil War, Civil War Times, and Pennsylvania Heritage. He is also the author of several books.
Brittaney Eshbach, Esq., Kutztown University, Class of 2014, B.A., History, with Minors in Mathematics and Political Science, Doctor of Law (Juris Doctorate) Pennsylvania State University, the Dickinson School of Law, Carlisle, PA., 2017
Brittaney is law clerk to the Honorable Michelle Varricchio at the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas. "While pursuing my B.A., the History Department at KU afforded me numerous opportunities to hone my research, critical reading, writing, and analytical skills. As a law student, those skills are invaluable, and I utilize each of them on a daily basis. In particular, with regard to some of my Constitution-based classes, having a History degree has given me a better understanding of the legal landscape because I am aware of the context within which the cases have arisen. My History degree has provided a solid foundation for the start of my legal career."
Sarah Ford-Richards, Kutztown University, Class of 2013, B.A., History & B.S., Psychology - Clinical Counseling -M.A., History - Rutgers University, M.A., History & Philosophy of Science and Technology - NJ Institute of Technology, NJIT US AID Fellow - Cape Town, South Africa, ESL and Adult Education Instructor at Alleghany Intermediate Unit - Greater Pittsburgh, PA
"One of the most important things I learned while studying history at KU was to never limit myself. Being a history major doesn't limit your options to just teaching in a classroom. Rather, the knowledge and skills acquired from studying in this field can open doors to numerous opportunities. You just have to be creative and inspired by the work that you do. What the faculty at KU taught me went beyond the classroom and encouraged me to achieve excellence."
Andrew Majcher, Kutztown University, Class of 2008, B.A., History
Andrew is a Records Manager/Digital Archivist at Brown University. He has said, "My History degree from KU reinforced the skills needed to succeed, such as research methods, organization, writing techniques, and public speaking. I use these skills constantly in my job and while obtaining my Masters of Library and Information Science degree with a specialization in Archives and Records Management. The real value of the History Department at KU is the faculty; I wouldn't have been as successful during my time at KU without their motivation and encouragement."
Brian Pawling, Kutztown University, Class of 2001, B.S., Secondary Education/Social Studies, Current Position: Business Manager at Brandywine Heights Area School District
"While my career path did not lead to a position related to history, the education and the relationships I formed in the KU history department really helped prepare me for a professional career. Dr. Gabriel, Professor Fries, Dr. Sanelli, Dr. Valuska, and others empowered me to put forth my best effort, and those skills helped me through my MBA program. I use the education I received at KU daily to serve the students and community in administering a fiscally responsible program while meeting the educational needs of the children in the Brandywine Heights School District."
Joseph Zagorski, Kutztown University, Class of 2000, B.S., Secondary Education/History/Social Studies
Joseph is the author of several books on the history of the National Football League.
Vaneesa Cook, Kutztown University, Class of 2001, B.A., History, Class of 2004, M.P.A., and M.A., History, University of Madison, Wisconsin.
"There's no doubt that the KU History faculty inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. However, it wasn't until I began graduate school that I realized how well the program had prepared me not only in terms of historical content, but also in the methodology of historical research and writing. It's nice to know I can still count on KU faculty for guidance and support after all these years as an alum."