The History program at SIU Carbondale is a large, diverse community that includes current faculty and students, but also emeritus faculty and alumni. Although you may be miles away from Carbondale, you are still part of our program's community if you are a history alum. We want to know about your activities and achievements and you want to know about the latest developments concerning Phi Alpha Theta, the history faculty, the accomplishments of history majors, and other History program news.
Have you moved recently?...had a baby?...changed careers?...or taken an interesting trip? Please tell us your latest news by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We will include your information on the History Alumni Directory and History Alumni News pages.
We also encourage you to visit the SIU Alumni Association homepage and officially update your data. Founded in 1896, the SIU Alumni Association now serves over 175,000 alumni worldwide by publishing the quarterly magazine, Southern Alumni, and sponsoring alumni chapters, reunions, homecoming and many other activities.
Andrew Barbero (M.A., 2011; Ph.D. candidate) won a national teaching excellence award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD). Barbero has been teaching at Pensacola State College (Florida) since 2016. He is completing a dissertation entitled “Cold War Hoosiers: Anti-New Dealism and the Rise of Indiana’s Conservative Right.” He has numerous publications, including “Traversing Partisanship and Teaching Peace and Justice in the US History Survey,” Journal of American History (March 2019).
Upon winning this prestigious award, Barbero was interviewed about his teaching philosophy and how he engages students with the lessons of the past by exposing them to opposing viewpoints in the classroom.
Kaitlinn Bormann (History Education) graduated from SIU in May of 2018 and is currently teaching eighth grade US history at a school in Memphis, Tennessee, while working on her Master's degree through Memphis Teacher Residency.
She will graduate with a Master's in Urban Education in May of 2019, and plans to start teaching somewhere in Memphis come the 2019-2020 school year. Kaitlinn writes:
“I'm able to share some of the ways history helps me think about the world with my students, encouraging them every day to be critical thinkers and engaged citizens, and that is something I would not be nearly as comfortable with if it weren't for my time in the history department at SIU.
I am so grateful for the professors at SIU, and I love getting to share my passion for history daily with my students, just like they shared their passions with me.”
Nathaniel A. Davis is the Country Director of American Councils for International Education in Turkey, based in the Aegean city of Izmir. He overseas the EducationUSA advising center, funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State.
Nathaniel also currently supervises Gateway to the Aeagean project funded by U.S. Study Abroad and ECA, which is currently working to increase institutional capacity of regional universities and encourage American students to study at universities in Izmir and throughout the Aegean region of Turkey.
Nathaniel holds a Ph.D. in Historical Studies from Southern Illinois University, and is a former Delyte and Dorothy Morris fellow. His dissertation and research examine the Student Interpreters Corps, the first-ever State Department language training program for Foreign Service Officers in China, Japan, and Turkey, as well as the Translation Office and Language School of the Ottoman Empire.
Francesca Gamber (Ph.D. 2010) lives in Baltimore, where she has worked in nonprofits, higher education, and K-12 education for the past fifteen years. In 2015, she became the founding head of school at Bard High School Early College Baltimore, a public school where students can graduate with both a high school diploma and a tuition-free associate's degree. She is an editorial board member for Commonplace: The Journal of Early American Life, an alumni admissions interviewer for Harvard, and has been an application reader for the Telluride Association summer programs. She has taught at Bard Early College, the University of Baltimore, and the University of Maryland Global Campus in African-American, women's, and LGBTQ history as well as community studies. Frankie's studies at SIU trained her to consider opposing points of view and to integrate the stories of marginalized communities into the American narrative.
Jon Gorgosz is an Associate Professor of Liberal Arts at DeVry University. He received his Ph.D. in Historical Studies along with a graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 2018. Dr. Gorgosz lives in the Chicago area, and he primarily teaches History, Political Science and Ethics courses. Since 2019, he has taught classes at the DeVry University’s Advantage Academy (DUAA), a dual-enrollment program in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). He is the subject-matter-expert (SME) for DeVry University’s Liberal Arts Capstone course and develops courses in History, Humanities, and Diversity. He is also a facilitator for the university’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) faculty training.
His research focuses on the intersections of higher education policy and gender in the twentieth century. He has published several articles focusing on college student culture following the Second World War and the gendered outcomes related to higher education policy during the New Deal. He recently published articles in the American Educational History Journal (AEHJ), the Historical Journal of Massachusetts (HJM), and the DeVry Journal of Scholarly Research (DJOSR). He also completed a chapter focusing on effective asynchronous instruction for remote learning in a forthcoming book, Virtual Teachings in the Time of Covid: Lessons Learned.
“The faculty at SIU challenged me to consider opposing viewpoints, be a aware of my intellectual/personal biases, and approach my career and scholarship from a place of open inquiry. In my courses, faculty challenged me to analyze, synthesize, and develop new historical interpretations, which has helped me excel in my academic career.
My graduate studies also allowed me to develop my professional presence. I learned to communicate effectively by challenging ideas in a constructive manner, considering opposing viewpoints, and always being open to new ideas. Those skills are critical to not only my role as a professor in the classroom but also as a colleague working on numerous initiatives and committees.
Most importantly, I found mentors in the History Department at SIU that supported me throughout my studies. From writing multiple letters of recommendation to identifying grants and fellowships to apply for, the level of support has been critical to my career. These relationships are still strong to this day, and I communicate regularly with faculty members and fellow classmates.”
Margaret McKinney is a trader assistant at Wells Fargo Advisors. She provides financial advisors with guidance regarding fixed income rates, structures, and selecting appropriate fixed income investments to meet their client's needs. Margaret provides support with bids and offers while solving trade transactions and identifying corrections. She writes:
"My History degree gave me a wide range of research, critical reasoning, and analytical skills. I can produce high quality written reports of research, navigate multiple computer systems and applications, and utilize search tools to find information."
Among many skills Margaret honed during her SIU studies, she cites "the ability to prioritize work, meet deadlines, and work under pressure in a dynamic and complex environment" as particularly significant in her new career.
Zach Myers (History Major, Africana Studies Minor) is teaching U.S. History at Kingsbury High School in Memphis, TN with an "awesome group of 11th graders." He is also completing his masters in Urban Education from Union University. Zach writes:
"Teaching has been my goal for a large chunk of my life, but I would not be near the teacher I am if not for the History Department. My History coursework taught me to ask deep questions and how to find those answers, to dig past the shallow understandings of US History my own high school education provided me, and to critically analyze source material.
All of these skills have become pillars of my classroom. The next generation is getting a better education, because SIU afforded me the opportunity to truly learn, and for that I am forever grateful."
Nate Pedigo currently works as a grant writer at Food Lifeline in Seattle, WA. He completed his dissertation, "The Struggle for Terroir in French Algeria: Land, Wine, and Contested Identity in the French Empire" in 2015. About his studies in History he writes: "The intellectually stimulating faculty brought the best out of me. When the time came to prepare and write my dissertation, I was challenged to think big. Every step of the way, my advisors kept me on task and excited. A Dissertation Research Assistantship allowed me to travel to France for research. I really cannot stress enough how the intimacy of the program allowed me to draw from the knowledge and perspectives of multiple faculty members, which left an indelible mark on my research and writing. While I chose not to pursue a career in academia, much of what I do now relies on the skills I developed in the graduate history program at SIU: writing, research, and analysis.
Andy Volpert (B.A.) in History Education in 1997; M.A. in History and Community College Teaching in 2000) is currently the Social Studies Department Chair at Springfield Southeast High School. While at SIU, Volpert won both the John Leason Scholarship for outstanding history education student and the Stanley Zucker Essay Prize for outstanding graduate research paper for his thesis “From Fusion to Fissure: Right-Wing Hippies, Well-Scrubbed Buckleyites, and the Reshaping of American Conservatism.”
In recent years, Volpert has served the citizens of Illinois in many capacities. For over 15 summers, he worked for the State Senate as a Constituent Outreach Coordinator, creating and hosting events designed to bring government services to senior citizens in communities that are often under-served by state government. Volpert was also appointed to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Board of Trustees where he was influential in the hiring of fellow Saluki Sam Wheeler as State Historian. Volpert would later serve as a member of the Executive Ethics Commission from 2017-2019.
“My years in Carbondale were the most influential time of my life. The marketplace of ideas that I experienced in my history classes and on campus made me the person that I am today. The speakers on all sides of the political spectrum who were brought to Carbondale refined my critical thinking, writing, and debating skills. From Oliver North to Elizabeth Dole to Jesse Jackson to Bob Dylan, SIU in the late 90s was a hot bed of political activity. I certainly hope the university continues this tradition of respecting and accepting diverse political ideologies as it made me the educator that I am today.”