Two history majors, Uriya Simeon and Allen Horn, along with Prof. Thomas Balcerski, attended the 2019 Draper Conference at the University of Connecticut. This year’s conference was titled “The Greater Reconstruction: American Democracy after the Civil War.” With 32 distinguished historians from around the nation lined up as speakers, the aim of the conference was to defy conventional perceptions of Reconstruction. The keynote speech was delivered by renowned historian Eric Foner.

For the full program, see http://www.cvent.com/events/reconstruction-conference/event-summary-33ded93de8984e5fb0d59029f690914d.aspx.


Student Allen Horn reflected on his experience at the conference:

Going into the Greater Reconstruction Conference, I felt both nervous and excited. I was looking forward to learning from so many great nineteenth century historians over those two days, but also felt intimidated to be in the same room as big names like Eric Foner. However, once I made the big step of talking with some of the presenters, I felt much more at ease. Overall, I learned about many new aspects of Reconstruction history from placenta fires to the rationale behind the language of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments.”

Student Uriya Simeon also reflected about her conference experience:

One of my favorite panels featured Dr. Kendra Field from Tufts University. Having previously read her book Growing Up with the Country, it was exciting getting to hear her speak and meet her. Another historian and author whom I was excited to meet was Ari Kelman from UC Davis, whose graphic novel Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War I had read. I was able to meet him as well after hearing him speak. Overall, this conference was an amazing opportunity to network and grow my interests within history.

After the conference, Prof. Balcerski prepared a two-part post for Muster, the blog of the Journal of the Civil War Era. Check out the first post at https://www.journalofthecivilwarera.org/2019/05/2019-draper-conference-review-the-greater-reconstruction-american-democracy-after-the-civil-war-part-i/





Ara Daglian, Jr. (’18), the Communications Director for the ECSU History Alumni Board, shares the following announcement: 

“The ECSU History Alumni board is hosting a networking event for alumni and current students who are looking for new ways to flex the skills they’ve gained as students of history.  

 The event will feature tables categorized by career field so that students and alumni can rotate as they see fit based on their goals and interests. We will also introduce small skill-building workshops based on desired areas of growth.  

 Light refreshments will also be provided. 

 We were hoping that each of you would be able to get the word out to your students, either during class or through Blackboard/email. We are hoping to have a successful event with a good turnout. 

The details are as follows: 

Networking Event: May 11th 


Science 301 

 Please let me know if you have any questions! 


Ara P. Daglian, Jr. 

Communications Director 

ECSU History Alumni Board”




Katerina Mazzacane, who recently graduated from Eastern with a major in History, has just accepted a job as Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs at the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS). She started as a Youth and Family Programs intern during the summer of 2018 and then became a part-time Museum Educator in September. In March, she was promoted to Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs. She works closely with the education, collections, and exhibitions staff to create programs for children and families that relate to the exhibits and CHS collections. 

Currently, the CHS is hosting a travelling exhibit from the New York Historical Society, Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow.” This exhibit highlights the ways in which black Americans resisted oppression, defined their own lives, and found strength within their communities in the 50 years since the Civil War. Learn more about the exhibit: http://chs.org/blackcitizenship 

In order to make the subject matter in this exhibition more accessible to young children, the CHS decided to plan programs inspired by specific African Americans. In April, the CHS organized a program based on Charles Ethan Porter, a famous Hartford-born artist. Young children viewed one of Porter’s most famous still-life paintings and then created their own version. Over April vacation, the CHS also hosted a program inspired by Augustus Washington, a famous daguerreotypist from Connecticut. For this program, children and adults dressed up in period-inspired clothing, posed for a picture, and then decorated a case for their “daguerreotype”. On July 30 and August 1, the CHS will be hosting a family program about the Underground Railroad to focus on another important aspect of African American history that complements the current exhibition.  

With this promotion and new position, Katerina feels she has already reached her career goal. According to Katerina, “When I started my internship, I thought to myself, ‘This is what I want to be doing for a living.’ Now, less than a year later, I have started my official career with the Connecticut Historical Society. I feel very fortunate to be part of this institution.” 



Kristina Oschmann, an Eastern History alum who currently works at the Wethersfield Historical Society, recently contacted Dr. Kirchmann about exciting part-time opportunities with the WHS. She hopes to hire several weekend museum interpreters for the upcoming season. She writes: “Our season runs from May 25th to the first or second week in October.  Interpreters are only needed for a minimum of 2 weekend days a month, so it would be great for people trying to build their resumes or work a few extra hours!”

for information about how to apply: 

WHS Weekend Guide-Museum Interpreter

for more about the WHS: 





Eastern History majors have multiple venues in which to show off their research chops. Just a few weeks after the CSU Making History conference, more History majors presented their papers and posters at Eastern’s annual CREATE conference. 

In the second morning panel, four history papers were presented: Martha Ennis presented her paper, “Mexican Migration in Connecticut: Braceros and Beyond” (mentor Dr. Meznar),followed by Cassaundra Epes with her paper, “The Ideal Woman: Sexology, Sex Reform, and Engineering Marriage in Weimar Germany” (mentor Dr. Moore), Craig Hanford with “The Final Expedition of an Old Explorer: The Role of Hiram Bingham in Peruvian identity and the Tourism Gold Mine” (mentor Dr. Balcerski), and, finally, Dana Meyer with “Connecticut Revolutionary War Deserters” (mentors Dr. Ostwald and Dr. Tucker). A lively Q&A followed each presenter’s paper. 

Martha Ennis



Martha Ennis, “Mexican Migration in Connecticut: Braceros and Beyond”




Cassaundra Epes



Cassaundra Epes “The Ideal Woman: Sexology, Sex Reform, and Engineering Marriage in Weimar Germany”


Dana Meyer





                        Dana Meyer, “Connecticut Revolutionary War Deserters”

Craig Hanford



Craig Hanford, “The Final Expedition of an Old Explorer: The Role of Hiram Bingham in Peruvian identity and the Tourism Gold Mine”



Following lunch, Dr. Scott Moore received the Mentor Award for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, for his work with history major (and CREATE presenter) Cassaundra Epes, from President Nuñez. 

(l-r) Cassie Epes, Dr. Scott Moore, and Eastern’s Provost Dr. Bill Salka



On April 4, Alpha Mu Alpha, Eastern’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the highly selective national history honors society, inducted 22 new members. This year represented the largest cohort to date, reflecting the strong academic performance of our history students. 

Among those inducted included students who presented posters at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Washington. D.C., students who had their research published in national peer-reviewed undergraduate journals, students who offered papers at both the CSU Making History conference as well as CREATE, and also students who have been admitted to PhD programs with full fellowships.

2019 Inductees of the Alpha Mu Alpha Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta

Also recognized at this year’s ceremony was the winner of the Victoria Soto Award.  In honor and
memory of Victoria Soto, this award is given to an outstanding member of Phi Alpha Theta who intends to pursue a career in teaching. This year’s winner was Michael Theriault.



The annual Making History Conference, which brings together faculty and students from the History Departments at Eastern, Southern, Central, and Western Connecticut State Universities, took place Southern Connecticut State University last month. Professors Tom Balcerski and Joan Meznar joined several Eastern students on the program for this day-long academic event.  

In addition to helping arrange travel to and from New Haven from Eastern’s campus, Dr. Balcerski also led a practice session for presenters before the conference, helping them prepare to share their original work with a scholarly audience.  

Re-Tooling the Historical Methods Course Roundtable

The program included a roundtable, “Re-Tooling the Historical Methods Course,” chaired by Professor Meznar and Balcerski and including Eastern students Raven Dillon, Shannon Healy, Allen Horn, Uriva Simeon, and Cheyenne Tracy.  

Roundtable on Re-Tooling the Historical Methods Course







Presentations by Eastern Students 

Other students presenting included Craig Hanford (“La Carretera Hiram Bingham:  The Road to an Economic Gold Mine”), Martha Ennis (“Mexican Migration in Connecticut:  Braceros and Beyond”), Brianna Alessio (“Shiba Yoshimasa’s ‘The Chikubasho’:  The Unspoken Influence of Shame and Honor on Samurai Culture”), Cassie Epes, (“The Ideal Woman:  Sexology, Sex Reform, and Engineering Marriage in Weimar Germany”), Theresa Johnson, (“Silhouette Art:  The Heart and Soul of Kara Walker’s Life”), and Dana Meyer (“Connecticut Revolutionary War Deserters:  An Experiment in Digital History”).  

(l-r) Martha Ennis, Southern Connecticut State University Professor Polly Beals, and Theresa Johnson

Further Information 

For Eastern’s official press release on the event, researched and written by our very own History major Raven Dillon, please follow the link below.  

Here is the link: http://www.easternct.edu/pressreleases/2019/03/29/eastern-students-present-at-csu-making-history-conference/ 

 A full program from the 2019 Conference can be found here:  


 For Eastern’s official press release on the event, researched and written by our very own History major Raven Dillon, please follow the link below.    




Eastern History major Jordan Butler has been selected for an internship at the Connecticut Historical Society. 

Jordan let us know some details about the internship: “This internship is four days a week from June to August, and the first three days will switch between working with the museum educator, the archivist, and the exhibit creator. The last day of the week I will be working wherever I am needed in the museum. The path that led me to this opportunity has required a lot of hard work and persistence.

Jordan also reflected on working with Eastern faculty: “I became a History major (with a concentration in American Studies) sophomore year of college. Since declaring my major, I had the opportunity to become a research assistant, join the National History Honors Society, and take many interesting History and American Studies courses. In addition, I had immense support from professors, such as Dr. Tucker and Dr. Balcerski, who consistently helped and encouraged me throughout my college career. These experiences all gave me the skills and knowledge necessary for pursuing my dream career in a museum.

“Now Graduation this spring is anticipated with immense excitement because I know this internship is the first step to a fulfilling, life-long career in the field of history.”

Congratulations to Jordan!







Historian and Eastern graduate Richard Lenzi has just published his first book with SUNY Press, Facing Toward the Dawn: the Italian Anarchists of New London

From the SUNY Press website: ‘”This book is the product of some wonderful and groundbreaking historical detective work, and it succeeds in combining two seemingly incongruent genres of history: the local/neighborhood study and the history of transnational migration and radicalism. The result is one of the best and most detailed histories of a single anarchist community written to date. In addition, it makes new and important contributions to the history and background of the Sacco-Vanzetti case, Prohibition, and the history of fascism and anti-fascism in the United States. Scholars and lay readers interested in any of these areas will find this work indispensable.” — Kenyon Zimmer, author of Immigrants against the State: Yiddish and Italian Anarchism in America’

A link to the book on Amazon is below. Watch this space for news about an upcoming book talk at Eastern!






LaToya Smith, who graduated with a double major in History and Communication in 2006 and earned an MS in Print Journalism from Boston University in 2008, recently received two prestigious awards.

The founder and CEO of Brass City Media, Inc., a video production agency based in Brooklyn (NY), LaToya was recognized as Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and as Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the New York Small Business Development Center.

In a 2017 piece for Eastern’s website, LaToya remarked: “Eastern gave me the skills I needed to adapt to this rapidly changing industry. I received a truly multimedia education through courses in television, radio and public relations. I learned how to edit video and advanced my writing skills as a copy editor on the student newspaper.”

Congratulations, LaToya!