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! 





After graduating with dual BA (History) and BS (Psychology) degrees in 2014, Kristina Oschmann earned an MA in Public History at Central Connecticut State University. She also works as a Visitor Services Associate at the Connecticut Historical Society. 

Recently, Kristina shared her contribution to the CHS’s ongoing project on the history of Hartford, which can be found at the National Council on Public History website.

Hartford’s hidden histories





History majors Cassie Epes and Dana Meyer at the Undergraduate Poster Session








The recent annual meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA), in Chicago over January 3-6, 2018, brought two firsts – for the first time, two students, Dana Meyer and Cassie Epes, presented posters at the Undergraduate Poster Session. In addition, three members of the department’s faculty attended: Professor Thomas Balcerski presented a paper as part of a panel, Dr. Anna Kirchmann both presented a paper and chaired a panel, and Dr. Joan Meznar attended several panels pertaining to teaching and career preparation. 

The Undergraduate Poster session took place in the afternoon of Saturday, January 5. History major Dana Meyer presented his paper, “Connecticut Revolutionary War Deserters: An Experiment in Digital History,” while Cassie Epes presented her poster, “A Willing Audience: The Brown Book and the Enduring Power of Conspiracy Theory.” Both students received many questions and comments during the session. In addition, both students attended multiple panels and learned about possible careers in history. 

The department’s faculty were also active. On Friday January 4, Prof. Kirchmann chaired a panel organized by the Polish   American Historical Association (PHA), an affiliate of the AHA, titled “Conflicted Loyalties and/or Pragmatism.”  On Saturday January 5, Prof. Kirchmann also presented her paper, “Urban Renewal and the Response of American Ethnic Groups, 1949–74,” as part of a PHA and AHA panel titled, “American Ethnics in the Post-World War II Decades.” Also on Saturday, Prof. Balcerski organized and participated in a panel titled, “Writing Early Queer Lives: Authorial and Biographical Imperatives before 1900.” The panel was a joint-session with the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History. Finally, Dr. Meznar attended several panels on teaching the World History survey, and also one on careers for History PhDs outside of academia. 

Prof. Balcerski and history majors Cassie Epes and Dana Meyer at the Hilton Palmer House Hotel




Overall, the conference was a great success.  The department looks forward to the next annual meeting in New York in January 2020. 





**Editor’s Addendum (1/8/19)- In their path-breaking original research that led to the Undergraduate Poster Session, Dana worked closely with Dr. Tucker and Dr. Ostwald, while Cassie benefitted from the mentorship of Dr. Moore.**


Professor Emerita Katie Lynch, a long-time member of the Department of History and former Chair, passed away in 2015. This year her book on Liang Shuming appeared posthumously with Brill Publishing. 

Liang Shuming 梁焕鼎 1893-1988


According to the publishers, “In Liang Shuming and the Populist Alternative in China, Catherine Lynch offers an alternative understanding of Liang Shuming’s work. While the current work on Liang suggests a connection to other Asian philosophical traditions (like Confucianism and Buddhism), this new work argues that Liang’s work is an important part of the evolution of the modern Chinese thought and examines the role of populist ideas in the development of Liang’s thinking. In addition to Liang’s writings, this reading of Liang relies on lengthy interviews the author completed with Liang as well as with people associated with Liang. This book adds a new perspective based on access the author had to Liang while he was still alive.”


For catalogue entry and ordering information, see link below: