Blake Abraham comes to the Hagley program with an M.A. in U.S. History from Indiana University, Bloomington. His interests include the relationship between American religion and the marketplace in the twentieth century, and his current work explores the development of American religious media. Blake is also a member of the Museum Studies program.
Kayle R. Avery is an interdisciplinary curator, historian, and digital artist that writes at the intersection of imagination, creativity, and virtuality. His latest work explores the history and material culture of imagined worlds—from the first model train collectors to the colonial revival and recent video games. Kayle received his M.A. from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture in 2021. His thesis, “History as Database: Bioshock and the New Design Source,” considered digital makers and their evolving relationship with design source media both on and offline. His latest work is inspired by his time as the Assistant Curator of the University of Wyoming Art Museum where he led a number of 3D virtualization initiatives while also developing exhibitions that considered multicultural works of art and the effects of their diaspora among rural communities throughout the United States.
Michael L. Forino is a Ph.D. student in the Hagley Program. He received a B.A. in history and a M.A. in public history from Central Connecticut State University. His M.A. thesis, “A Web of Silk: The Cheney Brothers Silk Manufacturing Company and the Birth of a Global Industry,” explored the Connecticut silk industry’s transition from domestic sericulture to large-scale industrial production, with connections to Europe, Asia and South America. He is broadly interested in nineteenth-century industrialization, technology, and labor, with particular interests in the American construction industry and the development industrial prison complex.
Corinne Freeth has undergraduate degrees in European History and Biological Sciences, and it is her goal to interweave these two passions into successful and meaningful graduate and postgraduate work. During and after her undergraduate studies, she obtained real life experience as an EMT in the tri-state area, allowing her to gain first hand medical knowledge. This helped her to narrow the fields of study and receive unique outlook on the history of medicine as a whole. Corinne has a specialized interest in the formation and histories of obstetrics, gynecology and emergency medicine practices as they relate to cultural and political influences. She is also interested in the history of disease and eugenics and plans to pursue a Ph.D. after completing her masters.
Samantha Hertel plans to earn her MA in history through the Hagley Program as well as her certificate in museum studies during her time at UD. She comes to Delaware with a B.A. in history and a certificate in public policy from the University of Wisconsin. Her historical passions run the geographic and time period gamut, but her most fervent interest lay in modern eastern European history and public history. Outside of her academic pursuits, Samantha is passionate about hiking, baking, and her cat, Ilsa.
Jennifer Jensen received her B.A. in History and English Literature from the University of Idaho in 2008 and an M.A. from the Federated Departments of History at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2010. Jennifer’s Master’s thesis explored the relationship between child laborers as consumers through their purchase of vice during the Progressive Era. Currently, Jennifer is completing her dissertation, “Echoes of Trauma: Changing Perceptions of Disaster and the Erasure of Space in Idaho’s Backcountry,” which examines the role that various disasters played in shaping how people perceived and later used central Idaho’s backcountry from 1860 to the 1960s. In addition, Jennifer is interested in the relationship between environment, vulnerability, and the cumulative effects of chronic trauma in making meaning for communities. When she is not busy writing and teaching, Jennifer spends time with her husband and daughter living life well.
“Echoes of Trauma: Changing Perceptions of Disaster and the Erasure of Space in Idaho’s Backcountry”
Christopher Loos is a master’s student and a Hagley Scholar at the University of Delaware. His research examines the intersections of capitalism and ideology in America, focusing particularly on popular culture, games, and performance. He is also in the process of obtaining a Museum Studies Certificate, which he hopes to use to pursue a career in a museum or archive. The blog section of his website includes some of his past works, including a curriculum design that teaches the US Antebellum Period to high schoolers by drawing on, and fostering critical thinking about, tabletop and computer games.
James McDonald is a PhD student and Hagley Scholar at the University of Delaware. He received his bachelor’s degree in German Language and Literature from the University of Maryland in 1991. In 2018 he received his MA in the University of Maryland’s History of Technology, Science, and the Environment program. Research undertaken during this study included an exploration of technological change in railroad refrigerator cars. His master’s thesis, “Moving Milk: Public Health, Milk Transportation, and Modal Choices in Baltimore, 1840-1940,” examines the role of public health regulation in the technological change of milk transportation. He has also examined historical ideas of risk and urban railroad crossings, the political economy of fast freight lines, and women’s 19th century cycling. He plans to center his dissertation on the historical notion of convenience and its implications for transportation, food, public health, and urban environments.
Alan Parkes comes to the Hagley PhD program with a MA from California State, Long Beach. His research focuses on late-twentieth century US history. It aims to expose underexplored themes of restructuring economies, largely based on neoliberal principles in the midst of a rightward political shift in the 1970s and 1980s, through the lens of youth cultures. It identifies ways in which youth cultures sought undermining this restructuring and takes into account occasions in which youth cultures fell short of this goal, doing more to uphold a bourgeoning neoliberal ethos than to upend it.
MJ Todd (they/them) is an MA student in the History Department at the University of Delaware. MJ earned their BA in History with minors in Environmental and American Studies in 2020 from Utah Valley University. Their primary research interests are centered around the history of science, medicine, and environment in the American West. Their undergraduate thesis titled ‘“Rallied Together”: Inclusive Methods of Anti-Nuclear Activism and the MX Missile” won the Honors Program Outstanding Thesis Award and Lucille T. Stoddard Outstanding Senior Thesis Award from the Department of History and Political Science. In addition to their studies, MJ is also passionate about education, public history, creative writing, and painting.
Chloe Tolman is a History Master’s student at the University of Delaware. With a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is continuing her studies in Indigenous history and the history of medicine. Her special research interests involve medical exploitation, mixed race identities, material culture, and museum studies.
Benjamin Tomak is a Ph.D. student in British and Atlantic history. He comes to the Hagley Program with an M.A. in Eighteenth-Century Studies from the University of Liverpool, where he specialized in the histories of early industrialization, science, and medicine. His master’s thesis examined the practical and disciplinary functions of occupational medicine through a detailed investigation into the lives and medical histories of a group of child apprentice laborers working in one of England’s oldest industrial textile mills. Benjamin’s current work focuses on the ways in which ideas associated with the new science of the seventeenth century came increasingly to inform English colonial strategies and were applied in the service of empire. He is especially interested in the mutual exchange between imperial experience and the social construction of expertise and medical knowledge in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Atlantic world.
Kyle VanHemert is a Ph.D. student in the Hagley Program. He received a B.A in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis in 2009. After writing about technology and design for a number of print and online publications, Kyle joined the Hagley Program in 2016 to explore 20th century design history through the lens of business and technology.
Gretchen Von Koenig is a designer and design historian interested in the intersection of the design industry, business history and the history of technology. She holds her BS in Industrial Design & MA in History of Design & Curatorial Studies from the Cooper Hewitt. She has taught design history and theory at Parsons School of Design, Michael Graves School of Design, Montclair State University and New Jersey Institute of Technology. She has a background in grant writing and curation for museums and arts related nonprofits and has served as an advisor for Plot(s): Journal of Design Studies and is an editor for Dense Magazine which critically investigates the designed conditions of New Jersey. She has previously written for Metropolis Magazine, Cooper Hewitt Design Museum and ArchDaily. She has co-chaired sessions and presented original research at the Design History Society, College Art Association and National Conference on the Beginning Design Student. Her current research focuses on the design and use of home security and surveillance systems in the 1960s-80s, studying the material manifestations that resulted from new cultural definitions of domestic safety in the early information age. She loves cats and ciders.