Zach Burton

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.

Rachael Beyer

Rachael Beyer is a Ph.D. candidate in history with a certificate in museum studies. She has an M.A. in history from Iowa State University. There she wrote a comparative thesis which explored the commercial and utopian aspects of two colonies of the American arts and crafts movement through an examination of their print media. In her dissertation, Rachael is exploring the national and local discourses surrounding rural teenagers’ use of time in the postwar era, and explores the links between those discourses and practice through a case study of a small Iowa town. In her free time, Rachael enjoys being a local tourist, cooking with her husband, and carving bars of Ivory soap.

Christopher Chenier

Christopher Chenier comes to Hagley with a background in both history and photography. Having spent three years in New York as a commercial photographic retoucher, he is now pursuing a PhD in History. In 2006 he received a BA in History and Art from Bard College. Christopher’s research interests are rooted in the history of technology and fall somewhere between the social and cultural realms. He is particularly interested in looking at user experiences with technology and he hopes to find ways of infusing these stories into our current technological discourse. In addition to this work, Christopher continues to use photography as a means of discovery and exploration into the relationship of technology to landscape, history and culture. Christopher also earned the Certificate in Museum Studies.

Anastasia Day

Anastasia Day received her B.A. in Philosophy, with minors in English and Latin from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, in 2012. Her life-long commitment to the environmental movement collided with her academic interests in an American Environmental History course while an undergraduate, which led her to the Hagley Program.  While completing her M.A. (also at the University of Delaware), she earned a certificate in Museum Studies. Her research interests center around the environment, gender, consumerism, and technology in the American twentieth century; food, and especially home food production, are the most important intersection of those themes in her work. Her dissertation is on Victory Gardens on the World War II American home-front, although she has also done work on food waste-ways. Complete CV and blog online at She tweets @Anastasia_C_Day.

Mike Forino

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.

Gregory Hargreaves

Gregory Hargreaves was born in the Bay Area and raised in the Blue Ridge. He has practical interests in public history and oral history.

Jennifer Jensen

Jennifer Jensen received her B.A. in History and in English Literature from the University of Idaho in 2008 and an M.A. in History from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in 2010. Jennifer’s Masters thesis explored the relationship between child laborers as consumers through their purchase of vice during the Progressive Era. Currently, Jennifer is working toward a Ph.D in 20th century history as well as the Museum Studies Certificate. She intends to focus her research interests on changing kitchen technologies in postwar America and how those transformations influenced notions of gender, community, and identity. In addition, Jennifer is interested in the history of food and how new kitchen technologies altered traditional methods of food production and consumption in the late 20th century. When she is not at school, Jennifer spends her time cooking, exploring the area, and playing with her cat.

Jennifer Jensen

Conor Murphy is an M.A. student in the Hagley Program. He earned his B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2017 and is interested primarily in the cultural history of the United States between the Civil War and the Second World War, especially at the intersections of the environment, technology, and entertainment.

Hillary Neben

Hillary Neben comes to the Hagley PhD program with a M.A in the History of Women and Gender from New York University and an interdisciplinary B.A. from the University of Minnesota entitled Interpreting Gender in American Culture. Her master’s thesis, “How to be Charming: The Concept of Charm, Consumerism, and Gender in America,” focused on the early twentieth-century concept of charm in relation to ideologies of the marketplace, cultures of consumption and constructions of gender. Her current research interests are in the influences of technology, consumerism and advertising on gender, sexuality, and the body in nineteenth and twentieth-century America. She is also pursuing a certificate in Museum Studies and is interested in investigating memory and its relationship to knowledge, history, material culture, and historic preservation. In her free time, Hillary enjoys running, exploring the local area, searching for old books, cooking, quilting, and playing 78s on her 1916 Victor Victrola IX.

Hillary Neben

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.

Katherine Riley

Katherine Riley graduated from Frostburg State University with a BA in history in 2015. Her research interests involve women and gender and culture, as well as the history of capitalism and power. She has written about art and culture in the past, including the influence of popular figures on social movements and the interaction between the arts and the state. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, running, and making music.



Benjamin Tomak

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

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.

Benjamin Wollet

Ben Wollet earned his B.A. in History and German from Ohio Northern University in 2009 and his M.A. in History from Ohio University in 2012. He also received a fellowship and earned a certificate from the Contemporary History Institute at OU. Ben’s Masters thesis examined the ways in which environmental and economic policies reshaped the place of U.S. railroads in urban and rural landscapes in the 1960s and 1970s. As he pursues a Ph.D., Ben is delving into the interconnection among U.S. transportation infrastructures, energy systems and consumption, and land-use patterns in the 20th century. Narratives of landscape, place, and economy capture Ben’s attention. When he pauses from reading and writing, Ben enjoys wandering by foot and car, photographing the built environment, and laughing to classic Simpsons episodes.