Alumni Newsletter

Welcome from the chair

Dear friends of the department,

We hope you enjoy the Fall 2023 issue of our renewed newsletter. As usual, the faculty, staff and students of the Department of History have kept a busy schedule. We’ve seen tremendous accomplishments of our students presenting and publishing in public venues, embarking in study abroad, and securing good jobs after graduation. Our schedule of classes features a great diversity of content and approaches, like Reacting to the Past and the World Civilizations Lab. Our faculty continue to have a high standing among peer institutions. The latest data from Academic Analytics shows that compared to similar universities, our level of publication, grant-funded collaborative projects and external awards place us in the top 40th percent of history departments of similar institutions, although our faculty size is below the median[1]. Moreover, we have gained a notable presence in the public sphere by hosting the regional contest of Ohio History Day, the annual Gary R. Hess Lecture in Policy History, and our public lectures for Black History and Women’s History Month, among other events.

College of Arts and Sciences Department of History Faculty and Staff on staircase

The Department of History Faculty & Staff, Fall 2023

We’ve been able to do all this due to the support of our college and university, but also due to the generosity of our alumni and friends of the department. This includes the contribution to existing endowments such as the Grover and Virginia Platt Memorial Fund and the History Department Alumni and Faculty Fund, the creation of new endowments such as the Don Karl Rowney Scholarship for internships, the Gary R. Hess History and Public Policy Programming Fund, and the History Department fund. But we also critically depend on the support of our alumni and friends through volunteering in award committees, providing networking support for our students, and coming to campus to give talks about their career experiences. I invite you to get in touch with me or any of our departmental members to discuss possibilities to contribute to our students’ experience and contribute to the public outreach of our department.

Amílcar E. Challú, Chair

[1] Benchmark retrieved from Academic Analytics, The peer group are other history departments in the Carnegie R2 and R3 classifications.

Alumni Spotlight: BGSU Alum Interprets History at the Oberlin Heritage Center

Recent graduate John Clement (MA ’19) shares his experience working with the Oberlin Heritage Center and the Ohio Local History Service Corps:

I graduated in 2019 from BGSU with a master’s in history and a Certificate in Public History. I really enjoy exploring history at a local level, and when I got the opportunity to work at the Oberlin Heritage Center in Oberlin, OH, I jumped at it. My work at OHC lets me pursue my passion for small museums and allows me to utilize my skills in public history which I learned at BGSU.

My position, Special Projects Assistant, involves both docent and museum work. I get to share my enthusiasm about local history with guests to OHC, and also delve into the meatier topics of Oberlin history. On the non-public side, I have been working on cataloguing and improving the docent manual for several of the historical buildings which OHC owns and operates. This has allowed me to get an up-close look at the objects and their connection to the overall story which OHC aims to tell. I truly enjoy what I do and knowing that my efforts will be appreciated in the foreseeable future resonates deeply with me. 

Alumni Publication: The Year That Broke Politics: Collusion and Chaos in the Presidential Election of 1968

BGSU Department of History alumnus Luke Nichter (PhD., ’08), recently published The Year That Broke Politics: Collusion and Chaos in the Presidential Election of 1968, with Yale University Press. Nichter draws on previously unexamined archives and numerous interviews, and upends conventional understanding of the crucial campaign, showing how it created a new template and tone for election battles, which still resonates into today’s fractured political climate. Luke Nichter is Professor of History and James H. Cavanaugh Endowed Chair in Presidential Studies at Chapman University.

Annual Gary R. Hess Lecture in Policy History Reconsiders Iraq Invasion

The Department of History welcomed Dr. Melvyn P. Leffler, Edward Stettinius Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Virginia, as the guest speaker for the 2023 Gary R. Hess Lecture in Policy History. Dr. Leffler spoke on his recent book, Confronting Saddam Hussein: George W. Bush and the Invasion of Iraq. Drawing on his extensive research and interviews with top officials, Dr. Leffler carefully reconstructed the decision-making environment in Washington leading up to the Iraq invasion. The lecture recording can be viewed on BGSU’s YouTube Channel.

The lecture was made possible by the Gary R. Hess History and Public Policy Programming Fund, established by the Hess family. Initiated by Dr. Hess’s former students to honor his 45 years of service to BGSU, the annual lecture is made possible by the Gary R. Hess History and Public Policy Programming Fund with additional support from the International Studies Program and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Leffler, Hess, and Forsyth stand smiling
From Left: Melvyn P. Leffler, Gary R. Hess, and Douglas J. Forsyth at the Annual Hess Lecture

2023 History Lecture Series

Part of our service as a public university for the public good includes hosting several scholars each year to present their knowledge in free public lectures.

Dr. Jackson stands at a podium next to Dr. Wooten
Dr. Nicole Jackson introduces Dr. Terrance Wooten

February 2023

The Department of History hosted Terrance Wooten, of the University of California at Santa Barbara, for a public lecture in honor of Black History Month. Dr. Wooten spoke to an engaged audience about his research at the intersections of Black studies, gender and sexuality studies, studies of poverty and homelessness, and carceral studies.

Two people sit at their computers with a third person assisting them
BGSU Professor Dr. Art Lewandowski works with Casey Feldstein and Susie Huffman, history teachers at Notre Dame Academy in Toledo, OH

Teacher's Workshop

BGSU also hosted a professional development workshop for social studies teachers in February, exploring the histories of disease, health, and medicine. Faculty from the School of Teaching and Learning as well as the Department of History dived into content areas like pandemics in history and applying content about medical history in the classroom and aligning it with state standards. Guest speaker Dr. Michele Clouse, of Ohio University, brought her knowledge of Medieval Spanish History to the workshop along with examples of how she used medical history to help students develop historical thinking skills that move beyond information-gathering and into analysis and interpretation.

Dr. Green stands at a podium presenting research
Dr. Shirley Green presents her research on the history of women in the police force

March 2023

Dr. Shirley Green (Ph.D., ’11), an Instructor of History at BGSU and the University of Toledo, drew upon her 26-year career in Toledo law enforcement and her research in women’s history to present a lecture in honor of Women’s History Month. Dr. Green spoke on the history of women in the police force from the early twentieth century through the present, using the Toledo Police Department as a lens to examine broader national trends.

November 2023

Dr. Douglas Forsyth, Associate Professor of History at BGSU, delivered a public lecture titled Perspectives on Teaching Difficult History: Using Family History in the Classroom. Touching on the implications of expanded access to genealogy research tools like Ancestry and FamilySearch, Dr. Forsyth discussed how the personal experience of discovering difficult truths about ancestors can inform classroom practice.

Group of students sit in a science lab working
Students of Dr. Stark's World Civilizations course examine Roman weaving in a "textile lab" component of the class

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Casey Stark Teaches “History Lab” 

Dr. Casey Stark, recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences 2021-2022 Distinguished Teaching Award, innovated a unique “history lab” course for teaching World Civilizations. Designed to engage non-history majors, this popular class features a once-a-week “lab” with small groups. Each lab has a different topic including coinage, textiles, children and education, and food. Material culture (objects) are used whenever possible!

Rome with Students
2023 Jo Enger Arthur Scholarship recipients visited the famous Cerasi Chapel of the Santa Maria del Popolo - Alex Eckhart, Maggie Fuller, and Ian Small (former recipient Julian Gillian also pictured as the co-director of our study abroad program)

Students Experience Roman History On-Site

Over the summer, Dr. Casey Stark, Associate Professor of History, and Education Abroad Advisor Julian Gillian (History MA ’20) led a group of students on a study abroad trip to Rome. The program was called Roma Aeterna (“Eternal Rome”) and was designed to give students an immersive experiential learning opportunity studying ancient Roman history and living in a foreign city. As part of their coursework, students published a series of blog posts detailing the many sites they visited, including Pompeii, Vatican City, and Castel Sant’Angelo, that you can read here.

One unexpected development was that the Arthur family called the department about their joy that the Jo Enger Arthur Study Abroad Scholarship was supporting students in Rome. Besides the current students, Julian had also been a recipient of the scholarship as an undergraduate student. The Cerasi Chapel was a cherished memory that Jo Enger passed on to her family. The group was able to visit the chapel and took the picture seen here.

Dr. Michael Cangemi Joins the Falcon Family

The Department of History welcomes Dr. Cangemi as Assistant Teaching Professor. With a background in Experiential Learning, Latin American History, and American History, Dr. Cangemi has already invested in the BGSU's ICS Latin American and Latino/a Studies Cluster's Latinx Heritage Month series "Charla," discussing his forthcoming bookBlessed Are the Activists: Catholic Advocacy, Human Rights, and Genocide in Guatemala.

Portrait of Dr. Michael Cangemi

Dr. Shirley Green Publishes Book on Black Military Experience in Revolutionary Times

Based on her doctoral research at BGSU, Dr. Shirley Green (Ph.D., ’11) has published Revolutionary Blacks: Discovering the Frank Brothers, Freeborn Men of Color, Soldiers of Independence with Westholme Publishing. Dr. Green takes the reader on a journey based on her family’s history, rooted in its oral tradition. Putting together the pieces of this puzzle through archival research, interviews, and DNA evidence, the author authenticates and expands the family’s oral history, providing context and substance to the Black experience during the Revolutionary War years.

Dr. Apollos Nwauwa Receives Faculty Excellence Award

Dr. Apollos Okwuchi Nwauwa, professor in the Department of History, was conferred the title of Professor of Service Excellence for 2023. This award is conferred on members of the faculty who have established outstanding national and international recognition for professional service and public service through their work at the University.

Dr. Apollos Okwuchi Nwauwa

Student News

History Students Present Capstone Project Research

As part of the history major at BGSU, students are required to deliver an oral presentation of their original research. This semester, five students took part in the History Capstone class, delivering a “mini-conference” on topics as wide-ranging as The Battle of Algiers and Willy Brandt’s Political Success. Presenting their own work to an audience of their peers helps prepare history graduates for a variety of fulfilling careers. Congratulations to the students on their hard work!

Three students sit in a history class.
Dr. Mancuso's HIST 1001 class explores BGSU's Education Memorabilia Center, also known as the little red schoolhouse on campus.

Undergraduate TA Program

Students in the Department of History can serve as Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (UGTAs), gaining real-world classroom experience under the guidance of Graduate TAs and professors. Former UGTA Kinzey Schreiber, BGSU History Major, shared her experience on the BGSU blog. Schreiber cited the challenge of working closely with graduate students and faculty along with the opportunity to manage digital class discussion platforms as two critical factors in her growth as a History Major. The UGTA program is available to rising juniors and seniors in the History Department.

Undergraduates Present at the American Historical Association Annual Conference

Two of our History Majors (now enrolled in the Graduate Program) took advantage of professional development opportunities and presented their own historical research at the American Historical Association Annual Conference in Philadelphia during Winter Break 2023.

Chloe Kozal and Chase Fleece share their reflections on the experience:

Chloe Kozal stands in the Philadelphia Art Museum
History student Chloe Kozal visits the Philadelphia Art Museum during the AHA Annual Conference

Chloe Kozal

I absolutely loved the sense of community and learning environment at the conference. Historians are very kind, nerdy, and love to share their research with others. I loved making connections with people at the conference, particularly with other undergraduate students who shared a similar love for the 1970s.

The camaraderie and energy that I felt from the conference made me motivated to continue researching, presenting and community-building as an aspiring historian.

I’ve heard before that the humanities are less relevant in this century, and I couldn’t disagree more. Through learning about ethics and movements towards racial equality in Cuban journalism to economic inequality and food insecurity in 18th and 19th century Latin American countries at this conference, I couldn’t help but think how extraordinarily relevant and important these discussions are in today’s climate.

Chase Fleece

Alongside nine other burgeoning undergraduate scholars, I presented “Rice is the Price: American Agriculturalists as Counterinsurgents in South Vietnam, 1964-73” in a lightning round style panel on the Vietnam War and the Global 70s. Being the only scholar – among only a handful of others in the entire conference – focusing on agricultural history, I had the unique opportunity to introduce others to its infinite wonders.

The annual conference of the AHA is the largest gathering of professional historians in the United States which meant that networking was abundant. Through attending receptions, panels, and the occasional elevator ride, I was able to connect with a wide range of scholars inside and outside my direct fields of interest.

2023 Awards and Scholarships

Each year the Department of History presents several scholarships and awards to support undergraduate and graduate students. Your contributions to named scholarships and the History Department fund make this possible!

Kasandra Fager smiles while holding awards next to another person smiling
Kasandra Fager was awarded both the Senior Graduate Student Distinguished Research Award and the Outstanding Departmental Citizen Award in April 2023

Undergraduate Awards and Scholarships

  • Mary Ellen Kiel Scholarship - Olivia Burkart, Magdalena Fuller, Reagan Good, Morgan Goodchild, Chloe Kozal, Gabriella Mancini, Paige Pasztor, Sydney Skala, Collen Smith, Sabrina Sprague
  • Jo Enger Arthur Scholarship for Study Abroad - Alex Eckhart, Magdalena Fuller, Erika Putnam, Dylan Selhorst, Ian Small
  • General Niles J. Fulwyler History Scholarship - Joseph DeSario, Andrew Hoeffel, Braxton Howard
  • Grover and Virginia Platt Memorial Scholarship - Morgan Dillon and Nicolas Paprocki
  • Stuart R. and Florence P. Givens Senior History Scholarship - Alex Eckhart, Noah Fitch, Chloe Kozal, Dylan Selhorst, Ian Small
  • John Schwarz Essay Award (best essay completed for a history requirement) - Chloe Kozal
  • Donna M. Neiman Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence (awarded for an excellent history paper based on primary sources) - Braxton Howard
  • Outstanding Senior in History Award - Chase Fleece
Group of history students holding their awards during the spring 2023 awards ceremony
History Students proudly display their awards during the Spring 2023 Awards Ceremony

Graduate Awards and Scholarships

  • Lawrence Friedman Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award - Shelbi Royster, “’It Wasn’t What I Thought It Would Be: Youth Sexual Culture in 1980s American Film,” 2023
  • Outstanding Public History Project - Nicholas Pavlik, “Applying the Digital Humanities to Great Black Swamp Environmental History: A Prototype and Grant Application,” 2023
  • Senior Graduate Student Distinguished Research Award - Kasandra Fager, “More Than a Boomtown: How Local Government and Business Developed in Bowling Green, Ohio from 1830 to 1900,” 2023
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award - Austin Kepling, 2023
  • Outstanding Departmental Citizen Award - Kasandra Fager, 2023

History Day Draws Students from Northwest Ohio

In March 2023, the Department of History celebrated the return of in-person contests for the annual History Day competition, which also has State and National contests. BGSU welcomed 152 middle- and high-school students to present their projects and compete to progress to the State Contest, while over 40 volunteer judges, including BGSU grad students, faculty, and staff, evaluated projects and interviewed students. We thank Cenovus Energy for committing as a major sponsor for the 2024 Contest, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of History Day! We also recognize Buckeye Broadband and several local partners for their ongoing support. 

Three students stand smiling next to their group project
Students present their group project at History Day 2023

Upcoming Events

Alumni and the public are welcomed to our upcoming events. More details will be released closer to the dates: keep an eye on our Department Website and Facebook and Twitter/X feeds for details.

Book Talk & Launch

Dr. Shirley Green will speak to students, alumni, and the public about her new book Revolutionary Blacks: Discovering the Frank Brothers, Freeborn Men of Color, Soldiers of Independence during winter 2024.

Guest Lecture on Religious Images in the Medieval Period

BGSU will welcome medieval history scholar, Nikolas Hoel, of Northeastern Illinois University, to speak on March 12. Dr. Hoel will also be sitting on the panel for an MA thesis defense, helping our graduate students build connections across the region.

The Sky Has No Borders: Perspectives on Astronomical Knowledge from Canada, Mexico, and the United States: Reddin Symposium in Canadian Studies

2024 Total Solar Eclipse logo_Final

The History Department and Canadian Studies Program at BGSU are delighted to host regional and international scholars for a symposium on February 22, 2024, at the Wood County District Public Library. This public event will feature a panel discussion considering the history of astronomy and ethnoastronomy that highlights the connections with Canada and uses the total eclipse path of April 8, 2024 to consider the transnational connections of astronomical history.

The Keynote Speaker is Randall Rosenfeld, Archivist of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and Director of the Dorner Telescope Museum. Other speakers include Frank Dempsey, RASC Toronto Centre and member of Dokis First Nation; Dr. Kate Dellenbusch, Instructor of Astronomy at BGSU and Director of the Planetarium; and Dr. Sarah J. Reynolds, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics & Earth-Space Science at the University of Indianapolis and a Historian of Science.

This symposium will also be part of the interdisciplinary 2024 Speaker Series hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy to showcase different arts and sciences inspired by astronomical phenomenon. Stay tuned for a complete list of speakers!  

New “Podcasting in History” Course Engages Public History Project

The April 8, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse is expected to generate massive tourism to Ohio and enormous interest in the meaning and history of eclipses. In the context of a new undergraduate/graduate level public history course, “Podcasting in History,” Dr. Amilcar Challu and Dr. Cheryl Dong guided students through interviews, storyboarding, audio editing, and more to create a 5-episode podcast, entitled Eclipsing History. This podcast will be available to stream in early February on Spotify.

This course helps students gain real-world experience in applying their history degrees by moving into mediums outside of standard seminar papers and into the growing field of podcasting, underpinned by rigorous readings into oral history and community outreach best practices. Students also worked with media organizations like The Ohio Newsroom and Midstory on the podcast, gaining valuable professional experience working with major media outlets in the state.

Partially funded by a grant from Ohio Humanities, this podcast is part of a larger public history project exploring how people interact with eclipses throughout history. Considering approaches like the history of emotions, Indigenous knowledge, and even the military role of the 1806 “Tecumseh’s Eclipse,” the project consists of the podcast, a public symposium in February (see above for details), and a travelling exhibit that will debut in late spring.

three people sit and smile as they are recording a podcast
Students of the new “Podcasting in History” course interview Dr. John Henderson, of Cornell University, for upcoming podcast “Eclipsing History”

Connecting Students and Alumni

Department of History students secure competitive internships, fellowships, and career-focused positions across the region each year. Recent graduates of both our B.A. and M.A. programs can benefit in their job search from BGSU's extensive alumni network. If your organization has an internship, job opening, or other opportunity that may be of interest to current students or recent graduates, please contact Dr. Rebecca Mancuso at

History students pose outside of Williams Hall during Graduate Student Orientation. Photo courtesy of the BGSU Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society.

Giving to the BGSU Department of History

Generous donations enable the Department of History to support scholarships, research and programming that benefit students and the historical community. If you wish to make a gift, visit and search for the Department of History under "Fund Options." There are also options to donate in memory or in honor of an individual.

If you would like assistance in making your gift or learning more about the various ways to make an impact, please contact Danielle Solis, Senior Director of Development, at 419-372-3878 or

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Updated: 12/08/2023 12:05PM