Biographies of Current Graduate Students
Allan Branstiter (MA, U.S. History) BA, History, 2011 Minnesota State University Moorhead. Allan is a Fargo, ND native and MA student studying the U.S. Civil War Era, specifically Reconstruction and the rehabilitation of veterans, families, and communities in Mississippi. In 2009, he interned with the U.S. State Department in the Economic Office of the American embassy in London. His study of British foreign policy towards the Civil War was awarded the MSUM History Department’s Ingren-Iverson Award recognizing the best paper by a graduating senior in 2011, as well an award for the best paper by an undergraduate by the Society for Military History at the 2010 Northern Great Plains History Conference. In 2012, Allan was awarded a travel grant to conduct research at the National Archives in Washington, DC and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, MS. Currently, he is studying the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum, madness, and “scalawags” as lenses by which to examine the Civil War Era’s political, social, and cultural history. Allan also formerly of the US Army, with whom he served with during two mobilizations during the Iraq War.
Aaron Foster (MA, War & Society) BS, Military History, 2012 United States Air Force Academy. Aaron Foster is from Windham, NH, and was honored as the 2012 recipient of the Andrews Award and the Bong Award for the outstanding cadet in History and Military History respectively. In addition, he was awarded the Franklin C. Wolfe Scholarship as the outstanding cadet in the Humanities. In 2011, he was the Academy’s first recipient of the Portuguese Language Award. As an undergraduate, he presented his research at the Colorado Springs Undergraduate Research Forum in 2011 and 2012 and the Phi Alpha Theta Biennial Conference in 2012. His research interests include: European and early American History, with a special interest in the American Civil War. Upon completion of his M.A., he will go to San Angelo, TX for training as an Air Force Intelligence Officer.
Kevin Grubbs (MA, U.S. History) BA, History, University of Texas, Arlington. Research interest: Colonial and Early Republic South. His focus at present is the Patron/Client system among southern planters and freeholders as it relates to the Patron/Client system in the Roman Republic. Other interests include Revolutionary Caribbean Trade and Culture with an emphasis on the impact of Saint-Domingue on the United States.
David Martin (MA, American History) BA, history, the University of Southern Mississippi. David is a native of Picayune, Mississippi. As an undergraduate, his thesis examined the role of George Washington’s mythos on the Southern war effort during the American Civil War. He is currently focused on Thomas Jefferson’s role in Early American military development.
Chelsea Miller (MA, Modern European History) BA, History and Russian Language, 2011 University of Northern Iowa. Chelsea is a native of Williamsburg. She is a second year M.A. student studying European History with a minor in Gender, with an emphasis on the Soviet Union. Her current M.A. thesis topic is the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Third Party Program (1961) -- specifically the morality code, "Moral Code of the Builder of Communism" -- focusing on the various changes suggested by both the Party and the populace and their significance
Stephanie Seal (MA, Early American History) BA, history, 2011 the University of Southern Mississippi. Stephanie is a native of Poplarville, MS. She is currently a second year M.A. student studying US History, specifically the American Revolution, with a minor in Early Modern European Studies. Her current thesis topic is dedicated to uncovering how society either responded to or ignored those who were accused of loyalism in revolutionary Williamsburg, Virginia.
Tanisha Staten (MA, Early American History) BA, history, 2004 the University of Southern Mississippi. Tanisha is a native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Tanisha received the John E. Wallace Award for academic excellence in history and was named to both the National Dean’s and Chancellor’s Lists. Her thesis was a study of the early American political system, entitled “Thomas Jefferson and John Marshall: The Struggle to Build A Nation.” She is a second-year M.A. student studying American History with a minor in War and Society. Her current research focuses on American colonial history, particularly on political, constitutional, and legal history in Virginia. Her M.A. thesis topic is on the Randolph family of Williamsburg and their contributions to the colonial government as well as the founding of the Early American Republic.
Elizabeth Talbot (MA, U.S. History) BA, history, 2011 Louisiana State University. Elizabeth is a native of New Orleans, LA. While at LSU, Elizabeth participated in Volunteers in Public Schools, tutoring elementary students in Reading throughout various Baton Rouge schools. She is a second year M.A student studying nineteenth-century American History, more specifically Louisiana slave relations, with a minor in Gender. Her current thesis topic investigates the relation between domestic disputes within former slave families and claims of citizenship during Reconstruction in southern Louisiana.
Ruth P. White (MA, U.S. History) BA, History, BS, History, 2011 The University of Southern Mississippi. Ruth is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi. She is a second year M.A. student studying United States History with a minor in War and Society. Her current thesis topic is a comparative community study of Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi during the American Civil War. Her project should address the dynamic between Confederate "nationalism" and the devotion to local towns/cities. She is also interested in antebellum life and the immediate post war experience.
Joel R. Bius (PhD, U.S History). MA Military Studies – Civil War, 2004 American Military University; MA Military Operational Art & Science, 2009 Air Command and Staff College; BA Business Administration, 1996 Valdosta State University. Joel’s research interests include 19th century America, and specifically the father and son experience in the American Civil War, definition and transmission of masculinity and honor in Southern culture, and how these elements affected combat motivation, individual identity, and political allegiance. He is also interested in the societal and cultural aspects of warfare and how these impact the development and execution of grand strategy. As a faculty member at Air Command and Staff College, Joel’s research focused on the history and development of American air power, as well as the history, theory, and practice of stability and reconstruction operations.
Hunter Boyd (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2010 Southeastern Louisiana University; BA, history, Southeastern Louisiana University. Hunter is focusing on American War and Society issues in the nineteenth century. Hunter’s research interests include partisan conflict and the legacies of guerilla warfare in the US Civil War. His additional interests include the US sectional politics and underlying Southern social/class tensions of the nineteenth century. A lifelong resident of Louisiana, Hunter currently resides in Hammond.
Ted Butler (PhD, U.S. History) Ted’s research and teaching interests include Southern history, African-American history, Reconstruction, and the Gilded Age. He is currently writing his dissertation, "Other Southerners: A Collective Biography of Mississippi Scalawags" under the direction of Dr. William Scarborough. He has published encyclopedia articles on the scalawags and Upton Sinclair. Ted has received numerous academic awards and research grants including the USM History Department's Phi Alpha Theta Award (2006) and the history department's Jay Washam Dissertation Award (2007)
Colin M. Colbourn (PhD, U.S. History) MA, War and Society, 2009 The University of Southern Mississippi; BS, History, 2007 Ball State University. From 2006-2009, Colin interned with the U.S. Marine Corps History Division in Quantico, Virginia, aiding the Chief Historian as well as Reference and Historical branch historians in researching and writing official Marine Corps history. Now ABD, Colin’s dissertation will combine social and institutional history in an analysis of the U.S. Marine Corps’ employment of public relations from the turn of the twentieth century through the Second World War. During his time at Southern Miss, Colin has presented his research at conferences such as the SMH’s Annual Meeting, the Naval History Symposium, and the Meeting of the American Journalism Historians Association. Other conference work included both chairing and organizing the 2009 Regional International Security and Internal Safety Conference, hosted at USM. Colin also had the opportunity to participate in battlefield tours and studies of Italy, Sicily, Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima and Vietnam.
Dennis Conklin (PhD, U.S. History) Dennis specializes in the colonial and antebellum south, with an emphasis on religious and political history. Dennis is currently working on a dissertation entitled Conflict and Controversy in the Confederate High Command: Johnston, Davis, Hood &The Atlanta Campaign of 1864. The most salient feature of the study is a reevaluation of John Bell Hood=s behavior throughout the campaign. Dennis has publications in the Encyclopedia of North American Conflicts to 1775, and The United States at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. He has served as Graduate Student Liaison to the Faculty, as a member of the Graduate Student Senate, and as a member of the Advisory Committee to Select the Dean of University Libraries. He also received the University of Southern Mississippi Department of History Graduate Teaching Award in 2006. From 2010-12 Dennis was granted an opportunity to serve as a visiting instructor of History at USM.
Michael Doidge (PhD, U.S. History) Michael is a PhD candidate currently researching his dissertation "An Army Worth Fighting For: Doctrinal, Strategic, and Bureaucratic Transformation in the U.S. Army from 1946 to 1964." The work argues that the Army's post-World War II relationship to national security policy was the primary driving force behind the sweeping transformations it underwent during the early Cold War. A 2008 fellow at the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History, Michael was also recently awarded travel grants to the Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy Presidential Libraries, a George Marshall/Baruch Fellowship from the George Marshall Foundation, the Harry J. Carman Fellowship, the Matthew B. Ridgway research grant, and the U. S. Army Center of Military History Dissertation Fellowship. In addition to working on his dissertation, Michael co-edited with Professor Andrew Wiest Triumph Revisited: Historians Battle for the Vietnam War, which examines the current state of Vietnam War historiography. Published by Routledge Press, the book was released in April of 2010.
Jason Engle (PhD, Modern European History), MA, Norwich University. Jason is specializing Modern European History (under the direction of Dr. Michael Neiberg) with a minor field in War and Society and Social History. His current research interests include the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the First World War and is examining the world view or mentalité of its conscript and reserve enlistees and field-grade officers. He is also interested in the residual effects of the Great War on First Republic politics, particularly as it relates to Austro-fascism. Jason received his master’s degree in Military History from Norwich University (Northfield, VT) in 2008 and his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Union College (Barbourville, KY) in 1997 and worked as an application developer for Nationwide Insurance and JPMorgan Chase before deciding to pursue his doctorate. Jason has several forthcoming encyclopedia articles including entries in America’s Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Iraq, Atrocities, Massacres, and War Crimes: An Encyclopedia, and Germany at War as well as a book review for Army History. When not reading books, writing papers, or grading, Jason enjoys traveling, spending time with his wife and son, and watching football.
John Fitzmorris (PhD, U.S. History) MA, Religious Studies, University of New Orleans; BA, Political Science and Religious Studies, 1989, Louisiana State University. John is a resident of New Orleans, is in his fifth year as a doctoral candidate in War and Society. During his M.A. in History from the University of New Orleans he was awarded the George F. Windell Prize for Outstanding Thesis in History. The father of one daughter (Madeleine Rose), Mr. Fitzmorris was a high school and middle school teacher before returning to finish his Doctorate. He has begun work on a dissertation examining combat chaplains in the Vietnam War. He has conducted research at the U.S. Army Chaplains' Archives at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and has made the USM Study Abroad trip to Vietnam in 2009. He has written three entries in James Willbanks’ America’s Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan. In both 2011 and 2012, Mr. Fitzmorris was named Outstanding Graduate Instructor by the History Department. He currently serves as President and Historian of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in New Orleans, an organization for Irish Catholic men, and is an advisor for the Girl Scouts of America.
Jeremy George (PhD, Early American History) MA, History, 2006 the University of New Orleans; BA, History, 2008 Louisiana State University. Jeremy is a third year PhD student studying early colonial New England. His MA thesis examined the early Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies and their different policies and beliefs regarding land use. Jeremy's dissertation will look at the Pequot War and its affect on different New England colonies.
Timothy C. Hemmis is a Ph.D. candidate studying early American frontier history during the Revolutionary Era. His dissertation title is “Trading Identities: National Identity and Loyalty of Backcountry Merchants in Revolutionary America, 1740-1816.” The project argues that personal and economic relationships before and after the War for Independence forged identities that changed with new opportunities for profit Additionally, Mr. Hemmis has presented at several academic conferences, including the Society for Military History, and has published several encyclopedia articles including one in the upcoming The Encyclopedia of War entitled “The Mohawk-Mahican War, 1624-1628.” Furthermore, he has several book reviews pending for H-War. In addition to his research, Mr. Hemmis has taught several classes, including: World History I and II and American History I, 1600-1865. Timothy is working under the direction of Dr. Kyle Zelner.
Alice Ivas (PhD, Early American History), MA, Anthropology, The University of Alabama. Research Interests: The Colonial Gulf South, Gender, Cultural History, Ethnohistory, Early American Dress/Adornment. An anthropologist, archaeologist and historian, Alice has earned Bachelor and Master degrees in anthropology with minor concentrations in history and historical archaeology. While at the University of Alabama, Alice’s research explored the European and Apalachee Indian relations in the Colonial Gulf South. Specifically, her thesis “Caught in the Middle: The Apalachee of Colonial Mobile” demonstrated through archaeological and historical research that the Apalachee established a town on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay in order to trade and politically ally with the French after the collapse of Mission San Luis in 1763. Between 2004 and 2010, Alice worked as a professional archaeologist and was adjunct faculty for University of South Alabama and Spring Hill College. In 2010, Alice enrolled in USM’s PhD program for Early United States History. Her dissertation will explore themes of race, gender, politics, and consumerism among Southern Indians from 1780 to 1840.
Wesley Joyner (PhD, Early American History) MA, History, 2007 Virginia Commonwealth University; BA, History, 2002 the University of Virginia. Wesley is a proud native of Hopewell, Virginia. While at VCU, his Master’s Thesis focused on Peter Francisco, an oft-forgotten Revolutionary War hero whose unique experiences as a slave, soldier, and citizen reflected on both the limits of early American republicanism and the popular memory of Revolutionary War veterans. Wesley is currently an ABD doctoral candidate with the University of Southern Mississippi and anticipates graduating in May, 2013. His dissertation, “Second Families of Virginia: Professional Power-Brokers in a Revolutionary Age (1720-1790),” examines the emergence and influence of non-planting professionals in colonial and Revolutionary Virginia and how they negotiated socioeconomic and political advancement in relation to the old-guard planter class. When Wesley is not reading, researching, or writing he can often be found rooting for his beloved Wahoos, complaining about the general public’s lack of historical knowledge, espousing the superiority of his home state, or simply thinking, the latter of which is his self proclaimed favorite hobby.
John Mangipano (PhD, U.S. History) BA, History, 2008 University of New Orleans. John is a first year student in the PhD program in American History. Research interests include connecting 19th century Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean and the public perception of these connections. John has specific interests in the foreign artists of New Orleans, the fruit trade, Mardi Gras, the Mexican, Italian, and Central American communities in New Orleans, and European-born American politicians in The Gulf South (especially their roles in filibustering, southern expansion, and early public education). As a direct descendant of Francisco Vargas, John is always eager to discuss the artworks that his family has made for over 100 years in New Orleans and direct you to the museums that house them.
Hayden McDaniel (PhD, U.S. History). MA, American History, 2012 Auburn University; BS in English and History, 2009 Troy University. Hayden McDaniel’s Research interests include the American South from the Progressive through New Deal eras focusing on unconventional concepts of labor and the intersection of labor with the built and natural environment. Additional areas of research emphasize public history, oral history, and Alabama history. Her thesis, “Managing the New Deal: Administration of the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942,” challenged the notion of the CCC as a cohesive and cooperative agency by investigating bureaucracy, federal departmental cooperation, and the work of mid-level administration in the southeastern Fourth Corps Area.
Theresa L. Monserrat (PhD, U.S. History) MA, US History, 2012 Millersville University; BA, History, 2010 Millersville University. Theresa is a first year student focusing on U.S. diplomatic and political history, more specifically, Korean-American relations. Her MA thesis examined the North Korean motives surrounding the 1968 capture of the U.S.S. Pueblo, as well as the impact of national and international opinion of the incident on both the Lyndon B. Johnson and Kim Il Sung administrations at a critical time in the Vietnam War. She has presented her research at many academic conferences, including The Seventh Triennial Vietnam Symposium. Her dissertation will explore gender roles during the Korean War and her other research interests include modern Korea and U.S. policy in the 1950s and 1960s. Theresa was raised in Quakertown, PA and comes to USM from Lancaster, PA. In her free time she enjoys training for triathlons, hiking, and watching Philadelphia Phillies games.
Tyler Rotter (PhD, Early American History) MA, History, 2010 Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville; BA, History, 2007, the University of Missouri-Columbia. Tyler is from Glen Carbon, Illinois and began his studies at the University of Southern Mississippi in August 2011. He is specializing in the cultural history of seventeenth-century New England with minor areas in War and Society and Latin America. Tyler’s research interests include the way in which clergy used their positions and influence to create religious propaganda in support of war. He is also concerned with the reception of this propaganda and the way it was integrated politically and socially. In addition, his is also interested in the colonization of Latin America, the development of religious communities, and how they differed from those in British North America. When not studying, he occupies my time by cooking, watching movies, traveling, and cheering on the greatest baseball team in the world, the St. Louis Cardinals!
Jason Stewart (PhD, U.S. History) Jason is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in the history of the Vietnam War, with an emphasis on the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. In addition to writing his dissertation, Jason is currently employed as an Oral Historian and Assistant Archivist at the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. His dissertation work analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the South Vietnamese military and its flawed relationship with the United States through a biographical examination of controversial ARVN General Vu Van Giai. Jason is also the co-author of the book Timeline of the Vietnam War, which was published by Thunder Bay Press in 2008.
Samantha Taylor (PhD, U.S. History), MA, History, 2009 East Tennessee State University; BS, 2007 Lander University. Samantha’s research interests include America from the Civil War to the Present, World War I, World War II, military technology as well their affect on American and European society. Other interests include the Cold War, Cultural History, and American Diplomatic History. Samantha’s current dissertation topic is a study of post-Cold War culture in the United States and Europe.
Robert Thompson (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2007 Wilfrid Laurier University; BA, History, 2006 Virginia Wesleyan College. Rob is from from Alexandria, Virginia.. His interests include American culture, diplomacy, and political-military relations. Working under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Wiest, Robert is focusing on United States pacification efforts during the Vietnam War. Robert’s dissertation will expand on his 2012 Society for Military History conference paper “‘Appearance Lies’: Pacification in the Republic of Vietnam.” He will examine how poor intelligence and a culture of success doomed the U.S. Army’s late war pacification efforts in Phu Yen Province, South Vietnam. Robert has written book reviews for the Army History Magazine and H-Net. He also provided encyclopedia entries for The Encyclopedia of the Sixties: A Decade of Culture and Counterculture and The Encyclopedia of Warfare. Recently, Robert assisted Dr. Wiest with his forthcoming oral history of the Vietnam War.
Ryan Tickle (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2009 Cal State Fullerton; BA, History, 2005 Nebraska. Ryan was born and raised in Nebraska where he earned my B.A. in history in 2005. I then fled the cold and snowy Great Plains for the sunshine of the West Coast. Under the guidance of Dr. Benjamin Cawthra, his thesis analyzed the methods employed by African Americans to protest the human rights abuses perpetrated by Belgian King Leopold II in the Congo Free State. My research interests coalesce around African-American politics and culture during the turn of the twentieth century. He is particularly interested in the transnational role played by world’s fairs and Southern industrial expositions in creating a new, post-slavery identity for African Americans. In his spare time, he enjoy homebrewing, cooking, and running 5ks (because of the cooking). His recent publications include reviews of William Dobak’s Freedom by the Sword and Rebecca Sharpless’s Cooking in Other Women’s Kitchens in Louisiana History and the Southern Quarterly, respectively.
Eve Wade (PhD, U.S. History). MA, US History, 2008 Roosevelt University; BA, Public Communications, 1995 Northern Illinois University. Eve Wade received a BA in interpersonal/Public Communications with minor study in French Foreign Language and Literature from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. Research interests include Religious History (specifically the development of Black Religion and the role religion played in empowering slaves), the African Diaspora (particularly the development of culture by people of color in North & South America and the Caribbean Islands). Other research interests include Women & Gender and Ancient African and Latin American civilizations.
Lynn Wartberg (PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2012 University of New Orleans; BA History, 2010 East Texas Baptist University. Lynn’s Research interests include American Chattel Slavery, Gender (especially the sexual exploitation of enslaved women), Religion (and the influence of the Second Great Awakening on the US South), the 18th and 19th Centuries, and the Use of 20th Century Ex-Slave Interviews as Primary Source Materials. She is finalizing her Master’s Thesis, titled “‘They was Things Past Tellin’: Sexuality and the Discourse of Formerly Enslaved Women,” which explores the efforts of African American women to regain their femininity by relating their experiences to the interviewers of the Louisiana Writers’ Project.
Rebecca Zimmer (PhD, U.S. History), MA, History, 2009 University of North Carolina; BS, Biology, 2002 Elon University. Rebecca’s MA thesis "Uncommon Valor, Common Soldier: Edward Hall Armstrong, 3rd Regiment North Carolina Troops," argued that despite the fact that Armstrong was from a wealthy family, and his appointment as the captain of Company G, 3rd N.C.T., Armstrong was representative of the common Confederate soldier. Becky spent the summers of 2008 and 2010 at the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War as their George M. Nethken Fellow. This permitted her the opportunity to work on the seminars "Gettysburg: Retreat and Pursuit" and "Siege of Petersburg," the latter of which was presented in conjunction with Pamplin Park. During the 2009 - 2010 academic year, Becky was an adjunct lecturer at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke. She is currently a third year Ph.D. student, and Teaching Assistant. Her research interests include the American Civil War, the social and political events leading up to the American Civil War, company-grade officers, and common soldiers. Her dissertation is on the Civil War in the Mississippi Delta.