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Dale Center for the Study of War and Society

Current War & Society Graduate Students




Amanda Abulawi

Amanda Abulawi 

(MS, War and Society) BA, 2017, University of Southern Mississippi.

Amanda Abulawi is from Poplarville, Mississippi. Amanda’s past research has focused on the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. Amanda also worked at the McCain Archives in historical manuscripts and special collections, as an undergraduate and again while working on her graduate degree. After completion of the program, Amanda aspires to work in an archive or museum.

 James Berry

James M. Berry

(Ph.D., U.S. History)  MA in Military History, Norwich University, 2016; MEd in Education, Anderson University, 2011; BA in History, Pensacola Christian College, 2008.

James is a PhD student focusing on US Army history, specifically Army logistics between the Spanish American War and the First World War. His previous graduate research focused on the military history of South Carolina. His thesis was titled “The Surrender of Charleston in 1780” and examined the American defense during the siege of Charleston and effect of the surrender on the outcome of the American War for Independence. He is a native of South Carolina and an active duty U.S. Army Logistics officer with previous assignments in Fort Stewart, Fort Lee, Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq. He has traveled extensively through Europe and speaks French proficiently. Following his graduate coursework at USM, James will serve as an academic instructor in the History Department at the US Military Academy at West Point. Prior to joining the US Army, James was a high school History and Geography teacher for three years.

 Allan Branstiter

Allan Branstiter

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2012 The University of Southern Mississippi; BA, History, 2010 Minnesota State University-Moorhead.

Under the direction of Susannah J. Ural, Allan is currently writing his dissertation “He Who Merits the Palm: California Volunteers and the Civil War,” an examination of how Californians who served in the Union Army reconciled their experiences as veterans and western settlers and constructed a distinctly western memory of the war's place in American history. His dissertation research also explores how the California Volunteers used their social status as veterans to oppose the burgeoning Gilded-Age order, racial equality, political centralization, Native American sovereignty, and Chinese immigration.

 Michael DeFazio

Michael DeFazio

(MA, War and Society) BS, History, United States Air Force Academy, 2020.

Michael graduated as a Distinguished Graduate from the United States Air Force Academy in 2020 with a BS in history. He was awarded the Richard Ira Bong Award as the outstanding cadet in military history. Under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest, Michael is researching air power history—particularly the RAF American Eagle Squadrons of World War II. Upon completing his degree, Michael will report to Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot training in Wichita Falls, TX.

 John DeLee

John DeLee

(MA, U.S. History) BS, History, 2012, United States Military Academy

John’s undergraduate research at USMA explored the Indian Policy of the Confederate States of America, as well as the US Army on the Western Frontier. John is excited to further his research into the United States' Native American policy throughout US history and how it affected the nation's foreign policy with underdeveloped and failed states. John is a native of McComb, MS and his previous published works can be found in Army Sustainment magazine.

 Hayley Hasik

Hayley Michael Hasik

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, Public History, 2017, Stephen F. Austin State University; BS, History and English with a minor in Astronomy, 2014, Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Hayley is a PhD student at USM whose interests include 20th century U.S. history with an emphasis on war and memory, the Vietnam War, veterans' experiences, and cultural history. Hayley’s current research focuses on examining the legacy of the “Helicopter War” in Vietnam. Her project seeks to uncover how and why helicopters became such an integral part of Vietnam War history and memory. Hayley has extensive oral history experience and co-founded the East Texas War and Memory Project in 2012. Her previous scholarly research focused on the American POW experience during WWII and the Vietnam helicopter experience using the life history of a Warrant Officer as a case study.

Hayley has presented at numerous academic conferences and has published several articles in the Sound Historian and War, Literature, and the Arts. Hayley is also a recipient of the 2019 Russell Weigley Travel Grant from the Society for Military History. Hayley is working under the direction of Dr. Heather Stur.

 Brennan Kuehl

Brennan Kuehl

(MA, War and Society) BA History, 2016, University of Southern Mississippi.

Brennan graduated with honors from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2017 with a BA in history and a minor in English. He was awarded the John E. Wallace award for outstanding history major for the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus in 2017. He is interested in the differential treat among European and Japanese POWs held in the United States during World War II. He is working under the direction of Dr. Douglas Bristol.

 Billy Loper

Billy Don Loper

(MA, U.S. History), B.A. 2019 University of Southern Mississippi.

Billy is a Master’s student pursuing an M.A. in U.S. History. Originally from Seminary, Mississippi, Billy graduated with a B.A. from Southern Miss in 2019, and his past research includes studies on community Civil War history and memory. During his undergraduate years, Billy worked alongside Dale Center co-director Dr. Susannah J. Ural on the “War Stories: Civil War and Reconstruction Governors of Mississippi” project and was a two-time recipient of the Jack Lucas Award for War and Society at USM’s Undergraduate Research Symposium. His research focuses on Civil War memory in the Mississippi Piney Woods under the direction of Dr. Susannah Ural.

Maeve Losen

Maeve Losen

(MA, U.S. History) BA History, concentration in Public History, minor in Anthropology, summa cum laude 2018, Longwood University.

Maeve is a Master’s student pursuing a dual M.A. degree in U.S. History and Anthropology. A Richmond, Virginia native, Maeve graduated summa cum laude from Longwood University in 2018 with a B.A. in History (concentration in Public History) and a minor in Anthropology. She has worked as an education assistant with Richmond National Battlefield Park and the Maggie L. Walker National Historical Site. Maeve is interested in focusing her graduate research on culture during the Second World War.

Justin Major

Justin Major

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, U.S. History, 2020, University of Southern Mississippi; BA, History and Film and Media Arts, magna cum laude, 2017, Louisiana State University.

At LSU, Justin won the McCormick Prize for the best undergraduate paper in military history at the 2018 Missouri Valley History Conference. His research focuses on the Vietnam War, particularly the history of Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in the early 1960s. For his MA at USM, he examined the effectiveness of ARVN combat operations from 1962-1963, arguing that ARVN was more successful than previously believed. For his PhD, he will continue his research into ARVN under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest.

John Mortimer

John J. Mortimer 

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2013 Indiana University of Pennsylvania; BA, European History, 2010 Framingham State College.

John Mortimer is a PhD candidate with research interests that focus on contemporary U.S. diplomacy. More specifically, he examines the assiduous struggle between power and principal in U.S. foreign relations during the Ford and Carter Administrations. His dissertation analyzes both presidents, as they sought to find a balance between national security interests and human rights within the context of détente. In doing so, he focuses on several pivotal moments in American foreign policy that include but are not limited to the Vietnamese humanitarian crisis, Helsinki Accords, and Camp David Accords. He is working under the direction of Dr. Heather Marie Stur. 

In the summer of 2015, John attended the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History. He was the recipient of the Lamar Powell History Graduate Scholarship for 2016-2017. For the 2018 academic year, John was a Graduate Research Assistant at the U.S. Army Center of Military History. He is currently the McCain Dissertation Fellow at USM. He has published several encyclopedia articles, book reviews, and is currently working on a journal article.

 Amy Myers

Amy Myers

(MA, U.S. History) BA History (Social Studies Licensure), 2016, The University of Southern Mississippi.

A native of Mississippi, Amy graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with Highest Honors with a BA in History (Social Studies Licensure). She won the John E. Gonzales Award for Most Outstanding Senior and the Most Outstanding Student Teacher Award in 2017 and represented the College of Arts and Letters and the History Department as an Ambassador for the 2015-2016 year. In addition to acquiring an MA in U.S. History, as well as a Public History Certificate, she is interested in studying topics and events that ultimately led to the Civil War.  Amy is working under the direction of Dr. Susannah Ural.

 Aderian Partain

Aderian K. Partain

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, War and Society, 2018 University of Southern Mississippi; BA, History, summa cum laude, 2016 Mississippi State University.

Aderian is a native of Sebastopol, Mississippi and a PhD student at USM. His major interests lie in the history of naval warfare. Aderian’s MA thesis research, under the direction of Dr. Susannah J. Ural, explored the officer partnerships between the Union Navy and Army during combined riverine operations in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. He plans to further his research of inland waterway naval operations into the Vietnam War under the direction of Dr. Andrew Wiest.

 Lindsey Peterson

Lindsey R. Peterson

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2015 The University of South Dakota; BA, History and Political Science, 2013 Buena Vista University.

Lindsey R. Peterson is a Ph.D. Candidate working under the supervision of Dr. Susannah J. Ural in the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society at Southern Miss. She received a M.A. in history from the University of South Dakota (2015) and a B.A. in history from Buena Vista University (2013). Her dissertation project examines the intersection of race, gender, and place in westerners’ Union Civil War commemorations to reveal how western Unionists remembered and celebrated the American Civil War to bolster their competing visions of western expansion and social order. Lindsey is the recipient of several fellowships, including the 2018 Baird Fellowship for the Center for the Study of the Gulf South, the 2017 Dale Center Graduate Fellowship, and the 2015 Margaret Boone Dale Fellowship from the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society. She currently serves on the Graduate Student Connection Committee for the Society of Civil War Historians and teaches the U.S. History sequence and upper-level history courses as an instructor at the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota. Based on her M.A. thesis, her article, “’Iowa Excelled Them All’: Iowa Local Ladies’ Aid Societies Relief on the Civil War Frontier, 1861–1865” appeared in the fall 2016 issue of The Middle West Review.

 Kurt Rass

Kurt Rass

(MA, War and Society) BA, History, minor in Political Science, 2018 Mississippi College

From Flowood, Mississippi, Kurt spent the past four summers working on a research project at the Mississippi Department of Transportation in Jackson, Mississippi, which chronicles the 100-year history of the department and discusses the role that department played in industrializing the state. Kurt is interested in studying the diplomatic relations between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, particularly focusing on communication and the use of rhetoric during moments of heightened tension. Kurt is working under the direction of Dr. Heather Stur.

 Michael Singleton

Michael Singleton

(MA, U.S. History) BA, History, 2013, Virginia Military Institute

Michael is an MA student from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Michael graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 2013 with a BA in History. As a part of VMI’s Honors Program, Michael conducted research concerning the early Tennessee settlement of Watauga and its involvement in the King’s Mountain Campaign of the American Revolution. Following graduation from VMI, Michael received a commission into the U.S. Army and served on active duty as an infantry officer from 2013-2020. Michael’s research interests center on the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, principally the origins and growth of the secession movement in the state of Tennessee.

Lucas Somers

Lucas R. Somers 

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2015 Western Kentucky University; BA, History, 2013 Western Kentucky University.

Lucas is a PhD Candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi focusing on the era of the American Civil War and Reconstruction. His previous graduate research focused on scrutinizing significant aspects of Abraham Lincoln’s personal worldview by analyzing the president’s reported dreams, visions, and ‘night terrors.’ Lucas is working on a dissertation entitled "Embattled Learning: Education and Emancipation in the Post-Civil War Upper South," which is directed by Dr. Susannah J. Ural. This project uses a lens of education to examine ways communities in Kentucky and Tennessee experienced the process of emancipation after the Civil War. He hopes to advance current scholarship by emphasizing social changes on the local level that do not fit within the accepted political framework of Reconstruction.

Lucas is also currently in the Graduate Certificate Program for Public History at USM. He received the Colonel W. Wayde Benson Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year, which allowed him conduct preliminary research for a dissertation project.

Lindsey Stobaugh

Lindsey Stobaugh

(MA, European History) BA, Social Studies Education, BA History, minor in English, summa cum laude 2018, University of Mississippi.

Lindsey graduated from the University of Mississippi with majors in Social Studies Education and History in 2018. Throughout her undergraduate career, she completed research in a variety of fields, such as United States, European, and Middle Eastern history. Upon graduating from the University of Mississippi, she worked as a seventh grade United States history teacher in Southaven, MS. She currently studies how German conceptions of race changed after WWII and were heavily influenced by the American military occupation. In addition, she looks at how discussions of race among white German feminists were impacted by the emergence of the Afro-German feminist movement in the mid-1980s. Lindsey is working under the direction of Dr. Allison Abra. Upon completion of the graduate program at the University of Southern Mississippi, Lindsey looks forward to continuing her teaching career.

Cody Turnbaugh

Cody Turnbaugh

(MA, War and Society), BA History, 2019 Saint Francis University.

A native of central Pennsylvania, Cody graduated from Saint Francis University where he received grants from the Saint Francis History Department to conduct research in the National Archives in Washington D.C., as well as at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. While at Saint Francis, Cody received the Margaret M. Tobin Award for Outstanding Library Research for his piece on psychological trauma in American military history. Cody plans to focus his graduate research on mental trauma in the American Civil War under the direction of Dr. Susannah J. Ural.

 Brian Valimont

Brian Valimont

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2018, Salem State University; MA, Anthropology, 2002, The University of Alabama; BA, Anthropology, 1997, West Georgia University; Certificate in Law Enforcement, 2013, Northern Essex Community College

Brian was an active field archaeologist for over two decades. His specialization is the archaeology of North America, especially that in the southeast, northeast and central plains states. His research spanned a variety of subjects and time periods. Areas of special interest include Native American coastal adaptation, as well as 19th Century New England farmsteads. Brian has an MA in Anthropology from the University of Alabama as well as an MA in History from Salem State University. For over four years, Brian taught introductory anthropology and archaeology at Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Brian is intrigued by the historical interrelationship between war and home fronts. He is presently focusing on a series of draft riots that occurred during the U.S. Civil War.

 Daniel Ward

Daniel Ward

(PhD, U.S. History) MA, History, 2019, SUNY University; BA, History and Political Science, 2015, SUNY Fredonia

Daniel is a PhD student from Buffalo, New York. His area of study is 20th Century American political-military history. Some of his main interests are civil-military and gender relations during this period. He received his Bachelors in History and Political Science from SUNY Fredonia in 2015. He earned his Masters in History from the SUNY University at Buffalo in 2019. His master’s thesis discussed the political ramifications of the 1949 National Defense Program Hearings. Daniel is working under the direction of Dr. Heather M. Stur.

 Brian Washam

Brian Washam

(MA, War and Society) BA, History, 2019, University of Oklahoma

Brian is from Vinita, Oklahoma and studied History at the University of Oklahoma. There, Brian’s research focused on war, memory, and modern Europe. Brian’s senior capstone project was on the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 and focused on how the occupation of post-World War One Turkey by the Greeks and the Entente powers led to the creation of the modern nation of Turkey. As an undergraduate, Brian worked at the Oklahoma Historical Society as an intern in the manuscripts department, and was also the recipient of the 2019 Stephanie Dahlem-Pounds Award for outstanding History major at the University of Oklahoma. Brian is interested in continuing to study war, memory, and modern Europe while he is in the War and Society Program.

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